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Contents: Volume 2 - 33rd Sunday/Christ the King - C
November 13 & 20, 2022

 

  The

33rd Sun

Christ King

 (C)

 

1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP - 33rd SUNDAY - Nov. 13

2. -- Dennis Keller - Christ the KING - Nov. 20

3. -- Brian Gleeson CP - 33rd SUNDAY - Nov. 13

4. --

5. --(Your reflection can be here!)

 

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1.

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Sun. 31 C 2022

Our readings do tell us it is close to the end of the liturgical year with readings about the end times. Our world today does seem in the midst of disarray with some signs that some may interpret as the beginning of the end. Hopefully, that is a long to come!

We can not avoid the tragedies that are occurring, however, nor the feelings and call to action that they bring. SO much is happening! Who today would not welcome "the sun of justice with its healing rays" .... without the rest of the calamity?!!

Yes, today, many lives are in turmoil. There seems to be much animosity even among families. Wishing that evildoers would be gone is not uncommon, even if most folks might not admit to wanting them to be stubble!

What then should we do to survive these times, right now? Our Gospel reading, Jesus gives us the answer: "By your perseverance you will secure your lives." It is time to consider what thoughts and actions will lead us and others to the Kingdom and persevere in doing them. Sounds easy, is not! Let us take the time, even in the midst of any turmoil in our lives, to renew our commitment to those basic points of Jesus's teachings that will lead us in the right direction.

Blessings,

Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity

lanie@leblanc.one

 

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2.

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Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe November 20 2022

2nd Samuel 5:1-3; Responsorial Psalm 122; Colossians 1:12-20; Gospel Acclamation Mark 11:9-10; Luke 23:35-43

The first reading is about what we’d expect on a solemnity of The King of the Universe. It speaks of David’s accession to the throne governing all Israel, then a united nation. The curve ball comes in the second half of this first reading: “You shall shepherd my people Israel.” Aren’t kings supposed to be seated high on a throne, allowing only the elite, the wealthy, the powerful access to his person? David is instructed to “shepherd” God’s people. Being a shepherd is no glory job. It’s walking among the sheep, getting their pungent smell on your clothes. Always have to be watching out for predators who would rush in to snatch away a weakling lamb or an old ewe stumbling along. Always have to know when to bring the flock to a running stream for necessary hydration. Always have to be on the look-out for a place with good grass for their feeding. It’s a lot of work. There’s not much time for lollygagging on a throne, surrounded by a bunch of sycophants wishing to wallow in rich food and drink of a king’s table.

And yet again, this David is assigned the job of commander of Israel. He is expected to prepare and lead the army. Truly, the reading says in the days of Saul, it was David who led the armies out and who brought them back. He was responsible for the safety of these warriors. Another crushingly difficult job.

But yet, the annals of King David shout about the wonder of his court and its opulence.

On this solemn feastday we’d expect to read about Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. But instead, we get the result of his claiming his kingship on that awesome procession into the city of peace. He had to be killed because the chief priests and Sadducees believed his seditious teachings would cause the Romans to remove them – the chief priests and Sadducees – from their exalted position as religious leaders of this nation of Judah. His throne is a cross. His work is suffering for the sake of his revelation. His seditious message is terrifically difficult to comprehend in a world where violence is the weapon of the powerful, tax burdens and loss of freedom the strategies of powerful ones. Yet, here today, and in all the today's that have preceded this one, we come to do homage to this prophet, this priest, this preacher, this healer hanging on a cross in excruciating pain. We seem to play the fool in titling him King of the Universe. We witness the ignorant who fail to understand, to know why he is crucified. The sign created by Pilate who asked that famous question, “What is truth?” indicates the crime of Jesus. This is the King of the Jews – as well as all persons who hear and embrace his message, his life, his healing, his mission to save us from the violence and death-dealing that is the way of the World. This Jesus has mounted his throne.

The secular and religious leadership sneer at him – “if you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” They don’t get it, do they? They can’t see beyond the obvious into the terrific truth that hangs there. The message, the works, the very life of this itinerate preacher, healer, emissary of God is not to be denied. For Jesus to have surrendered to the myopia of religious and civil leadership and the way-the-world-counts-success would have been to deny that God loves God’s created persons, all of God’s creation with an unconditional love that cannot be bought or sold, cannot be forced, or silenced. God is our God: and our God is merciful to those who seek him: God is compassionate to a fault to those who understand God’s presence; God deals with loving kindness to anyone who care to search for truth. The King does battle and will not surrender to the forces of this world. The thrones of the powerful and the cruel have no staying power.

And yet, if there is a lesson from the Gospel, perhaps we should listen to the bad guy who understands what Jesus is accomplishing. He is coming into his kingdom by taking on the suffering of his subjects. He is the shepherd doing the hard work of shepherding. His kingship is not glitz and loud noise. His kingdom rules in the hearts and thus in the minds of those who see him and wonder at his strength and persistence, and his unbounded love for us. Thus, the thief sees and understands. Is that not a lesson for us? Do we not understand that suffering for the revelation of God’s love is worth the price?

How fitting, at the end of this year of Luke, we have Jesus finishing his work. The harvest is in and we enter a time of quiet and rest that is heavy with longing for his coming. Advent comes next week. Our hearts look for a return of light and of hope and of God’s expressed love for us. It is a time of expectation that will end its year-long cycle again on the Cross, a sign of strength, of hope, of faith, and of unbounded love expressed in service to others – “Welcome into the Kingdom!”

Each person is loved by God --- ought we imitate God’s approach instead of picking and choosing who we care about? Ought we accept that God loves us with an infinite love that is loaded with compassion and mercy, and loving kindness and so play it forward to each person we meet? For Jesus is King of a new creation and a new reality and a new truth that cannot be denied. And He walks with us still!

There is but this today! Celebrate the King and understand in our celebration what he stands for. This is a steak and mashed potatoes with gravy day – load up on the deserts as well. It is a day to celebrate the victory of the King. And our victory as we join with him.

Dennis Keller dkeller002@nc.rr.com

 

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3.

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ENDURING WITH FAITH, TRUST, AND LOVE: 33RD SUNDAY C

Malachi 3:19-20; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12; Luke 21:5-19

Jesus is speaking about the future. What his first listeners hear him saying is grim stuff – real doom and gloom. As we listen to what he says we must ask ourselves how much of his message is meant for us too? Where is the hope in what he says? Is there any hope in what he says?

Jesus is responding to a group from the Fine Art Society of Jerusalem discussing the beauty of the Temple building. They are entranced by the splendor of the edifice and the magnificence of its decorations. But Jesus responds to their pride in the Temple with thundering words. He says that Jerusalem is heading for total destruction and the rest of the world for disaster. This is just what happened to Jerusalem with one exception. When the Roman general Titus in the year 70 destroyed the city and the Temple, he ordered that a wall should be left standing for the Jewish people to mourn the loss of their sacred site. That ‘Wailing Wall’ is still there.

The first disaster for the wider world that Jesus warns against is the arrival on the scene of deceivers. They make out that they are saviours, and pretend to know the ultimate secret – when will the world end? Out of sheer fear some people believe them.

It is difficult to follow the advice of Jesus not to be frightened by wars and revolutions. In a world with stockpiles of nuclear weapons, it’s a challenge not to be frightened by the sheer idiocy of some unpredictable leader who wants to launch a nuclear strike that would wipe out a swathe of cities and regions. In the time of Jesus, wars and battles were limited by the weapons available. Today we are feeling threatened with ‘weapons of mass destruction’, that are so lethal that they could end up destroying the whole earth, our shared home.

Jesus goes on to mention earthquakes, plagues, and famines. For thousands of people, these are still regular features of life and the causes of indescribable suffering. Despite all the advances in science and medicine, there are still epidemics of incurable diseases. With the globe getting warmer and warmer, there are more famines, fires, and floods than ever before, and there are still thousands and thousands of people going hungry or starving to death. For millions of people, such disasters do mean the end, even though they don’t mean the end of the entire world.

Jesus adds that his followers will be persecuted for their beliefs. But their sufferings will allow his followers to witness to their faith and trust in him. Down the centuries Christians have revered the memory and prayers of those men and women who have valued their faith more than life itself, and who have refused to change their commitment to Christ and the Christian way of life for the sake of their survival. They have lived the truth of the words of Jesus, and have lived the pattern of his life, that led to his cruel and unjust passion and death, but which climaxed in the triumph of his resurrection.

The last item on the list of Jesus’ warnings is betrayal. He warns his followers that they cannot always count on their own families to understand them and support them in their commitment to Christ. On becoming Christians, particular people are still being shown the door by their own families, who never speak to them again, and have nothing more to do with them.

On coming to the end of this list of possible disasters that test our faith and trust, it’s time to keep looking for comfort and reassurance. There is comfort in that Jesus has told us before it happens that living our faith in him will at times be very painful. Living among people who do not believe in God, and mixing with those who sneer and jeer at what we do, is hard to take. It takes much courage to persevere. The courage to stay faithful is a grace from God, a special blessing. A poet wanting to portray the blindness of society to the questions confronting us used this image: - ‘We picnic at the edge of the precipice with our backs to the abyss.’ Jesus asks us to face the abyss with faith and trust.

Many good people lose their faith when they see the amount of evil and suffering in the world. They cannot observe the apparent pointless suffering of so many and still believe in a God who cares. They cannot look into the eyes of a starving child e.g., and still praise God. They know that no one chooses to die from famine. They know that no one wants to be blown up by a stray bomb or a drone, and yet these things keep happening.

Their questions are our questions too. There are times when all our faith can do is to hang on, to endure. Jesus has no quick or slick answers. He just calls on his followers to stay faithful, despite all the horror and suffering that may come their way.

If we had the answers, our faith wouldn’t have to endure. But because the questions are still with us, still unanswered, still unresolved, let us pray for ourselves and one another, for a faith that lasts till the end of every dark night! Meanwhile, let us keep witnessing to Jesus with truth, courage, and love, and keep leaning on him for the strength to endure whatever happens!

"Brian Gleeson CP" <bgleesoncp@gmail.com>

 

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