Celebrate Sunday Mass - The Feast of Christ the King - 11.22.20
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11/22/2020 (4 months ago)
By Deacon Keith Fournier34th Sunday of the Year - The Feast of Christ the King
Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...
I AM HAPPY TO OFFER EACH OF YOU AN INVITATION TO ONLINE SUNDAY MASS ON THE 34th and last Sunday of the Liturgical Year from the Catholic Diocese of Tyler, Texas. The response to offering these beautiful liturgies online has been overwhelming. The readings from the Scriptures, as always, offer so much for us to reflect on. It is helpful to pray through them and reflect upon them.
In our first reading from the great Hebrew prophet Ezekiel, we will hear the wonderful promise of the Lord, that He will shepherd His people. Israel was deeply consoled by this promise, all throughout her journey from slavery into the land of promise.
The Church, of which we are members through Baptism, is the New Israel. We know that Jesus, the Incarnate Word sent from the Father, the Savior promised throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, has come. He is the Good Shepherd.
And, on this Feast Day, we proclaim that He is coming again, at the completion of time, as the King. Then he will separate the sheep from the goats. The Psalmist and prophet David picks up the theme in the most well-known of all the Psalms, Psalm 23, The Lord is my Shepherd. Do we experience the Lord as our Shepherd? Do we listen for His voice?
In our second reading, taken from the 15th chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul is giving the early Christians, and each one of us, a deep and important teaching concerning the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgement and the Resurrection of the Body.
The early Christian believers had received some bad teaching and were confused. Are we confused? We profess the ancient creed of the Church every Sunday. In it we affirm the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, His Return, and our own Resurrection. Do we really believe this? If so, does it affect the way we live now?
This Sunday is the last Sunday of Ordinary Time in the Church Year, The Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe. On this Feast we celebrate the full and final triumph and return of the One through whom the entire universe was created - and in whom it is being "recreated" - and by whom it will be completely reconstituted and handed back to the Father at the "end" of all time.
That end will mark the beginning of a timeless new heaven and a new earth when "He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death." (Revelations 21:4).
I suggest that it is no coincidence that the Feast of Christ the King and the last week of the year pass through the secular Feast of Thanksgiving. There is no separation for the believer between the secular and the Sacred.
In the great event of the Incarnation and the fullness of the Paschal Mystery, all is made new through Jesus Christ. Secular Feasts such as the American Thanksgiving proceed from a Jewish and Christian memory in our ancestors. They knew, as do we, that we are a people who have received immense gifts from God, and it is truly human and correct to stop and give Thanks!
We do not bring God into time; He is the Creator of time. In the mystery of the Incarnation, the Eternal Word through whom the universe was created entered time to re-create it from within! We are invited by grace to come to acknowledge this mystery and then receive his creature time as a gift, a good, to be given back to Him through living our lives in Jesus Christ for the sake of the world. Every day counts.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful secular Feast made even fuller in meaning for the believing and practicing Christian, when we examine the word thanksgiving itself. The word "Eucharist", in our lexicon as Catholics, means Thanksgiving. We are a Thanksgiving people! We are called to walk through this last week of the year and reflect on the Kingship of Jesus Christ.
Then, we will be invited to begin a New Church Year and walk along the way of living faith into the new Liturgical season, Advent.
We are invited by the Holy Spirit to prepare ourselves, and the world of our time, for the coming of the Lord. We are to help to make it ready for the final coming of Christ the King. We are commissioned to invite all men and women to meet the Lord Jesus Christ, in His fullness.
On this last week of the Church Year, let us remember that every end is a beginning - because in Christ the King - all things are being made new.
As we move from one Church year to the next, we also move along in the timeline of the human life allotted to each one of us. We age. The certainty of our own death is not something to be feared for a Christian. It is meant to illuminate our life.
The certainty of the end of all time is meant to illuminate the purpose of time itself. It is heading toward the culmination of Gods loving plan in sending us the Savior, Jesus Christ. For each of these things, our aging and the certainty of death, to be received and welcomed we must genuinely believe in Jesus Christ. He is the beginning and the end.
This year, the Gospel appointed for this Feast of Christ the King reminds us of our call to recognize Jesus in the face of the poor, in all their manifestations. It recounts the clear teaching of Jesus Christ on how we will be judged.
Are we progressing in Christian maturity? Do we recognize Jesus in the poor? Do we know we will be judged? Are we cooperating with grace and seeking become more and more faithful to the Lord?
May the Lord bless you, your families, the Church, and the Nations of the world on this Lord's Day. May Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, be recognized by all men and women, as the King of all the Universe.
Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Catholic Online School
Chaplain of Your Catholic Voice Foundation
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