Celebrate Sunday Mass with Bishop Strickland - 10.11.20

Join Bishop Strickland for Sunday Mass.

The videos for Sunday Mass in both English and Spanish are available below.

Bishop Strickland in a previous Sunday Mass.

Bishop Strickland in a previous Sunday Mass.

10/11/2020 (7 months ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier



Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...


I know you look forward to hearing Bishop Strickland preach. The response to offering these beautiful liturgies has been overwhelming. I also know that, like me, you are drawn closer to the Lord when he offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

The readings, as always, offer so much for us to reflect on. It is helpful to pray through them and reflect upon them.

The first reading we will hear is from the Hebrew Prophet Isaiah. It speaks of the destiny the Lord has for His people. If we put our hope in Him, if we choose to live our lives for Him, He will not only care for us in this life, but has prepared an eternal destiny of joy for us in the life to come. David the Psalmist in our response refers to that as well. 

Do we believe this? Do we live our lives now as if there even is a life to come?

In our second reading, we will hear another excerpt from the letter the Apostle Paul sent to the Philippians. He explains one of the key elements which can help us to discern if we are living our lives as if we believe there is an eternal punishment or reward which awaits us. That is, how do we relate to the goods of the earth? The Apostle Paul wrote:

"I know how to live modestly, and I know how to live luxuriously too: in every way now, I have mastered the secret of all conditions: full stomach and empty stomach, plenty and poverty. There is nothing I cannot do in the One who strengthens me."

Now - that is living faith. That is also the path to freedom in this life and a participation in the life to come, beginning even now. The Apostle Paul had supernatural living faith. His trust was in the Lord, not in how many possessions he had.  How do we relate to the goods of the earth which have been entrusted to us? Do we believe that we can do all things through the One who strengthens us? 

In our Gospel passage (Mt. 22:1-14) Jesus uses a parable to speak into our hearts once again. In the biblical language, the heart is not simply the organ at the center of our chest. The "heart" is the place deep within where we make our most fundamental choices about life. Jesus tells us that the "...Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son."

It is not accidental that the Bible, from beginning to the end, uses marriage as a metaphor and a symbol to reveal the plan of God for the whole human race.  Marriage was God's plan from the beginning. We see that in the first Book of the Bible, the book of Genesis. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, what Christians call the Old Testament, the Lord speaks through His messengers, the Prophets, to remind Israel that He has "espoused" her to Himself.

Then, in the fullness of time, the Father sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom, to initiate the New Israel, the Church. The "Paschal Mystery", the conception, life, Redemptive death on the Cross, His Resurrection, Ascension, and Return, are all about the Bride, the Church. 

At the cross Jesus, espoused Himself to the Church. This nuptial or wedding language informs the entirety of the New Testament. In fact, it culminates in the last Book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, with the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. That final event helps to reveal God's plan as it will be fulfilled in eternity.

This is the "mystery" to which the Apostle Paul often points in his letters to the early churches.  For example, at the end of his profoundly important instructions about marriage to the early Church (Ephesians 5) he opens the deeper mystery in this line, "This is a profound mystery-but I am talking about Christ and the church." (Eph. 5:32) 

Jesus teaches that there will be no giving or taking in marriage in the kingdom to come. That is not to slight the beauty of marriage. Rather, it is the purpose of marriage will be fulfilled. (See, e.g. Mk. 12:18-27) We will be living in the fullness of the Communion of Love. The symbol will give way to the eternal reality, the Sacrament will be fulfilled in the fullness of communion. All human love will be completed in the Love which lasts forever.

So, we have all been invited to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. (Rev. 19) How are we living our lives in response? Are we being clothed with the wedding garment? In other words, are we clothing ourselves in virtue, by cooperating with grace?  

Are we getting ready for the Marriage Feast of the Lamb? This is more than metaphor. In the final book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, we read about the end of the age and the beginning of the Kingdom to come: 

"Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.  Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;  it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure"- for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are true words of God." (Rev. 19:6-9)

Are we preparing ourselves for the eternal wedding day?  

May the Lord bless you, your families, the Church, and the Nations of the world on this Lord's Day.   

Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Catholic Online School
Chaplain of Your Catholic Voice Foundation

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