Sunday, November 21, 2021

Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe: Honor The King!

 Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe. What a glorious day. Jesus Christ is King of all (1 Cor 15:20-26, 28). The king of the universe. The very word "Christ" means "Anointed One, or King."


This solemnity was instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Quas Primas. The day was originally called the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the king.  In 1969, Blessed Pope Paul VI in the motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis revised the title as "Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe."

Priests in the Catholic Church wear white or golden color vestments to show the glory and joy behind the celebration.  Other Christian bodies such as the Protestant and Orthodox adopted the day and have their own ways of celebrating it.  All those Baptized shares in this Kingship of Christ (CCC 1241). This day which always falls on a Sunday is the last Sunday of the Liturgical calendar. The Sunday that follows is the First Sunday of Advent which starts a new Liturgical Year.  This is a reminder that Christ is the Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the end (Revelation 21:6).  Jesus ends the Liturgical calendar and begins it.  He was at the beginning of time and will judge all at the end of it as we will read in the Gospel at Mass.

READINGS: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112215.cfm

The first reading tells us of the 'Son of man' who is, of course, Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven (Luke 24:6-7, Matthew 8:20, ).  He was before the 'Ancient One' who is God the Father (Revelation 5:13, Revelation 4:2).  Everything was given to the Son: dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages (Matthew 28:1, 1 Corinthians 15:27).  Jesus is the King of the universe and is the Son of God the Father. Both along with the Holy Spirit are One Holy Trinity (John 10:30, John 15:26).  Each is distinct (Matthew 3:16-17).  They are not identical triplets.  This reading tells us how important Christ is. Though He is a 'Son of man' or has human flesh, He is still God. This is called the hypostatic union (John 1:14). Jesus is the Lord of all, believers and unbelievers, life and death, all things visible and invisible (Acts 10:36). No one is above Christ (Philippians 2:10). He is the Lord and indeed robed in majesty as the Psalm tells us.

The Lord is King. All things come from Him (John 1:3). His authority cannot be moved and His throne or His authority is of old (Isaiah 43:13). Jesus took on flesh at the incarnation to get back what is His, the world; humanity (John 3:16). We must trust in this King. He is not a King who is pompous and authoritative. He is a King of love and mercy (Ephesians 2:4).  A king of compassion and forgiveness.  He is a King who always was, as we read in the second reading.

Jesus is the firstborn of the dead. This means that He came back from the dead. He was born from the tomb, so to speak, showing that He is the Lord of the living and the dead (Romans 14:9). Jesus is the King of all kings.  We become part of His kingdom because of His love demonstrated on the Cross by the shedding of His blood for our sins, freeing us (Revelation 1:5).  We become priests, prophets and kings because of this, as I stated in the introduction citing the catechism of the Catholic Church. We now await Him as He returns anytime.  He will come amid the clouds (Mark 14:62).  All will see Him.  Those who believed in Him and those who did not believe in Him.  Atheists who lived life stubbornly rejecting God will finally get their 'empirical proof' of His existence but it will be too late at this point.  Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega.  There is no one else under whose name we are saved (Acts 4:12).

In the Gospel, we read a bit of the Passion. Pilate questions Jesus, "Are you the King of the Jews?" After an exchange of words, Jesus says, "You say I am a king.  For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."  The theme here is Jesus is the King. His kingdom is not of this world.  If it were, the people would have been there defending Him instead of calling for His death (Mark 15:13). Today, no one seems to want to stand up for Christ.  We let abortion become the law of the land. We let the so-called same-sex marriage become the law of the land.  We let a man dressed as a woman become 'woman of the year.'  We let erroneous ideas spread around the world. We let our own clergy abuse others.  We let division take hold in the Church forming into heretical sects who pick and choose what they want to believe; some even call themselves 'Catholic' while doing so.  We let people lose faith and become atheists or agnostics.  I can go on and on, but I think the point is made.  If we truly are part of Christ's kingdom, we would stand up for Him and defend the truth because we listened to His voice as He told Pilate (Hebrews 3:15). What is happening?  It seems our Catholic brothers and sisters do not care. They let evil win, attack the pope, bishops, and one another, and do not promote Christ when He is in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).  Today, Jesus is very much out of season. God is hated in today's world. Christians are mocked.  Though the Covid-19 coronavirus brought many to their knees, there is still a lot of lack of trust in God. I am afraid the Catholic Church aided in this by shutting parishes down and denying the faithful the Sacraments. It is no wonder why many do not believe in Christ's true presence in the Holy Eucharist which is now forcing the bishops to respond with a new document. 

I have become a target of some of them for reminding them that attacking the Popes and bishops causes scandal, especially among outsiders.  Others attacked me for criticizing the worship of cult personalities in the Church such as the disgraced priest, John Corapi.  What is going on?  I will tell you what is going on.  Satan causes division.  Satan is a liar; the father of lies (John 8:44). He is causing doubt, scandal, and division even among the flock of Christ in the Catholic Church (1 Peter 5:8).  We must not give him victory. We must stand with Christ the King, our King.  We must defend Him; His Majesty, who is witness to the truth because He IS the truth (John 14:6).  If we are truly Catholic, then we must testify to the truth and not be ashamed of it (Matthew 10:32). We must challenge the world's errors and not fight one another (Ephesians 6:12).

If Christ is truly your King, then do not turn your back to Him. Do not hide when the world roars at you with its nonsensical ramblings which it presents as 'reason' and 'progress.'  Do not give in to the world so as to avoid conflict or losing friends (Ephesians 5:11). Christ's kingdom is not of this world so we are not supposed to support the world's ideas (John 17:16). We will be hated because of Christ (Matthew 10:22). This is expected and we must not fear and run away (2 Timothy 1:7). Stand up and defend your King!  Do not be a lukewarm Catholic (Revelation 3:16).  Remember what Jesus said, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62).  Laudetur Christus Rex!

Sunday, November 14, 2021

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - The World Will End, His Word Remains Forever

 Please help me pay the bills for this site and to expand this work by donating at: www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus.  Your help is truly appreciated.  God will pay you back for helping spread His Word which will never pass.


Reflection
In today's readings, we are reminded of the end of time.

The first reading tells us of Michael, the great prince. NOT ME, but the archangel Michael :)

St. Michael is the guardian of the Catholic Church. He protects us from the wickedness and snares of the devil (Revelation 12:7-9).  Michael will appear during a time of distress in the world, the dead will rise and will join those who are "written in the book" or who are saved (Luke 10:20, Revelation 20:15).  Judgment will then follow. No one will escape this day (Luke 23:30, Revelation 6:16). It will be too late for atheists and others who live to this day rejecting God, including those who knew of Christ and the Catholic faith but refused to be part of both (Matthew 7:23).  However, we must not fear this day (Revelation 22:20).  If we live as we must live (in grace), do what is asked of us by Christ and His Church, we will be fine.  We will "shine brightly... like the stars forever" and prepare for the Lord who is our inheritance as the Psalm tells us.

God is indeed our inheritance. The reason why we are even catholic is that we want God. Being Catholic is not like being part of a social club or something of the like. Instead, being catholic is taking responsibility for our lives and the lives of others by trying our best to be holy and call others to holiness with love and not judgment (1 Peter 1:16).  God is whom we await especially as we approach Advent. We will be glad and will rejoice when we finally inherit God. For now, we encounter Him via the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist.

In the second reading, we read of the vain attempt of Jewish priests who offered sacrifices daily in atonement for sins but these sacrifices did nothing to remove them (Leviticus 21). Instead, the one and only priest, Jesus sacrificed Himself for all (Romans 3:25). He took His seat next to the Father and waits until all enemies become His footstool.  Jesus waits now until the day comes when He returns to judge the living and the dead.

The Gospel tells us of this day.  There will be great tribulation before it happens (Matthew 24:6). We saw these past few years how many strange things have been happening in the world. Huge storms, snow in places where there is not supposed to be any. Wildfires that burn without end. The Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic. I can go on and on.  These events add more emphasis to the Gospel in today's context. Jesus describes how the cosmos will change. The sun will go dark, the moon will not have light, the stars will fall from the sky (Isaiah 13:10; 34:4). These are metaphorical statements using the apocalyptic language of the time. The sun will go dark one day after it runs out of fuel. All scientists agree this will happen.  Naturally, without the sun, the moon will not have light to reflect on the Earth. Stars do not fall because they are light-years away, but the point is made: it will be a big event that alters the universe.  As a student of science, what comes to mind here is the universe collapsing on itself.  This would most definitely present itself as Jesus described. This of course is just my way of seeing it from a scientific standpoint and is not theological. Anyhow, Jesus will come in the clouds with His angels.  The 'elect' or those who fought the good fight and did not fail will be gathered (2 Timothy 4:7-8. Matthew 25:31-46).  Judgment will follow of course.  Jesus reminds us that this day will be noticeable to all via the signs just like a fig tree and its branch becomes tender and grows leaves indicating summer is near.

The Earth and Heaven will pass away, but Jesus makes it clear that His word will not pass away (Isaiah 40:8).  Jesus closes by stating something that many Protestant sects seem to ignore:  "But of that day or hour, no one knows."  If I had a dime for every time I heard a Pentecostal, Baptist, or Adventist preaching on the street about Christ coming at so and so time.  This is nonsense.  Jesus made it clear that no one knows exactly when.  Our job is not to play guessing games on this day, but to prepare for it (Hosea 10:12, Matthew 24:42-43, Matthew 25:1-13, 1 Corinthians 16:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:6).  We can only know when it is near. The Church teaches us what we must look for in the catechism in paragraphs 668-677. First Christ will reign through His Catholic Church which is happening now.  Next, all things must be subjected to Him, "The full inclusion of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of 'the full number of the Gentiles." After this happens, the Church will face her biggest trial ever when the Antichrist comes.  Let us be watchful, pray and be holy always.  No one knows when the day or hour will come. In the meantime, let us prepare by going in grace, love, and hope; and by calling others to it by inviting them to the Catholic faith not only with words but with our witness.  Wat day.  It can come at any time. e must be ready for that hour and day Jesus Christ returns soon and may He have mercy on us all!


Readings: Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Sunday, November 7, 2021

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Give Your 2 Cents

 Part of being Catholic Christians is that we must help one another in many ways especially giving. Next month I have to pay the bills for this domain and other services and I need your help. Like the widow today who gave what she had, I ask you to imitate her by helping me continue this work and expand it. Donate to my campaign at www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus.  God will see this and reward you for helping.  Thanks.


REFLECTION:
Today's readings remind us to be humble and simple. What the poor gives is greater than what the rich can ever offer.

In the first reading, we read of Elijah the great prophet. He enters Zarephath and runs into a widow. He calls out to her to bring him some water and bread.  She quickly goes to get him some. However, she does not have enough flour and oil to make bread.  She was saving it for her son and herself. The writer emphasizes this because of the culture. Women at the time were not allowed to have property or work. Some cultures in today's world still have this way of living. The fact that this woman was a widow and that she had a little flour and oil for her son and herself shows her struggle after losing her husband.  The husband was the 'breadwinner.'  However, with his absence, she has no source of income or wealth to care for herself or her son.  Despite knowing this, Elijah still insists on the bread.  However, he tells her,  "Do not be afraid. Go and do as you propose.  But first, make me a little cake and bring it to me. Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son. For the LORD, the God of Israel, says,'The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'" This widow immediately did as Elijah instructed without question. Because of her faith, she had enough to feed herself and her son for a year.  God took care of her (Psalm 68:5).  This connects to the Gospel and shows us why we must trust God and praise Him as the Psalm today calls for.

God keeps faith forever.  What does this mean?  It means that He is always there for us (1 Corinthians 1:9). He will not abandon us.  God is just and protects the oppressed like the widow we read of in the first reading (Deuteronomy 10:18).  God cares for all, the blind, the dead, those who are humiliated.  He loves the just and is there to protect the stranger.  As we read, He protects and sustains the widow and stops the wicked.  We must praise God and thank Him always (Psalm 106:1).  We are in the month of November which in the United States of America is dedicated to giving thanks to God on Thanksgiving Day.  However, we must thank God all the time. Luckily, we have Jesus Christ who is our connection to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as we read in the second reading.

Jesus is God.  He is also our high priest who plead for us and sacrificed Himself for us (Hebrews 4:14-16).  The reading tells us that Jesus "did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one." This is in reference to the temple built by Herod which was a copy of the Temple of Solomon (John 2:20). Moreover, the verse reminds us that temples, synagogues, churches are just buildings made by human hands. It is God who blesses them and gives them importance via His presence (Ezekiel 10, 2 Chronicles 5:14). A Catholic church building may be beautiful with ornate decorations, images, etc; however, it is useless without the Holy Eucharist; the presence of Christ Himself (1 Corinthians 10:16)! This reading reminds us that Christ is with us.  He suffered for us and died once for us (Hebrews 9:28, 1 Peter 3:18).  The reading also reminds us that human beings die once and are judged. We do not reincarnate nor do we become angels.  Human beings are conceived, live, and die.  They remain human entities.

As an atheist studying reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism, the idea did not register logically to me. If we come back over and over in order to reach perfection, then which personality actually reaches perfection?  Moreover, how can a soul reach perfection if it starts a new life with new experiences and does not have knowledge of mistakes in "past lives?"  These are just some of the problems I saw with the idea of reincarnation. The Christian idea of dying once and facing God after death made more sense. This is why we must take advantage of this one life that we have and do our best.  We must live each day as if it were our last, as the saying goes (Ecclesiastes 9:1-12).  A video game comes to mind in this regard. In video games such as PacMan or Super Mario Bros, the character has a set of lives. The more the lives, the more careless a player playing the game is. However, if his or her character has only one life left in the game, then he or she will be more careful so as to not lose the game. We should have a similar mentality in life.  We only have one, so we must make the best of it by avoiding sin and 'losing' our life by condemning ourselves to hell or permanent separation from God.  Our lives must be humble, doing small things with lots of love as Blessed  Mother Teresa said.  We see this in the Gospel which connects with the first reading.


In the Gospel, we read that Jesus is teaching the crowds.  He warns the people saying, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation."  This verse is unfortunately used to attack priests and Catholics who pray the Rosary. However, Jesus was clearly speaking about the scribes and Pharisees. He was making a point that these people dressed the part and did the prayers but out of vanity, not for the real reason (Matthew 6:5). However, this does not mean that some of us in the Church does not do similar things.  Many times there may be priests who celebrate Mass simply as a ritual that needs to be done. They focus on the wording more than the spirit of the wording. Vestments become things that 'dignify' the priest instead of representing the high priest Christ.

Some laypeople may pray Rosaries without even focusing on what they are saying.  All that is heard is a mumbling of words without any substance behind them. We must not be like this. A priest should say Mass recalling what it really is.  He must use vestments not to look 'pretty,' but to remind himself and the people who He represents. This is why Pope Francis has made it a mission to tone down the ornate decorum. We cannot be in a Church thinking we are royals that deserve praise and veneration from the world.  Moreover, when we pray Rosaries, chaplets, litanies, etc, we must really think about what we are saying (Matthew 6:5-15). The Rosary is the life of Christ and Mary.  It is not an incantation that we recite mindlessly.  In light of this, we must be sincere. Jesus reminds us in the Gospel that we must be like the poor widow who had little (2 mites - Lepton) but gave a lot.  These mites were worth about half a penny which is a cent.  Some tend to believe the phrase, "Putting my 2 cents in" comes from the story of the widow.  A rich person can give 10 dollars out of his or her $1 million dollar salary to charity thinking it was a big deal, but in reality, it is not.  In contrast, a poor man or woman who gives 2 quarters he or she got from begging to charity and he or she gave a lot because it was all he or she had.  God sees this and puts more value on this giving because the person gave all he or she had, showing that he or she is detached from material wealth and trusts in God.  The Gospel reminds us that the lowly widow's actions trump that of the hypocritical religious person. Let us be like the widow and give to others even when we have little. Let us be humble like she was practicing true and sincere religion that trusts in God and does not seek to promote the self.  During this pandemic of the Covid-19 Coronavirus, many stepped up to help others by donating food and volunterring. Let us continue to do this and reach out to those in need whether there is a pandemic or not.  May Jesus be praised.


Readings:  Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

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