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Wednesday, November 16, 2022

The Texture of Our Hope: Christ the King

                                                The Texture of Our Hope

Christ the King

November 20, 2022

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2 Samuel 5:1-3; Psalm 122; Colossians 1:12-20; Luke 23:35-43


          We celebrate the last Sunday in our church year that puts us in touch with the last things and eternal life. We look at endings, the ending of our world, the summation of creation, the final judgment of our moral lives, and the natural end to our individual lives, but we look at these through the texture of hope. Hope leads us into the future. Hope allows us to move beyond looking at our past failings and present inadequacies, as it launches us forward into God’s realm of creation. Hope is inseparable from faith in God, and we believe life will end with great meaning and goodness. Hope is what we celebrate in this feast today.


          We have many questions about what happens after death and what eternal life looks like and who is able to inherit eternal life. Death is a universal human event. It is an interruption we all face, though in some ways, we don’t believe it is possible. Karl Rahner, a German Jesuit wrote, “Death is the supreme expression of the inability of humans and human planning to secure the fulfillment of history.” No matter what we plan, no matter how we try, we cannot escape death. We have to reconcile with it, and that is the purpose of this Sunday’s readings. 


          The death of Jesus shows us his radical trust in God’s life-giving love. Though he died violently and at the hands of human propensity for violence, his death refused to grant injustice the last word. It assures us that we will not become victims of someone else’s sinfulness in the eyes of God. We will not be defined by someone else’s actions against us, their sins against us. We will not be defined by the bad treatment by others because God knows more than we see. God will do more to bring us relief. We will know God’s desire to bring about new life that goes beyond the grave. God’s love is resolute.


          What do we know about the kingdom to which we belong? It is one of paradox. God’s kingdom exists, not in human power or strength, but in our powerlessness. It is in our most human moments of vulnerability that we will find God. God’s kingdom exists, not in wealth, but in poverty, and we see this poverty as we near death. We see the kingdom when we are able to love while in desolation, when we experience fulness and abundance in our emptiness, and when we experience life in death. When we Christians talk about death, we talk about life. 


          With this kingdom in mind, what is required of us? Jesus showed us the example of total trust in God’s commitment to humanity. We are to learn to trust God in our small details of life so we may build larger trust later on. In the resurrection of Jesus, God revealed his steadfast faithfulness in creative ways to love. God revealed his own trustworthiness with the promise that God will be as creative with us and he was with Jesus. We will be alive to God through God’s creative love and commitment to us, and we will be united with those we love who have gone before us. 


          This feast gives us hope, hope to persevere in trusting God, hope in God’s steadfast commitment to us, hope that is a freedom from fear. This hope seeks to put in action God’s love for the world. This hope is freedom for love that expresses itself in compassion, justice, openness to forgiveness and reconciliation, and a heart that grows in generosity. Hope gives us the courage to commit ourselves to the incomprehensibility of God’s kingdom, here and now, and for our place within it for all eternity. Our hope today is our prayer. My friends, I’m glad to be on this journey of hope with you to this everlasting kingdom and friendship with God. 


Scripture for Daily Mass


First Reading: 


Monday: (Revelation 14) The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. They were singing what seemed to be a new hymn before the throne, before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn this hymn except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been ransomed from the earth.


Tuesday: (Revelation 14) “Use your sharp sickle and cut the clusters from the earth’s vines, for its grapes are ripe.” So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and cut the earth’s vintage. He threw it into the great wine press of God’s fury.


Wednesday: (Revelation 15) Great and wonderful are your works, Lord God almighty. Just and true are your ways, O king of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, or glorify your name? For you alone are holy.


Thursday: (Sirach 50) And now, bless the God of all, who has done wondrous things on earth; Who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb, and fashions them according to his will! May he grant you joy of heart and may peace abide among you; May his goodness toward us endure in Israel to deliver us in our days.


Friday (Revelation 20) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.


Saturday (Revelation 22) An angel showed me the river of life-giving water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the street, On either side of the river grew the tree of life.




Monday: (Luke 21) He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”


Tuesday: (Luke 21) Then they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” He answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them! 


Wednesday (Luke 21) It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.


Thursday (Luke 17) They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”


Friday (Luke 21) Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near.


Saturday (Luke 21) Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.


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


  • November 20, 1864. In St Peter's, Rome, the beatification of Peter Canisius by Pope Pius IX. 
  • November 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. 
  • November 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. 
  • November 22, 1791: Georgetown Academy opened with one student, aged 12, who was the first student taught by the Jesuits in the United States. 
  • November 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. 
  • November 24, 1963: The death of John LaFarge, pioneer advocate of racial justice in the United States. 
  • November 25, 1584: The Church of the Gesu, built in Rome for the Society by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, was solemnly consecrated. 
  • November 26, 1678: In London the arrest and imprisonment of St Claude la Colombiere. He was released after five weeks and banished.

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