Gospel 22.1.2023

Sunday, 22nd January 2023

Alleluia
Mt 4:23
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel
Mt 4:12-23 or 4:12-17
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.

REFLECTION
In Matthew’s Gospel, from which we read today, we hear the first words spoken by our Lord as He begins His public ministry: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Up until this point, Matthew’s Gospel presented us with Jesus’ genealogy, His birth, the story of the Magi, the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt, the slaughter of the Holy Innocents, Jesus’ baptism, the preaching of Saint John the Baptist and Jesus’ forty days in the desert. Now, after these introductory stories to Jesus’ life, we enter into His public ministry.

Recall that John had just been imprisoned, thus concluding his public ministry. Therefore, the time for the preaching and ministry of the Son of God had arrived. And though Jesus continues the theme of repentance started by John, Jesus takes John’s words further. Jesus adds something that John could not: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Since we are still at the beginning of the season of Ordinary Time, it’s important to understand this transition from the Old Testament prophets, of which John was the last, to the New Testament preaching of our Lord. The difference is that all that had been prophesied and pointed to in the Old Testament had now arrived. Saint Jerome, in commenting upon this passage, says that as the Old Testament Law ceased, the Gospel commenced. And, of course, the fulfillment of this new era of the Gospel was only a few short years away when our Lord would offer up His life for the salvation of many.

As Jesus begins His preaching, His words are challenging but also very hopeful. By saying that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” Jesus stirs interest and holy curiosity among His first listeners. His call to repentance was softened by His new proclamation about the Kingdom.

One helpful insight we can take from these first words of Jesus’ public ministry is that this is the best way to share the Gospel with those who do not yet follow Christ. Oftentimes, when we see someone living in serious sin, we want to judge and condemn. But usually what they need the most is hope—hope that there is something much greater that comes from repentance. Certainly we need to speak against sin. But one of the most effective ways to do so is by initially offering the listener hope of something much better than the sin with which they struggle—specifically, the hope of the Kingdom of God.

Reflect, today, upon the newness of the ministry of Jesus, the newness of the first proclamation of the Gospel. As you do, try to imagine the holy curiosity that many would have had as they first listened to Jesus preach. Soon He would follow up His preaching with many signs and wonders that would confirm His message. But at first, Jesus simply instilled a hope in His hearers. As you ponder this, think about those in your life who also need this initial sense of hope and holy curiosity about the Gospel and pray that God will inspire you and use you to be an instrument of this merciful message.

PRAYER

Lord, as You began Your public ministry of proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven, You instilled hope and a holy curiosity in the minds and hearts of Your first hearers. Please continue this good work and use me as You will to be an instrument of this hope in those I encounter every day. Jesus, I trust in You.

The Gospel 15.1.2023

Sunday, 15th January 2023

Alleluia
Jn 1:14a, 12a
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.
To those who accepted him,
he gave power to become children of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel
Jn 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

REFLECTION

John knew, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that Jesus was the “Lamb of God.” He knew, by this interior revelation, that Jesus would become the Sacrificial Lamb, who would lay down His life for the salvation of the world.

Perhaps John did not know the details of how this would happen, but he didn’t need to. He was content knowing this sacred mission of the Messiah, and he was content knowing that Jesus was that Messiah.

In following the Lord, not everything will be clear to us either; but like John, we too must trust in the Lord, placing our faith in Him, accepting that we are aware of all we need to know for now and that in the fullness of time, all will become clear to us.

PRAYER:-

Glorious Lamb of God, You have come and taken away the sins of the world through the sacrifice of Your sacred life on the Cross. Please help me to understand Who You are and all that You have done for me, especially every time I come to behold You and receive You in Holy Communion. Jesus, I trust in You.

The Gospel – 8th January 2023

8th January 2023 – Sunday

 

Matthew 3:13-17 for The Baptism of the Lord

‘This is my Son, the Beloved’.
Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. John tried to dissuade him. ‘It is I who need baptism from you’ he said ‘and yet you come to me!’ But Jesus replied, ‘Leave it like this for the time being; it is fitting that we should, in this way, do all that righteousness demands.’ At this, John gave in to him.

As soon as Jesus was baptised he came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And a voice spoke from heaven, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him.’

REFLECTION
Saint Paul says that at our baptism, Christ has wrapped himself around us, and, having done so, he won’t let us go lightly.

The risen Lord blesses us in a most wonderful way at our baptism, which blessing remains with us throughout our lives.

We never cease to be baptised, regardless of what we have done or failed to do, or how far we may have drifted from the Lord.

Our faith may sometimes seem feel like a wavering flame, but the risen Lord is always at work in our lives to fan the sometimes feeble spark of our faith into a living flame. We just need to answer his call.

Similarities arise as between the Lord and a sat nav in a car. We go wrong in our journey. The sat nav simply resets in it’s efforts to help us complete that journey. The Lord does like wise in His efforts in helping us navigate our journey through life.

The Gospel – Christmas Day

The Gospel – Christmas Day – Sunday, the 25th December 2022

Alleluia
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A holy day has dawned upon us.
Come, you nations, and adore the Lord.
For today a great light has come upon the earth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel
Jn 1:1-18
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.

REFLECTION

Merry Christmas! Our Advent preparations have been completed, and we are now invited by our Lord to enter into the glorious celebration of His birth!

How well do you understand the awe-inspiring mystery of Christmas? How fully do you comprehend the significance of God becoming a human, born of a virgin? Though many are quite familiar with the beautiful and humble story of the birth of the Savior of the World, that familiarity can have the surprising negative effect of keeping our intellect from deeply probing the depths of the meaning of what we celebrate.

Notice the last line of the Gospel passage quoted above: “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” What a beautiful line to ponder this Christmas day. Mother Mary was the one person who would have understood the mystery of the birth of her Son, the Son of God, the Savior of the World, far more deeply than anyone else. It was to her that the Archangel Gabriel appeared, announcing her pregnancy and His birth. It was her who carried her Son, the Son of God, in her Immaculate womb for nine months. It was to her that Elizabeth, her cousin, cried out, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42). It was Mary who was the Immaculate Conception, the one who was preserved from all sin throughout her life. And it was her who gave birth to this Child, carried Him in her arms and nursed Him at her breast. Our Blessed Mother, more than any other, understood the incredible event that had taken place in her life.

But, again, the Gospel above says that “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” One thing this tells us is that even Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of God, needed time to ponder, reflect and savor this most holy mystery. She never doubted, but her faith continually deepened, and her heart pondered the unfathomable and incomprehensible mystery of the Incarnation.

Another thing this tells us is that there is no end to the depth of the “pondering” to which we must commit ourselves if we want to enter more deeply into the mystery of the birth of the Son of God. Reading the story, setting up a nativity scene, sharing Christmas cards, attending Mass and the like are central to a holy celebration of Christmas. But “pondering” and “reflecting,” especially during prayer and especially at the Christmas Mass, will have the effect of drawing us ever deeper into this Mystery of our Faith.

Reflect, today, with our Blessed Mother. Ponder the Incarnation. Place yourself into the scene that first Christmas. Hear the sounds of the town. Smell the smells of the stable. Watch as the shepherds come forth in adoration. And enter the mystery more fully, acknowledging that the more you know about the mystery of Christmas, the more you know how little you actually know and understand. But that humble realization is the first step to a deeper understanding of what we celebrate this day.

PRAYER:-
Lord, I gaze at the wonder of Your birth. You Who are God, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, God from God and Light from Light, became one of us, a humble child, born of a virgin and laid in a manger. Help me to ponder this glorious event, to reflect upon the mystery with awe and to more fully grasp the meaning of what You have done for us. I thank You, dear Lord, for this glorious celebration of Your birth into the world. Jesus, I trust in You.

From Catholic Daily reflections.com

Gospel and reflection 18.12.2022

The Gospel – 18th December 2022

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
REFLECTION:-

As we begin the Fourth Week of Advent, we focus ever more directly upon the miracle that took place over 2,000 years ago. The passage quoted above presents us with the words of the angel of the Lord who spoke to Joseph in a dream. This was one of four dreams that Joseph had in which an angel spoke to him concerning the Christ Child.

God’s plan was so much greater than what Joseph could initially comprehend. The Incarnation of the Son of God within the womb of his betrothed required supernatural understanding. And that’s what Joseph was given. Joseph listened in the dream and believed by the interior revelation of faith that this incredible reality was true.

Joseph’s witness is one to ponder and be inspired by. First, it’s essential that we ponder the story as it happened and be inspired by God’s singularly unique plan by which He took on our human nature. But Joseph also provides us with inspiration for our own callings in life. Joseph inspires us to face any and every mystery in life that we encounter with the utmost trust in God. God’s wisdom and ways are always far beyond ours. Very often in life, God will call us to walk an unknown and mysterious path. Life does not always make perfect sense from a purely rational perspective. Very often, we must allow our human reason to be informed and led by God’s supernatural plan. For each of us, this mysterious path will be different. But if we are to walk by the same faith that Saint Joseph had, then we must always be willing to accept the most sublime mysteries in life and allow God’s revealing Word to clarify them.

PRAYER:-

Most glorious Saint Joseph, you were a man of true righteousness and integrity. You were open to the inspired gift of faith and chose to walk by that faith as you faced the greatest of mysteries. Please pray for me that I may learn from you and be inspired to imitate the life that you lived. Saint Joseph, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Gospel 11th December 2022

Sunday, 11th December 2022

Third Sunday of Advent
Gospel

Matthew 11:2-11

John in his prison had heard what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?’ Jesus answered, ‘Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor; and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.’

As the messengers were leaving, Jesus began to talk to the people about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man wearing fine clothes? Oh no, those who wear fine clothes are to be found in palaces. Then what did you go out for? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says:

‘Look, I am going to send my messenger before you; he will prepare your way before you.

‘I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.’

REFLECTION:-

When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Matthew 11:2–3

Why did Saint John the Baptist send his disciples to Jesus to ask this question? Recall that John had previously stated about Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). So if John knew that Jesus was the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” then why would he send his disciples to ask Jesus if He is the one who is to come?

The Church Fathers explore many reasons, but most arrive at the conclusion that John did this not because he didn’t know Who Jesus was, but for the sake of his disciples, so that they would come to follow our Lord once John was killed by Herod. So this was a way of trying to point his disciples to Jesus and to encourage them to embrace this new change in their life of faith.

Jesus understood the reason John sent his disciples to Him. As a result, Jesus gave these disciples what they needed so as to come to believe themselves. He points them to the works that He has done as the Christ so that they would be able to interpret these works on their own and, thus, come to the newness of faith. Jesus points out that the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. Who could argue with such miraculous signs from Heaven? But Jesus goes even further and states something very subtle. He says, “And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” This line appears to be one way that Jesus gently reproached these disciples for what appears to be their own personal struggle with this change of spiritual leaders. Jesus identified a certain “offense” that they were dealing with. They were “offended” by the fact that Jesus was indeed increasing while John was decreasing.

In many ways, this is a common experience any time there is a change in our spiritual lives. When something is new, we often struggle with various aspects of the change and newness. But the Christian life is all about change, transformation and newness of life. And this is good. We must seek to change, be transformed, build better and new relationships, learn new ways of loving and reaching out, and become very comfortable with any and every new experience that our Lord places in our lives.

Reflect, today, upon any way that you have struggled with changes in your spiritual life. Oftentimes, those things we struggle with are actually glorious opportunities to live our Christian faith and charity on a new level. Seek out the changes God is calling you to embrace in your life and know that even if they are difficult, they are the surest pathway to a life of greater holiness for you.

PRAYER:-

Dear Lord, I know You call me to embrace the newness of life and the changes that I must endure so as to follow You more faithfully. Help me to be open to all that You call me to so that I will continually become a new creation in Your grace. Jesus, I trust in You.

Gospel 4.12.2022

Sunday, 4th December 2022

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:
all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.

John wore clothing made of camel’s hair
and had a leather belt around his waist.
His food was locusts and wild honey.
At that time Jerusalem, all Judea,
and the whole region around the Jordan
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves,
‘We have Abraham as our father.’
For I tell you,
God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees.
Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit
will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance,
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor
and gather his wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

REFLECTION

This was both a very intense and yet very holy encounter. It was intense in that Saint John the Baptist, who had become quite popular and respected and was considered a great prophet, spoke harshly toward the Pharisees and Sadducees. “You brood of vipers!” he says. This was not the way the Pharisees and Sadducees were normally spoken to.

John speaks this way because it was the truth. These religious leaders were not leading anyone closer to God. One only needs to ponder all that Jesus would eventually say to the Pharisees and Sadducees to understand what kind of people these religious leaders had become.

So this passage is certainly intense. But it is also very holy. It is holy because this “brood of vipers” needed to be chastised. They needed to be condemned and challenged. They needed to be humbled. And there is nothing more humbling than sincerely repenting of one’s sins in a public way.

Notice that John does not dismiss the leaders outright. Rather, he requires of them “evidence” of their repentance. Why? Because of the spiritual damage these men did to the people of Israel on account of their pride, self-righteousness, hypocrisy, love of public honors, condemnation of others, etc. They had so distorted the faith that the good of their souls required public repentance. It required that everyone see sincere good fruits flowing from their lives as a sign that they had changed. Though this is a tall order for the Pharisees and Sadducees, it’s the way to holiness for them.

The same is true for us. If you have allowed yourself to fall into some of the same traps as the Pharisees and Sadducees, then you, too, will greatly benefit from clear and humble public change. If you have struggled with self-righteousness, a critical tongue, a “holier than thou” attitude or a judgmental attitude toward others, then you might have great need for a humble and public repentance.

Reflect, today, upon the Pharisees and Sadducees. Try to understand their sin and the reason John called them a “brood of vipers.” If you see any of their pride and self-righteousness within your own soul, then listen to this exhortation from John the Baptist as if it were spoken to you directly. “Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.” Do this, and God will free you through the gift of true humility.

PRAYER:-

My humble Lord, You call all people to repentance with great humility and sincerity. Please help me to see my sin and to never shy away from facing it, so that You can free me from that filth and set me more firmly on the path to holiness. Jesus, I trust in You.

Gospel 27.11.2022

Sunday 27th November 2022

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Show us Lord, your love;
and grant us your salvation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In those days before the flood,
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be out in the field;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Therefore, stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
REFLECTION

Are you awake? Spiritually speaking? As we begin the liturgical season of Advent, we are given the future coming of the Son of God to ponder. As this passage goes on, Jesus says, “Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.”

By the “day your Lord will come,” we should understand three things. The first coming of Christ is obviously that which we most clearly ponder in Advent and Christmas. The unity of human nature with divine nature, in the Person of Jesus, is truly awe-inspiring. But that already took place long ago.

Thus, a second coming of Christ that we must continually ponder is His coming by grace, every moment of every day of our lives, once we have chosen to freely give our lives over to His service, for His glory, in accord with His will. When we live with such an interior disposition by which we seek His ongoing “coming” by grace, then we will find that we need to continually “stay awake!” If we do not, then we can be certain that we will miss countless opportunities to become more united to Christ every day and to be used as an instrument of that very grace for His service and glory. If we do not diligently build a habit of becoming attentive to every prompting of grace in our lives, then we will, unquestionably, begin to become “drowsy” and will fall asleep, spiritually speaking.

A wonderful measure of our daily attentiveness to the innumerable gifts of grace given to us every day is to also consider how attentive we are to the final and glorious coming of Christ at the end of time. Just as Jesus explains, most people will pay little attention to this final coming, presuming it will not even be in their lifetimes. But if you have that attitude, then you have completely missed the point. The point is preparedness—today, tomorrow and always. True preparedness for the final coming of Christ will not only help you enter the mysteries of these Advent and Christmas seasons by which we ponder the first coming of Christ, it will also help you form a habit of daily attentiveness to grace.

Reflect, today, upon how ready you are for the final coming of Christ at the end of time. Are you ready if Christ were to come today? If not, understand that a lack of preparedness for the final coming also means a lack of preparedness to celebrate His first coming at Christmas long ago, as well as His daily comings by grace. Prepare today. Do not wait. If you do, God will daily transform you in ways that are glorious beyond comprehension.

PRAYER:-

My ever-present Lord, You come to us, day and night, calling to us, leading us and offering to enter our lives. Please help me to always be attentive to You and to always open my heart fully to Your daily coming by grace. Jesus, I trust in You.

From Catholic Daily Reflections .com

Gospel and Reflection 20.11.2022

Sunday, 20th November 2022

Gospel

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said,
“He saved others, let him save himself
if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.”
Even the soldiers jeered at him.
As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
“If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.”
Above him there was an inscription that read,
“This is the King of the Jews.”

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,
“Are you not the Christ?
Save yourself and us.”
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
“Have you no fear of God,
for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,
but this man has done nothing criminal.”
Then he said,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him,
“Amen, I say to you,
today you will be with me in Paradise.”

REFLECTION

Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe!

This is the last Sunday of the Church year. Next Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent.

When we say Jesus is a king, we mean a few things.

1.  He is our Shepherd. As our Shepherd He desires to lead us as a loving father would. He wants to enter our lives personally, intimately and carefully, never imposing Himself but always offering Himself as our guide. The difficulty with this is that it’s very easy for us to reject this kind of kingship. He wants us to come to Him for everything and to become dependent upon Him always. But He will not impose this sort of kingship upon us. We must accept it freely and without reservation. Jesus will only govern our lives if we freely surrender ourselves over.

2 Jesus wishes for His Kingdom to begin to be established in our world. As King, He calls us to establish His Kingship by seeing to it that His truth and law is respected within civil society.  All civil law ultimately gains its authority from Christ alone since He is the one and only Universal King.

3. Many do not recognise Him as King, so what about them? Should we “impose” God’s law upon those who do not believe? The answer is both yes and no. First, there are some things we cannot impose. For example, we cannot force people to go to Mass each Sunday. This would hinder one’s freedom to enter into this precious gift. We know Jesus requires it of us for the good of our souls, but it must still be embraced freely. However, there are some things that we must “impose” upon others. The protection of the poor and vulnerable as examples must be “imposed.” The freedom to practice our faith openly (religious liberty) within any institution must be “imposed” also.  At the end of all time, Jesus will return to Earth in all His glory and He will then establish His permanent and unending Kingdom. At that time, all people will see God as He is. His law will become one with “civil” law. Every knee will bend before the great King and all will know the truth.  At that time, true justice will reign and every evil will be corrected.  What a glorious day that will be!

Finally, consider for a few moments, the second criminals words at the end of today’s Gospel reading. Read and read them again. Is this not the criminal humbly repenting – asking to be remembered in Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus replied:- “Today you will be with me in Paradise”. Are these not the words that we all want to hear.  Are these words not the ultimate goal of everything we do.

PRAYER:-

Most solemn Lord, You are the sovereign King of the Universe.  You are the Lord of all.  Come reign in my life and make my soul Your holy dwelling place.  Lord, come transform our world and make it a place of true peace and justice.  May Your Kingdom come!  Jesus, I trust in You.