Monthly Archives: November 2013

Year C – Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe – Thirty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time – November 24, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

2 Samuel 5:1-3; Psalm 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5 (R/. cf. 1); Colossians 1:12-20; Mark 11:19, 10; Luke 23:35-43

The image of a shepherd became linked to the role of the king in the Old Testament.  David, the youngest son of Jesse, who tended sheep, exalted the Lord through his harp music, and slew Goliath, was destined to become king of Israel.  The leaders of Israel came to David and asked him to shepherd them as king, fulfilling what the Lord had said to David, “You shall shepherd my people Israel and be commander of Israel.”

The life of David foreshadowed the life of Christ:  Bethlehem is the birthplace of both; the shepherd life of David prefigures Christ, the Good Shepherd; the five stones chosen to slay Goliath are typical of the five wounds of Christ; the betrayal by his trusted counselor, Achitophel, and the passage over the Cedron remind us of Christ’s Sacred Passion; finally, many of the Davidic Psalms, as we learn from the New Testament, are clearly typical of the Messiah.  Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe is not an earthly king though.  His crown is a crown of thorns, his royal purple robes are draped over his beaten body in mockery, his throne is a cross, and the only jewels he has are the nails that pierce his hands and feet.  They hang a sign on the cross above his head that says, “Iēsus Nazarēnus, Rēx Iūdaeōrum,” (“Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”)  It is through this unearthly image of a king that he shepherds human souls into his kingdom.

Jesus picked up the image of the Good Shepherd in his preaching to human souls and carried it out in his actions as he sought to shepherd his flock into the kingdom, searching out the blind and the deaf, the lame and the sick, the possessed and the grief-stricken.  He became the king of the poor, the weak, and the suffering.  He is our king.  He is not just the king of a nation, or even of the world; he is king of the entire universe.  He is a king so powerful and feared that Herod tried to kill him as a defenseless newborn baby.  He is so powerful that he may shepherd those most astray back to the flock, no matter how far they have gone or how long they have been away.  He gives hope to those most in need and ushers them into his everlasting kingdom.  A kingdom, as he told Pilate, which is not of this world.  He ushers all in like sheep with wool, white and pure.

Even from the cross, Jesus seeks and saves the lost.  Over the heckling of the crowd and the verbal abuse of one of his crucified companions, Jesus responds to the faith of the nameless thief on his other side.  (Tradition calls him Dismas.)  Through his confession, repentance, and spiritual act of mercy by admonishing the sinner, Jesus absolves the criminal, promising him Paradise that day.  Dismas secures his salvation, becoming the first saint of the Church, through his longing for the kingdom and exaltation of Christ as God and King of the Universe.  Even as Jesus is laying down his life for his sheep, he is also carrying one on his shoulders into the kingdom.

How does it help you to see Christ the king as Jesus the shepherd, leading us to green pastures where he feeds us, gives us rest, and finally leads us through the dark valley of death into the kingdom of light and life?

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The whole concept of “Dark Age” is increasingly rejected by scholars

“Far from being a stagnant dark age, the period from 1000 to 1500 AD actually saw the most impressive flowering of scientific inquiry and discovery since the time of the ancient Greeks, far eclipsing the Roman and Hellenic Eras in every respect. With Occam and Duns Scotus taking the critical approach to Aristotle further than Aquinas’ more cautious approach, the way was open for the Medieval scientists of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries to question, examine, and test the perspectives the translators of the Twelfth Century had given them, with remarkable effects”

In this article atheist blogger and founder of “Atheist Foundation” and the “Australian Skeptics” Tim O’Neill Master of Arts in Medieval Literature , is correcting a pseudo-historical misunderstanding called – “dark age”.

http://www.strangenotions.com/gods-philosophers/

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Year C – Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – November 17, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Malachi 3:19-20a; Psalm 98:5-6, 7-8, 9 (R/. cf. 9); 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12; Luke 21:28; Luke 21:5-19

As the end of the liturgical year approaches, the readings call our attention to the “end time,” that “Day of the Lord,” referred to by both Old Testament prophets and most New Testament writings.  Throughout history, groups have predicted the end time was right around the corner.  In our own day, such dates have come and gone.  And we are still here!  Most recently, we all survived the supposed Mayan Apocalypse of December 21, 2012.

It may be more helpful to live aware that, while we do not know when the end of the world will come, we do know that one day we will face our own end, dying to this life as we know it.  We can take comfort in Jesus’ final words today, “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”  For, if we persevere in faith, hope, and love, and if we strive to bring justice, mercy, forgiveness, and peace into our world, whenever the Day of the Lord comes, we will be counted among the just and experience it as the arrival of “the sun of justice with its healing rays.”  In the meantime, as Paul advises, go about your lives, working quietly to bring about the kingdom of God even now.

How does life’s eventual end influence your days?

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Typhoon Haiyan: Help The Philippines Survive and Recover

Donate here:

https://secure.crs.org/site/Donation2?df_id=6140&6140.donation=form1

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Year C – Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – November 10, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14; Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15; 2 Thessalonians 2:16 – 3:5; Revelation 1:5a, 6b; Luke 20:27-38 or 20:27, 34-38

Belief in the resurrection of the body comes late in the Old Testament.  This was an issue that was widely debated in Jesus’ time.  The Sadducees, a group of Jewish fundamentalists, did not accept the scriptural books of Maccabees, Tobit, or Wisdom, all of which address the resurrection of the body and life after death, concepts in which the Sadducees also did not accept as they were not mentioned explicitly in the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, what we call the Pentateuch.  We hear of the resurrection of the body in today’s first reading.

Jesus himself is tested by the Sadducees because the resurrection of the body was not explicitly mentioned in the Torah.  Their improbably story intends to show the incompatibility of bodily resurrection with the Torah.  To whom would a seven-times-married woman be married at the resurrection?  Anyone present at this encounter or hearing this story at the time would have understood the sarcasm of this question.  The question of a seven-times-married woman clearly alluded to the scriptural passage of Tobit 3:8, in which a woman had been married seven times, but a demon killed each of her husbands.  The Sadducees meant to not only trap Jesus in a hypothetical challenge; they also wanted to poke fun at Jesus’ and his followers’ profession of this book.  This should sound familiar, as some Christians also do not accept this book today.  Jesus and his followers, however, clearly did.  There are other instances in the Gospels in which belief in the resurrection of the body and an afterlife are evident, i.e. Mark 9:2-8, John 11:24.  In addition, Acts 23:8 clearly shows the faulty lack of belief from the Sadducees.

Jesus says two things in response to the Sadducees’ indignant challenge.  First, what happens in the next life is going to be different.  In the life to come, we will be transformed like the Risen Christ.  Looking forward to this eternal life in heaven fills us with the joyful trust and hope in life with Christ.  Second, Jesus turns to the Torah itself, noting how Moses speaks there of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God of the living, not of the dead (Exodus 3:6, 15, 16).  In God all are alive.  With the resurrection, we have hope we will live on through eternity.  If we are living as Christ calls us to live, we need not fear death, for we will live on through Christ.

The Church carries on with this teaching in her Sacraments; all of the Church’s Sacraments are for the living.  Anointing of the Sick prepares the dying for a good death so that they may reconcile with God and live eternally.  Anointing is a sacrament for the living, not the dead; what the Church has for the dead is the “Christian Funeral Rite.”

Life after death awaits those who find delight in keeping the commandments of God like the seven brothers in the first reading.  They made the statement, “We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors.”  We too hope in the resurrection to help us reject sin, knowing that without fidelity no one shall enjoy the life after death with God in heaven (Revelation 21:27).

Do you live in fear of death like the Sadducees and others today?  Or do you live according to the teachings of Christ, the Sacraments, and the resurrection of the body?  What do we need to change?  What can we do better?

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Year C – Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time – November 3, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Wisdom 11:22 – 12:2; Psalm 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13, 14 (R/. cf. 1); 2 Thessalonians 1:11 – 2:2; John 3:16; Luke 19:1-10

One may say Zacchaeus was ripe for the picking because that is what Jesus did.  The man was up a tree and was plucked like a ripe apple to satisfy God’s hunger for lost souls.  As the head tax collector hence a collaborator with Rome, Zacchaeus would have been hated by most people.  Any crowd would have been a dangerous place, so being short was not the only reason he climbed a sycamore tree.  But the one who went up came down a different person.

Notice that Jesus asked nothing of Zacchaeus, other than inviting himself to his house, but the little man grew that day.  Was it the way Jesus greeted him so urgently saying, “Come down quickly for today I must stay at your house?”  Or did the grumbling reaction of the crowd influence him?  In any case, Zacchaeus was quickly transformed into a generous and repentant man.  Salvation did indeed come to his house in the person of Jesus.  New life flowed into and out of his heart.  In Jesus, who came to seek and save, Zacchaeus knew God as the “Lord and lover of souls” (Wisdom 11:26).

How have you accepted Jesus’ request to come to your home?

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Year C – The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls Day) – Dies irae – November 2, 2013

purgatory

Dies irae

Latin and English poetic translation

Dies iræ! Dies illa Day of wrath and doom impending,
Solvet sæclum in favilla: David’s word with Sibyl’s blending,
Teste David cum Sibylla! Heaven and earth in ashes ending!

Quantus tremor est futurus, Oh, what fear man’s bosom rendeth,
Quando iudex est venturus, When from heaven the Judge descendeth,
Cuncta stricte discussurus! On whose sentence all dependeth.

Tuba mirum spargens sonum Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth;
Per sepulchra regionum, Through earth’s sepulchres it ringeth;
Coget omnes ante thronum. All before the throne it bringeth.

Mors stupebit, et natura, Death is struck, and nature quaking,
Cum resurget creatura, All creation is awaking,
Iudicanti responsura. To its Judge an answer making.

Liber scriptus proferetur, Lo! the book, exactly worded,
In quo totum continetur, Wherein all hath been recorded:
Unde mundus iudicetur. Thence shall judgment be awarded.

Iudex ergo cum sedebit, When the Judge his seat attaineth,
Quidquid latet, apparebit: And each hidden deed arraigneth,
Nil inultum remanebit. Nothing unavenged remaineth.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? What shall I, frail man, be pleading?
Quem patronum rogaturus, Who for me be interceding,
Cum vix iustus sit securus? When the just are mercy needing?

Rex tremendæ maiestatis, King of Majesty tremendous,
Qui salvandos salvas gratis, Who dost free salvation send us,
Salva me, fons pietatis. Fount of pity, then befriend us!

Recordare, Iesu pie, Think, kind Jesu! -my salvation
Quod sum causa tuæ viæ: Caused thy wondrous Incarnation;
Ne me perdas illa die. Leave me not to reprobation!

Quærens me, sedisti lassus: Faint and weary, thou hast sought me,
Redemisti Crucem passus: On the Cross of suffering bought me.
Tantus labor non sit cassus. Shall such grace be vainly brought me?

Iuste iudex ultionis, Righteous Judge! for sin’s pollution
Donum fac remissionis Grant Thy gift of absolution,
Ante diem rationis. Ere the day of retribution.

Ingemisco, tamquam reus: Guilty, now I pour my moaning,
Culpa rubet vultus meus: All my shame with anguish owning;
Supplicanti parce, Deus. Spare, O God, thy suppliant groaning!

Qui Mariam absolvisti, Through the sinful woman shriven,
Et latronem exaudisti, Through the dying thief forgiven,
Mihi quoque spem dedisti. Thou to me a hope hast given.

Preces meæ non sunt dignæ: Worthless are my prayers and sighing,
Sed tu bonus fac benigne, Yet, good Lord, in grace complying,
Ne perenni cremer igne. Rescue me from fires undying!

Inter oves locum præsta, With Thy sheep a place provide me,
Et ab hædis me sequestra, From the goats afar divide me,
Statuens in parte dextra. To Thy right hand do thou guide me.

Confutatis maledictis, While the wicked are confounded,
Flammis acribus addictis: Doomed to flames of woe unbounded
Voca me cum benedictis. Call me with thy saints surrounded.

Oro supplex et acclinis, Low I kneel, with heart submission,
Cor contritum quasi cinis: See, like ashes, my contrition;
Gere curam mei finis. Help me in my last condition.

Lacrimosa dies illa, Ah! that day of tears and mourning!
qua resurget ex favilla From the dust of earth returning
Iudicandus homo reus. Man for judgment must prepare him;
Huic ergo parce, Deus: Spare, O God, in mercy spare him!

Pie Iesu Domine, Lord, all-pitying, Jesus blest,
dona eis requiem. Grant them thine eternal rest.

 

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Year C – Solemnity of All Saints – November 1, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14; Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6 (R/. cf. 6); 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 11:28; Matthew 5:1-12a

In a healthy parish, individuals work together as one community for the good of all.  This power is rooted in the love God poured into our hearts to pour out into the world.  All Saints Day celebrates this power that entered into the world through the dying and rising of Christ, a power manifested especially in those drawn into the one body of Christ through baptism.  More broadly, this power enters the world whenever men and women are poor in spirit, mourn the world’s sorrows, are meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, show mercy, are pure of heart, peacemakers, and withstand persecution for the sake of living in right relationship with God, others, and the world.  They not only will enter heaven; they bring it into the world now.  These are the saints.

Who are the saints who have touched your life?

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