Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Thirty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Christ the King)

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

The Thirty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 20, 2016
2 Samuel 5:1-3; Psalm 122; 2 Colossians 1:12-20; Luke 23:35-43

            The feast of Christ the King was instituted a century ago to assert Christ’s authority over all types of political governance – a king whose reign will last forever, a king that does not belong to a political party, a king whose traits shine above every other political figure. In times of charged political discourse, we must remember to which king we belong. The tribes of Israel came to David to say,  “Here we are, your flesh and bone. We commit ourselves to your sovereignty.” Today, let’s make a stand and recommit to the values of our kingly Lord.

            The Gospel reveals a king that is crucified, a broken man that cannot represent forcefully against the powers of the world because his power comes through in non-worldly values. In the face of brutal worldly power, our king seems defenseless, but the power that comes out of his defeat vanquishes the forces of evil. Just who is this king?

            Our king is not a bully. He does not use force to get his way or seek his own gain. He does not manipulate words or make vulgar or derogatory statements to destroy the reputation of others. Christ never uses force because it is not in his nature. He uses words that encourage and build up other’s esteem and honor. He does not increase division among the races, which stokes prejudice and fear. He does not lump people into categories, but instead he builds bridges, not walls, between people because we have more in common with each other that unites us and builds up humanity. He will always come to the defense of the disabled, the immigrant, refugees, and displaced peoples. He wants people to invest in their own education so their hearts and minds are moved to correct the injustices inherent in our human-created institutions.

            Our king respects the challenges and blessings of gender and sexual orientation. He understands the complexities and hardships, which evokes great compassion and mercy. This king could never use words or actions to demean a person for whom society has put up enough struggles. Instead, he upholds and cherishes the differences that make us special to him. Our king is fair in all relationships and shows no partiality. He does not build deals that benefit one person or group over another, but he offers salvation to the repentant sinner. He cannot do anything but work for the economic and social justice for all. From our scripture, we know that our king justly paid unfair taxes and respected the government around him even though it oppressed him.

He promotes the sanctity of all life – the dying, prisoners, the deprived poor, the worker that receives an unjust living wage, the unborn, and he cannot support the death penalty. He defines life in broad terms because he knows words and actions can snuff the life and spirit out of many, thereby demoralizing them. Oppression and bullying are instances in the culture of death. Our king can support no such position. Instead, he finds any way to bring life and flourishing to fulfillment – despite the glass ceilings and other walls that the world puts around people. Supporting this culture of life is central to his way of proceeding. His way is inclusive and never focuses on a single aspect because depriving any aspect of the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness is antithetical to who he is.

Our King participates in our life. As he is the image of the invisible God; we are the image of the invisible Christ. As all was created through him, we are called to participate in his life-giving ministry creating goodness and goodwill wherever we go. We are called to fight against injustice so we can build a more just world. We have to walk in Christ’s light so that we do not adopt the ways of worldly powers and become the type of person we fight against. We are called to make our voices known and to take a stand for our king. The tribes of Israel said to David: We are the same flesh and blood, and then they committed to him. It means we may get hurt, but we know that he will reconcile all things by making peace by the blood of his cross. Our King was faithful and died for us. Are we ready to stand up for him? Even if we are not, he will stand up for us – always.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Revelation 14) Standing on Mount Zion were 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s written on their foreheads. They have been ransomed as the first fruits for God.
Tuesday: (Revelation 14) On a white cloud was one who looked like the Son of Man. He ordered the angels to use the sickle because the harvest had begun.
Wednesday: (Revelation 15) Seven angels with seen plagues were leashed. The beast had been defeated and the victors sang in praise.
Thursday: (Revelation 18) They will cry out, “Fallen. Fallen is Babylon, the great. At the end, a great multitude exclaimed, “Amen.”  
Friday (Revelation 20) The beast, the devil, was thrown into the abyss, which was locked and sealed so other nations could not be led astray. I saw the dead. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. I saw a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven.   
Saturday (Revelation 22) An angel showed me life-giving water and on either side of the water grew the tree of life, the medicine for nations. These words are trustworthy and true.

Monday: (Luke 21) Jesus saw some wealthy people dropping money into the treasury; then he saw a poor widow put in more than all the rest.
Tuesday: (Luke 21) What sign will there be for the end times to begin? Nations will rise against nations. Earthquakes, famines, plagues will occur everwhere.
Wednesday (Luke 21) They will persecute you and seize you; they will hand you over to synagogues and to prisons; they will lead you before kings and governors.
Thursday (Luke 21) There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed and dying of fright.
Friday (Luke 21) Consider the fig tree. When their buds burst open, you see summer is near. Learn to read the signs of the times. All these things will pass away, but my words remain.
Saturday (Luke 21) Do not become drowsy from carousing or drunkenness, for the day will catch you by surprise like a trap. Be vigilant and pray at all times.

Saints of the Week

November 21: The Presentation of Mary originated as a feast in 543 when the basilica of St. Mary's the New in Jerusalem was dedicated. The day commemorate the event when Mary's parent brought her to the Temple to dedicate her to God. The Roman church began to celebrate this feast in 1585.

November 22: Cecilia, martyr (2nd or 3rd century), is the patron saint of music because of the song she sang at her wedding. She died just days after her husband, Valerian, and his brother were beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to the gods. She is listed in the First Eucharistic prayer as an early church martyr.

November 23: Clement I, pope and martyr (d. 99) is also mentioned in the First Eucharistic prayer. He is the third pope and was martyred in exile. He is presumed to be a former slave in the imperial court. He wrote a letter to the Corinthians after a revolt and as pope he restored ordered within the ministries.   

November 23: Columban, abbot (d. 615) was an Irish monk who left Ireland for France with 12 companions to found a monastery as a base for preaching. They established 3 monasteries within 10 years. Columban opposed the king's polygamy and was expelled. He set up monasteries in Switzerland and Italy before he died. Though he was expelled, the monasteries were permitted to remain open.

November 23: Miguel Pro, S.J., martyr (1891-1927) lived in Guadalupe, Mexico before entering the Jesuits. Public worship was forbidden in Mexico so Miguel became an undercover priest often wearing disguises. He was arrested and ordered to be shot in front of a firing squad without benefit of a trial. Before he died she shouted out, "Long live Christ the King."

November 24: Andrew Dung-Lac and companion martyrs (1785-1839) were missionaries to Vietnam during the 17th through 19th centuries. Over 130,000 Christians were killed, including priests, sisters, brothers, and lay people. Many of these were Vietnamese citizens.

Fourth Thursday: Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. is derived from a mix of European and Native American traditions. Joyous festivals were held in Europe to give thanks for a good harvest and to rejoice with others for their hard work. It is a day to give thanks for the many blessings we have received through God's generosity throughout the year.

November 25: Catherine of Alexandria, martyr, (d. 310) is said to have been born in Egypt to a noble family. She was educated and converted to Christianity because of a vision. She refused to marry a man arranged to be her husband by the emperor, and she denounced him for persecuting Christians. She was arrested, tortured, and killed.

November 26: John Berchmans, S.J., religious (1599-1621), was a Jesuit scholastic who is the patron saint of altar servers. He was known for his pious adherence to the rules and for his obedience. He did well in studies, but was seized with a fever during his third year of philosophy and died at the age of 22.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Nov 20, 1864. In St Peter's, Rome, the beatification of Peter Canisius by Pope Pius IX.
·      Nov 21, 1759. At Livorno, the harbor officials refused to let the ship, S Bonaventura, with 120 exiled Portuguese Jesuits on board, cast anchor. Carvalho sent orders to the Governor of Rio de Janeiro to make a diligent search for the supposed wealth of the Jesuits.
·      Nov 22, 1633. The first band of missionaries consisting of five priests and one brother, embarked from England for Maryland. They were sent at the request of Lord Baltimore. The best known among them was Fr. Andrew White.
·      Nov 22, 1791: Georgetown Academy opened with one student, aged 12, who was the first student taught by the Jesuits in the United States.
·      Nov 23, 1545: Jeronimo de Nadal, whom Ignatius had known as a student at Paris, entered the Society. Later Nadal was instrumental in getting Ignatius to narrate his autobiography.
·      In 1927: the execution of Fr. Michael Augustine Pro, SJ, by leaders of the persecution of the Church in Mexico.
·      Nov 24, 1963: The death of John LaFarge, pioneer advocate of racial justice in the United States.
·      Nov 25, 1584: The Church of the Gesu, built in Rome for the Society by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, was solemnly consecrated.

·      Nov 26, 1678: In London the arrest and imprisonment of St Claude la Colombiere. He was released after five weeks and banished.