Celebrate Sunday Mass - 11.12.23
NOVEMBER 12, 2023 -- 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
11/12/2023 (3 weeks ago)
By Deacon Keith Fournier
My friends, brothers, and sisters in the Lord
In an Apostolic Letter entitled"The Lords Day" (Dies Domini),Pope St John Paul II gave a summary of the Christian understanding of Sunday, and underscored our obligation to honor the Lords Day. The Letter began with these words:
"The Lord's Day - as Sunday was called from Apostolic times - has always been accorded special attention in the history of the Church because of its close connection with the very core of the Christian mystery. In fact, in the weekly reckoning of time Sunday recalls the day of Christ's Resurrection. It is Easter which returns week by week, celebrating Christ's victory over sin and death, the fulfilment in him of the first creation and the dawn of "the new creation" (cf. 2 Cor 5:17). It is the day which recalls in grateful adoration the world's first day and looks forward in active hope to "the last day", when Christ will come in glory (cf. Acts 1:11; 1 Th 4:13-17) and all things will be made new (cf. Rev 21:5)".
Sometimes, Catholics and other Christians refer to Sunday as a "Christian Sabbath". Though well intentioned, this is incorrect. Sunday is "the Lords Day". This apostolic letter cites the biblical sources and the writings of the early Church manuals and early Church Fathers. The readings for the Sunday Mass set a framework for us to reflect on throughout the coming week.
Our first reading from today's Holy Mass is an excerpt from chapter six of the Book of Wisdom. The authorship of the Book of Wisdom is attributed to Solomon, the wisest of all men in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is a beautiful book which lives up to its title. It presents wisdom as a person. The purpose, so we can know wisdom.
This book was a favorite for reflection by the Church Fathers. They saw it as a reference to the Holy Spirit. Wisdom is given to us by the Lord, who is its source. It is communicated to us to reveal His providential plan, for the world, the Church, our families, our own lives.
As this portion of chapter six encourages us to do, we should all awaken early to seek wisdom, and then meditate upon it once it is obtained. This entire chapter is addressed specifically to leaders. We certainly need wise leaders today. First, in the Church, which is under a ferocious assault from both the outside and from the inside, and in civil society.
By virtue of our Baptism, we all participate in leadership, in some way. Whether it is in the family, civil society, our workplace or in the Church. We need the wisdom of God to live our lives in accordance with His will. Are we seeking His wisdom?
Our Psalm response is taken from Psalm 63 "My soul is thirsting for you, my Lord, my God." Then, we heard the song of the psalmist David, calling us all to seek the Lord. To pray. To "lift up our hands and to call upon His name. How often do we do that? That is the first duty of every Christian.Prayer is like breathing. In the physical life, if we do not breathe, we will die. In the spiritual life, if we do not pray we will die.
Our second reading is an excerpt taken from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Thessalonians. One of the challenges which the Apostle Paul was dealing with in that Christian community was a misunderstanding about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This confusion was fed by false teaching and It led to a lack of faith in the Resurrection. It also led to a lack of hope. This had crept into the early churches. In this letter and elsewhere, St Paul, as a good spiritual father, keeps his readers - including each one of us - focused on Jesus Christ. There were other problems resulting from this poor teaching.
Some in this early Church community were beginning to grow slothful in their work and failing to live up to their duties because they had a mistaken notion of the second coming. Yes, Jesus will return to execute the final judgment and usher in the kingdom. However, until then, we should live in the knowledge that He is with us now and comes to us every day, in His Word, in prayer, in the Holy Eucharist and all the Sacraments, and in our relationships with other believers. However, the very ability to recognize His coming takes the eyes of living faith.
The Gospel text appointed for today is taken from the 25th chapter of Matthews Gospel. It is stunning!
I encourage everyone watching me on catholiconline.school or listening to me, to read it, in its entirety, soon and often. Hearing it at Mass today is not enough. At the end of it, Jesus speaks of His return and the coming judgment of all the Nations. In the beginning Jesus uses parables to explain to his disciples - that includes you and me - how to live in such a way that we are ready for this judgment. To always live our lives as though He was coming - because He is.
In the parable of the wise and foolish maidens or wedding attendants which we heard today, we are reminded to stay filled with the Holy Spirit. Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. We are called to stay in a state of grace, to live our lives in the light, to keep the oil of the Holy Spirit in our lamps. Jesus is the bridegroom; and the Church is the bride. We are always to be "at the watch" because Jesus is truly coming.
Do we believe this?
Does it affect the way we live? Are we keeping our lamps lit?
Have a Blessed Lords Day,
Deacon Keith Fournier, JD, MTS, MPhil
Dean of Catholic Online School
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