Celebrate Sunday Mass - The Feast of Christ the King - 11.21.21
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11/22/2021 (2 weeks 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. This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King.
The Christian is invited into an eternal perspective, beginning in the here and now. We can begin to receive time - and its passing - as a gift from God. This can be one of the many things which make us counter-cultural in an age which is obsessed with fighting the passage of time. The early Christians, before they were even called Christians, were referred to as the Way. (Acts 9:2, Acts 11:26) That was because they lived a very different way of life. A Way of Life which drew men and women to the One whose name they were soon privileged to bear, Jesus the Christ.
One way this can occur in our lives as Catholic Christians is to move from seeing the Church year as just some kind of "Catholic custom" to seeing it as an invitation to live the mysteries of our faith in a manner which informs our daily life. Christians believe in a linear timeline in history. There is a beginning and an end, a fulfillment, which is, in fact, a new beginning. Time is heading somewhere. We reject the sad concept - even present in some other religious traditions - that time is a tyrant entrapping us into an endless cycle which must be broken.
Rather, the Catholic Church proclaims that time is a precious commodity. In the insightful and allegorical words of St Jose Maria Escriva, the "Time is our treasure, the "money" with which to buy eternity." (Furrow #882)
Time truly matters. What we do with it truly matters. That is as true of the history of the world as it is our own personal histories. As that wonderful Saint reminded us, "A true Christian is always ready to appear before God. Because, if he is fighting to live as a man of Christ, he is ready at every moment to fulfill his duty." (Furrow, 875)
One of the searching questions we should ask ourselves at this time very year, in a blunt examination of conscience, is what are we doing with time? Do we choose to mark our passage of time by the great events of the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ?
This final Sunday of the church Year, the Feast of Christ the King, is the day when we are invited to commemorate His sovereignty over all men, women, and children. Jesus Christ has come. Jesus Christ is coming. Jesus Christ will come again. Jesus Christ is Lord of All. No sooner than we have celebrated the last Sunday of the Year, the feast of Christ the King, we will celebrate the First Sunday of Advent, and begin the time of preparation for the great Feast of the Nativity of Our Savior.
We are moving forward and toward His loving return. The Church, to use the beautiful imagery of the early Christian fathers, was birthed from the wounded side of the Savior on the Cross at Calvary's hill. We are now being recreated in and through Him, as we cooperate with grace. We have been espoused to Him forever. He is the bridegroom, and we are the bride. He will return for us in the great culmination of all time and establish the eternal kingdom.
Our Catholic liturgical year follows a rhythmic cycle which points us toward beginnings and ends. In doing so, it emphasizes important truths that can only be grasped through faith. This Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King, is the last Sunday in the Church year. Our Catholic faith and its Liturgical practices proclaim to a world hungry for meaning that Jesus Christ is the "Alpha", (the first letter of the Greek alphabet) and the "Omega" (the last letter), the beginning and the end. He is the Giver, the Governor and the fulfillment of all time. In Him the whole world is being made new and every end becomes a beginning, for those with the greatest treasure, living faith.
On the Feast of Christ the King 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.
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 Some One - Jesus Christ - and it is truly human 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 into 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 Christ for the sake of the world.
Thanksgiving is a great Feast made even fuller in meaning for the believing and practicing Christian when we examine the word itself. The word "Eucharist" in our lexicon as Catholics, means Thanksgiving. Now we are called to walk through this last week of the year and reflect on the Kingship of Jesus Christ.
Then, we will walk along the way of faith into this new Liturgical season, Advent. Throughout the weeks of Advent, we are invited to prepare ourselves -and the world of our own time- for the comings of the Lord, including His final coming as Christ the King.
On the last week of the Church Year, we are invited to remember that every end is a beginning - because in Christ the King, Thanksgiving and Advent can become a way of life. Jesus Christ is Lord. Living in Him we can move from Christ the King to Thanksgiving to Advent.
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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