A rusty old Ford had a bumper sticker on it that read: “If the Rapture happens to you can I have your car?” It was a humorous reminder that during the end and the beginning of the liturgical year we focus our attention on the last things: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Death, and Judgment.
The readings for the Feast of Christ the King remind us that Jesus is the Son of Man, he has “received dominion, glory and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.” (Daniel 7:14)
The central point, however, is not just that he is “the faithful witness, the first born of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5). The real essence of this feast and the point that should make us stop, reflect, and give thanks to God is “he has loved us and has freed us from our sins by his blood” (Rev. 1:5). Furthermore, he has made us “a kingdom of priests for his God and Father” (Rev. 1:6). Thus by his blood and because of his love for us he calls us to share in his glory by being faithful witnesses ourselves.
I find it interesting that we read the same gospel for this feast as we read on Good Friday. Christ came to bear witness to the truth. Pilate had the truth before him, yet he did not recognize truth in the person of Jesus. Jesus did not have the trappings of power one would normally associate with a ruler. He is not a king like the kings of the world. His is a witness to humility, to faith, to love and it seems only the humble, the poor, the handicapped and those committed to the truth can hear his voice. His is a kingdom that is found whenever his followers witness to the truth by their words and deeds.
The Catechism reminds us, “Before Pilate, Christ proclaims that ‘he has come into the world to bear witness to the truth’ (John 18:37). The Christian is not to ‘be ashamed then of testifying to the Lord’ (2 Tim. 1:8). In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St. Paul before his judges. We must keep a ‘clear conscience toward God and toward men’.” (Acts 24:6) (CCC 2471).
We celebrate Christ’s kingship today and our share in his Lordship. He came to witness to the truth. So also are we called to be missionaries in word and deed by our love and respect for him and for one another in His name. Are we willing to undergo the derision and persecution that may come from being faithful witnesses to Christ?
Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
November 25, 2012
The Feast of Christ the King
The feast of Jesus Christ the Universal King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and is observed on the last Sunday of the Roman Catholic Liturgical Year. It causes us to meditate on the Second and Final Coming of Christ, the last Judgment, and the end of the world.
From the dawn of civilization, kings have arisen who have dreamed of possessing a world-wide dominion, a universal kingdom that would last forever. Some have come close to conquering much of the known world–Alexander, Genghis Khan, Augustus Caesar, and Adolf Hitler, to name a few. And some kingdoms have lasted a very long time, such as Rome whose Eastern half lingered on for 2000 years.
Lord, you’ve done it again!
HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITYOF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST THE KING
A woman went on a parish pilgrimage to the Holy Land and one of the places they visited was the village of Cana where Jesus performed His first miracle changing water into wine. At the gift shop there, they sell a fine vintage of wine which they claim will be the best you’ve ever tasted. The woman bought several bottles to bring home as gifts for family and friends. At the end of the pilgrimage, she and her group were at the airport just about to head through security when the woman realized that she forgot to put the bottles in her checked luggage and instead had them in her carry-on. Thinking quickly, she took out a marker and labeled each of the bottles
The Feast of Christ the King Reveals the Truth in Irony
We approach the end of time, at least liturgically, by celebrating the solemn festival of Christ the King. This marks the end. Only in the end do we see Christ revealed in all of His glory as King. Only now does His reign begin, unmasked and unhidden, previously existing only in the hearts of His disciples.
When confronted by Pilate upon His arrest, Jesus responds to Pilate’s interrogations regarding His own divine authority by stating, ‘Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.’ To which Pilate retorts, ‘what is truth?’ (cf. Jn 18: 37-38.)
Is Christ the King of the angels, even in his humanity?
Solemnity of Christ the King
For in [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead corporeally. And you are filled in him, who is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2:9-10)
It is clear enough that, in his divinity, our Savior is head of both angels and men, for the reign of God extends to every creature. It was through the eternal Word that all things were made, and therefore we may well attribute divine authority and kingship to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
Pope: Faith is Reasonable, Leads to Joyful Life
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI continued his series of teachings on faith by examining how it is “reasonable and not in conflict with science.”
People from all over the world gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall on Nov. 21 to hear the Pope’s catechesis, which he delivers every Wednesday.
“The Catholic faith is reasonable and also nurtures trust in human reason,” he told the audience of thousands. “It’s crucial for people to open up to faith and know God and his plan of salvation in Jesus Christ.”
Faith or Works? A Different Approach
The debate between Catholics and Protestants over the relationship between faith and works, as it typically plays out, is a losing one for Catholics because it occurs on Protestant turf. The Protestant asserts that we are saved by faith, not works. The Catholic agrees: we cannot earn our own salvation, which is a free gift from God that comes from our faith in Christ.
But, the Catholic adds, we have to perform good works to cooperate with God’s gratuitous grace of salvation. After all, St. James tells us, “faith without works is dead.” (2:17) The Protestant responds that he also does good works and keeps the commandments because of his faith, but doing these things does not bring about salvation. Only faith in Christ saves.
“Isn’t That Just Vain Repetition?”A Former Evangelical Learns to Love the Rosary
I was brought up in a devout Protestant, Evangelical home in Pennsylvania. We weren’t exactly anti-Catholic, but we thought Catholics needed to “get saved.” After college in South Carolina, I moved to England and became an Anglican priest. It was my habit to make my annual retreat at the Benedictine Abbey of Quarr on the Isle of Wight. Just as I was about to leave for retreat, a parishioner gave me a rosary. She had just come back from a pilgrimage to the great Marian shrine of Walshingham, and she had felt led to buy me this gift. I had never used the rosary, and was prejudiced against it.
The Origin of Christianity
Today the concept of “Jewish Christians” may sound like a confusion of two religions. However, to understand the origin of Christianity, one must begin with the population of Jewish Christians who lived during Jesus’ lifetime. In the November/December 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Dead Sea Scrolls and early Christianity scholar Geza Vermes explores the origin of Christianity by examining the characteristics of the Jewish Jesus movement to see how it developed into a distinctly gentile religion.
The First True Thanksgiving in America Was a Mass!
A lot of us were mislead by our text books in grammar school. The first Thanksgiving actually took place in Florida in 1565. Michael Gannon, professor of history at the University of Florida, discovered that St. Augustine, the US’s oldest city, was the site of the first Thanksgiving. This first Thanksgiving took place 55 years before the Pilgrims landed, when the Spanish founder of St. Augustine, Pedro Menindez de Avilis, and 800 Spanish settlers shared in a Mass of Thanksgiving.
Advent’s Coming: Keep It Simple!
Advent is coming! I always feel a little silly saying that, because the word “advent” actually means “coming.” But that’s how life is when you’re In Charge of Stuff: you even have to plan about planning ahead. So, if you haven’t looked it up yet, the first Sunday in Advent is Dec. 2, which is less than two weeks away.
We do try to put off celebrating Christmas until it’s actually almost Christmas. I claim this is because it would be a violation of the integrity of the spirit of penance and preparation to behave as if Christmas has already arrived; but actually my main reason is that my fine young sons see decorations as a challenge.
Philosophy and the Immortality of the Human Soul: A Tool for the New Evangelization
The first pages of Scripture allude to the nature of the human soul when the inspired writer tells us that God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul,” and that man is made in the “image and likeness” of God. 1 It is apparent that the proper interpretation of these verses is important for understanding the nature of man and, consequently, what his dignity and destiny are. The “Theology of the Body” is a popular interpretation today, with its rich insight into the first few chapters of Genesis. But, surely there is also a pressing need for a “philosophy of soul,” shedding light on the same passages.
ANGELS: 18 Questions Ranging from “Are They Happy?” to “Do They Have Bodies?”
Q. 215. How may God’s creatures on earth be divided?
A. God’s creatures on earth may be divided into four classes:
Things that exist, as air;
Things that exist, grow and live, as plants and trees;
Things that exist, grow, live and feel, as animals;
Things that exist, grow, live, feel and understand, as man.
Q. 216. What are angels?
A. Angels are pure spirits without a body, created to adore and enjoy God in heaven.
The Wisdom of Upholding Tradition
The U.S. Supreme Court decides next week whether to hear challenges to laws defining marriage as the conjugal union of a man and a woman. It does so after two different electoral outcomes. In May, North Carolinians voted to amend their state constitution to protect the conjugal definition of marriage, a definition that 41 states retain. But on Nov. 6, voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington state endorsed a revisionist view of marriage as the union of any two adults.
How should the Supreme Court decide? How should voters?
I Love, Therefore I Am
Most of the time we think we know who we are. But do we, in fact, know in the full and profound sense who we are?
One text that is very important for the Orthodox understanding of the human person is Psalm 64:6 [LXX 63:7]: “The heart is deep.” That means the human person is a profound mystery. There are depths or if you would like, heights within myself of which I have very little understanding.
The Sacrament Of Friendship
God’s grace perfects rather than destroys nature because God is the Creator of nature and does not contradict himself when he redeems it.
Consequently, God is constantly taking ordinary human things and turning them into vehicles of supernatural grace.
Is it possible to be moral without believing in God?
I would venture to say that moral is pretty much all there is without God. To be moral requires that we have some understanding of the rules governing our behavior and a willingness to live by those rules. I have pondered many times why someone has rules if they don’t believe in God (though a culture without rules would be decidedly against anyone’s self-interest). I was intrigued last night by a small news story in which a study at Yale’s “Baby Lab,” demonstrated that even young infants have some sense of right and wrong. I do not find this in the least surprising though some might conclude (yet again) that we have a “God gene” and are biologically wired to be religious.
Keeping the Youth, from a Youth’s Perspective
Since I am a teenager, a member of the generation our Church needs to hold on to, I really think you ought to take this post seriously. In case you’re strapped for time, the argument is thus: Give ‘em Jesus or they’ll be even more likely to leave.
We need to keep the youth in our Church. Denying that is a bad idea. Accepting that youth will leave and expecting some conversion/reversion later in life is also a bad idea. Now, how are we going to do that?
The Quiet Men
Sometimes I wish everybody would just stop talking, or at the very least speak less.
I had the pleasure of watching the fabulous film “To Kill a Mockingbird” again. As I watched it, I found myself riveted by Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. Even though his character is a lawyer, other than in the courtroom, the man barely says a word. His silence is his strength, self-restraint his weapon.
He shot a rabid dog because he had to. It is only in action that his children find out that he is the best shot in the county for he never told them. He takes the abuse of spit in the face, but knows the abuse must be taken if he is to do good. Therefore, he takes it.
Dying man finds miracle in abandoned church
At various times in our lives many of us find ourselves searching.
That time came three years ago for Greg Thomas. “When I found out that I had cancer, they told my family to go ahead and start planning my funeral.”
Diagnosed with stage 4 head and neck cancer at the age of 57, then let go from his propane delivery job, Thomas began passing the hours on long walks from his home alone with his dog and his thoughts.
“It’s a nightmare you can’t wake up out of,” he recalls.