Church of the Visitation
Christ the King.
This weekend is a special one. No, not the weekend of "Black Friday" and the craziness that accompanies it; instead, this is the weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe.
It may surprise some to learn that "Jesus Christ" is
a first name-last name combination. In fact, Jesus was probably known better by his peers as something like "Jesus bar- [son of] Joseph" and by strangers as "Jesus of Nazareth". No, "Christ" is not a name so much as it is a title: from the Greek
which in Latin is rendered as
it is also derived from the Hebrew
which means "anointed". So we call Jesus the Anointed One, the Messiah - one of his many titles, another which is "King of the Universe".
As the last weekend of the liturgical year - the new year for the Church begins not on January 1st but on the first Sunday of Advent some weeks before - we are called to renew our loyalty to King Jesus our Savior, and for his sake renew our intention of loving our neighbor. This is shown through the
readings for the Mass this weekend
portraying Jesus, not as a king, but as a shepherd. The shepherd-theme in the first reading (
) and of the Responsorial Psalm (the very well-known
) serves both as a motive for our trusting in God’s care for us and to call us to be, each in our own way, co-workers with that great Shepherd of our souls. In the
Gospel reading from Matthew
we are shown that there is a consequence in deliberately choosing not to follow the Shepherd-King through our actions: either succeeding or failing to love our Lord through loving others.
A relatively new feast, instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925, it is a direct response to many modes of thinking that have been pervading modern culture: rejecting the existence of God (atheism), attempts to exclude the input of the clergy in public discussions (anticlericalism), attempts to remove the influence of God in the formulation of laws, public policy, healthcare, or education (laicism), and the attempt on the part of individuals, families, groups, and nations to live and act as if God didn’t exist, and that His laws should be replaced by human or man-made laws (secularism).
The driving force of this feast and the ultimate return of Jesus as King is found in the
Catechism of the Catholic Church
"Since the Ascension Christ's coming in glory has been imminent, even though 'it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.' This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are 'delayed'.
The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by 'all Israel', for 'a hardening has come upon part of Israel' in their 'unbelief' toward Jesus. St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: 'Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.' St. Paul echoes him: 'For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?' The 'full inclusion' of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of 'the full number of the Gentiles', will enable the People of God to achieve 'the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ', in which God may be all in all (
Bishop David O'Connell has expressed the meaning of this feast so well in his recent message for the weekend: "The Kingdom of God presumes a king. For us as Catholics, that King is the Lord Jesus Christ. Do we think of him the way that Gospel presents, as a judge of our actions, or do we prefer the image of the loving shepherd? The fact of the matter is that we aren’t that familiar with either kings or shepherds. What we are familiar with is authority – and both king and shepherd exercise it. The solemn feast of Christ the King is not an either/or proposition ... it is a both/and part of our faith. The authority of Christ the King is both the loving mercy and care of a shepherd watching over his sheep as well as the judgment that moves them in the right direction. Jesus Christ is that kind of shepherd and that kind of king. And his authority can best be experienced by following his loving example: meeting the needs of one another in love, charity and mercy" (
11/24/17 found at
As we reflect upon this feast and upon the closing of the
Year of Grace
2017, may Jesus Christ - our Lord and King - always exercise his kingship in our hearts and help us to overcome the temptations that threaten to tear us from his benevolent grasp!
He is our king. He desires ardently to rule our hearts, because we are children of God. But we should not try to imagine a human sort of rule — Christ does not dominate or seek to impose himself, because he “has not come to be served but to serve."
Saint Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei
Our FORMED Recommendation for the Week
Movie (1:30 -
This extraordinary film explores the heroic life of a remarkable, modern-day mystic, Father Solanus Casey, who was relegated to doing little more than being a simple doorman in his monastery. But God would transform the role his superiors assigned him, appointing it a far greater significance to be continued even beyond his earthly life: that of prophet, healer, and intercessor. Known as a wonder-worker and a powerful instrument of divine healing and hope, he touched countless lives. His untiring attention to the sick and poor, combined with his prayers, wise counsel, and burning faith brought an unprecedented outpouring of grief at his death in 1957. More than twenty thousand people attended the funeral of this selfless American-born priest. A gripping story of this priest's simple and unshakable faith in God's goodness unfolds through interviews with his friends, colleagues, eyewitnesses, biographers, and direct recipients of his healing and prophecy. Rare, never-before-seen film footage and historical photographs are included with actual footage from the exhumation of this exemplary Servant of God.
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Sent by Fr. Ed Blanchett on Friday, November 24 at 3:58PM