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Contents: Volume 2 - Christ the King of the Universe -C- November 24, 2019


 

CHRIST

the

KING

 

1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Carol & Dennis Keller

3. -- Brian Gleeson CP

4. --

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

 

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Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe 2019

We live in troubled times, an understatement for sure! Many things clutter our lives and some justifiable concerns and even calamities pull us in many different directions. In the middle of all the clamor, let us remember that today's Feast is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe.

In the letter to the Colossians, we read/hear many things that solidify the rightful place of Jesus, namely, his preeminence. The one that causes me to pause and take a very deep breath is "in him all things hold together." For me, that is one of those truths that holds me together!

Our situations, however troubled, are not as dire as the one of the two men who were crucified with Jesus. Yet, one of them had the presence of mind to see Jesus for who he really was. He responded to grace.

The Risen Lord is alive among us today. Let us remember the promises of Jesus and accept the graces that are bestowed on us. Let us rejoice that the King of the Universe reconciled all things through himself and invited each of us to Paradise with him as well.

Blessings,

Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity

lanie@leblanc.one

 

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Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe November 24, 2019

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

"Thy Kingdom come; they will be done on earth as it is in heaven!" These words from Jesus’ prayer ought to come to our lips this final Sunday of our Liturgical year. There are so very many thoughts, so very many pilgrimages to pursue as we think about the closing of this year.

We ought to take measure of how we’ve done. For most of us, this will likely mean how we have faired in business, socially, politically, or economically. Yet the most important measure is truly how we’ve faired as family – parents, siblings, children. For it is through family that we first learn how to work together, to share, and most importantly how to love. In family we have the first measure of how we have built up the Kingdom of our Lord. We must remember and begin to act liturgy. For the very deepest meaning of liturgy is building up the Community that is our city, our state, our nation, and most clearly our world. For the Greeks who created the word "liturgy" that is the meaning. Liturgy for those proud citizens of those early city-states is what true, committed, and patriotic citizens do on behalf of their state. What they do for the state is build up the infrastructure, the culture, and the vitality necessary for the common good of each citizen. Liturgy in our Christian understanding has as its goal the building up of the Kingdom of God. "Thy Kingdom Come, thy will be done." How have we measured up this past twelve months? Have we brought unity? Have we lived in solidarity with the extraordinary, the average, and the very poorest among us? Have we supported and lifted up the lives of those in our communities? Or have we worked incessantly to build up ourselves to the detriment of all others? This question comes from our reading this Sunday from Paul’s letter to the Colossians. "He is before all things and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross, through him, whether those on earth of those in heaven." That is the Kingdom of God – that we reach fullness of our creation, that we live in peace, that we be reconciled to one another and so become the living Body of Christ.

As we think about this aspect of Christian life – the living in community, the coming together to share our experiences and our gains – we must remember we are completing the work of God’s creation. God could have finished it without us. But in his great love for us he allowed and gave us a place in bringing creation to fullness. Our lives are more than whether we get to heaven or not. Our lives build up or tear down the Body of the Christ. All that is – as Paul insists – comes from him. "For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth."

The first reading reminds us of how a vital kingship was established in Israel. Saul was first anointed but quickly fell into error. He lost his way and in the process his confidence of God’s presence. He went to a fortune teller to discern his future, calling up through that teller the spirit of Samuel who had anointed him king. In the end, Saul fell on his own sword, despairing of the work of God for the nation. David was the replacement. David committed to Israel that he would serve the nation. His efforts, as he committed to the elders, would be for the good of the nation and its security and prosperity. The kingship of David is viewed idealistically even though David made many, many mistakes. That should remind us of ourselves. We are called by God to build up the Kingdom of God. Yet often as we succeed, we become prideful, arrogant, and lose sight of our mission. Clarity of that mission comes to us in the ministry of Jesus. He went about teaching, healing, and freeing citizens from addictions and possessions by evil spirits. All his work was always about bringing to the community of God those who had become diseased, ostracized, rejected, and forgotten. Their absence diminishes the strength and beauty of the community. There are none who can be thrown away, ignored, denied dignity and worth whose absence is not harmful to the common good of the community. The kingship, the reign of Jesus when it is fully lived brings a unity, a solidarity, and a vitality to community. In our time we’ve learned that our community is more than a neighborhood, more than a faith tradition, more than a nation. We are a global community that embraces every tribe, every language, every race, and every people. That is the reign of God we celebrate today. We should question ourselves this week-end: will the movements of our hearts embrace all peoples, all languages, all colors, and all traditions of living? Do we resent others? Do we look on others with fewer resources, less education, less power, less wealth as unworthy of our respect? As Christians we must ask ourselves if we truly believe that we are the Body of Christ? Are we welcoming to all who come to us? What have we done to heal, to free, and to invite others to share in the Body of the Christ? Do we preach by our example to others of the reign of God Jesus brings to us? In what other way will we ever be able to establish the Reign of God – the Kingdom of Heaven/God except to live as the Body of The Christ. The living example of that Reign is Jesus on the Cross. He prayed at the last before his resurrection, "Father forgive them!" So must we forgive as we wish to be forgiven?

Luke’s gospel declares Jesus is Lord and King. This is no pompous, arrogant ruler frightening his subjects with stern judgement. This is the King who is with us; he is one of us. The religious and secular rulers of his time find his message silly and meaningless. Their goal is power, wealth, and fame. Those were the three temptations Jesus the evangelists summed up at the beginning of his ministry. Those temptations constantly attacked him as he brought the message that God loves each person and even each one of us. Wouldn’t it have been easier to control, to bribe, or to lead by being a celebrity? God’s love is never about power and wealth. God’s love is about extending to each person and each bit of creation the vitality and permanence of God’s life. The conflict Jesus endured is ours as well. Religious and secular leaders are often victims of the way of the world, believing that power and control is the way to the Kingdom of God. They rely on wealth to demonstrate their correctness. They often display their power and wealth as evidence that God is with them. All the while they stand in the courtyard shouting, "Crucify him, crucify him!" That which divides us, separates us from one another is not of the Reign of God. That which draws us together in healing, sharing, and respect are evidence of the Reign of God at work in our world. We must be careful to discern what is of the Kingdom and what is of the evil one.

Luke presents the King of the Universe as reigning from the wood of the cross. We’ll celebrate Mass with heavy gold vestments and incense and triumphal music. How contrary to the death on the cross is our celebration. Yet, it is in this contradiction that we have the lesson we desperately need in our time and place. We proclaim the gospel of the crucifixion of our Lord. Our King is one of us. His kingdom is the kingdom of life not of death. By entering death and beating it to pieces won the battle with death. Jesus is The Christ, the Lord of Life. He conquered death by bringing together, by healing the divisions among us. The glue that holds together, that makes us into one Body is the Love of God presence among us. That Love is in fact how we describe the Life of God. Whoever wishes to live forever must practice that love now, in our time and place. Each generation must rise to the challenge brought by the cultures of their time and place. Most often energies expended in religious and secular politics divide us one from another. Division is the source of their power. Division is effective when it comes through fear and hatred. It brings with it violence and death. Jesus The Christ’s message is about universal life. No one is excluded – born or unborn, citizen or refugee, criminal or law-abider, young or aged, healthy or sick, rich or impoverished, educated or ignorant, or even sinful or righteous. It is a very, very difficult task for each of us to live in this culture of life that Jesus reveals.

It is a trick of the evil one to take a small and critical part of the Culture of Life and endorse it whole-heartedly. At the same time, the evil one attacks the other equally important elements of the Culture of Life. The evil one is pre-eminently skilled at this shell game. The power of The Christ’s Death and Resurrection is sufficient to embrace all creation and install the Reign of Heaven. Pray that we are not deluded by the efforts of those who would divide the Body of the Christ. For it is within the Body of the Lord that we are saved from the violence and the fabrications of the way of the world.

As we complete this liturgical year, it’s time for us to review how we’ve lived and modeled the Gospel of Life. Are we more focused on a culture of death than we are of a Culture of Life? For it is in the Culture of Life that is the Reign of God that, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." May the Kingdom, the Reign of the Lord of Life reach its fullness with our help and living!

Carol & Dennis Keller dkeller002@nc.rr.com

 

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WELCOMING JESUS CHRIST AS OUR KING

A man called Michael has told this story about being a witness to the truth in an everyday situation: He recalls what happened:

My wife and I are building extensions on our house, and while that’s going on we decided to move out and rent. Earlier this year a hailstorm damaged some parts of our town, so I went over to our old house to check for damage. I looked it over and found no new damage.

My wife mentioned that some people were claiming for a new roof from insurance companies. I thought about this and decided that it would be easy to do. But something inside me said it was wrong. I told my wife what I thought, expecting an argument, but to my surprise I didn’t get one. My builder asked me, ‘Why is everyone in your street getting a new roof and you’re not?’ I answered that I was just trying to be honest. He turned his head with a blank stare that said to me ‘You’re off your rocker’, and to tell the truth I was starting to think the same way. But again there was this feeling inside.

Recently, [he continues], my wife was visiting three doors down from our old house. They have a new roof courtesy of the hailstorm. She came home and said, ‘You won’t believe this, but on their kitchen table were one hundred and two photos of the new roof. It has all gone wrong.’

Michael explains his stance:

When I was a kid, a teacher who was a nun said that our guardian angel is that little voice inside us that steers us in the right direction. I still believe this. I also believe that what you say and do affects everyone around you. Surely this is the living God at work.

Michael’s story suggests how seriously he takes the answer that Jesus at his trial gave to the question put to him by the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate: ‘So you are a king then?’ ‘Yes, I am a king,’ Jesus said, ‘ … I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice’ (John 18:37)

Jesus is a king all right - the king of kings, and the lord of lords, in fact. He is our King, our Leader, one whom we respect, honour and love, one to whom we readily and gladly bend the knee and bow the head.

Was it not to bring in that new world that he called ‘the kingdom of God’ the very reason that he came among us? Did he not come to earth to change our hearts, to rid us of all evil and all sin, to redeem and liberate us? Did he not come to bring us and everyone else God’s gifts of justice, joy, peace, health and wellbeing? Did he not come to bring an end to all hostility, all wars and all terror? Did he not both live and die to set people free from hunger, poverty, want and disease? Isn’t that the very reason too that he calls each of us by name, hugs each of us to his heart and stays with us till the end of the world and beyond?

The kingship of Jesus, then, is not like that of other kings and rulers. It is not about wealth and power, domination and control. It is not about military might, conquests and national security. It is not about palaces, estates, splendour, riches and magnificence. No! His kingship is about truth, honesty and integrity. It is about goodness and generosity, service and self-sacrifice, justice and love. It is about mercy and care - mercy and care for all people, but especially for those who are poor, broken-hearted, neglected or ignored.

Witnessing to the truth was something that Pilate was finding very hard to do. He had already found Jesus innocent. If he was to act on that truth, surely he would have set Jesus free. It seems, then, that while he may have been sincerely concerned about Jesus’ safety, he was not concerned enough that Jesus was innocent. For he refused to act on that fact, that truth, when it was in his power to do so.

What about us? Do you and I really qualify as subjects of his kingdom? Do we belong to him or not? Do we call him ‘Our Lord’’, and if we do, do we actually mean it and live it?

Today our liturgical year is coming to an end. Next Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent, and the start of the Year A Cycle of Readings. Today, Jesus our King is inviting us to bring this year of the Church to an end by choosing him once again as our Leader, Lord and Saviour, and by recommitting ourselves to his rule in our lives by living his teachings and values. With the help of his amazing grace, then, are you and I ready and willing to renew our commitment to him during the rest of our prayer-time together today?

If we are ready and willing, let’s make that commitment right here and right now, make it from the heart, make it for real, and make it for keeps!

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

 

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Volume 2 is for you. Your thoughts, reflections, and insights on the next Sundays readings can influence the preaching you hear. Send them to preacherexchange@att.net.  Deadline is Wednesday Noon. Include your Name, and Email Address.

-- Fr. John


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Volume II Archive

We keep up to six articles in this archive.  The latest is always listed first.

ADVENT 3 ADVENT 2 ADVENT 1 CHRIST the KING 33rd SUNDAY 32nd SUNDAY


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