Dear Parishioners: We celebrate this Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King. It was added to the Church Calendar by Pope Pius XI in 1925. He created this feast as a reaction against the prevailing attitudes of his day as a way to refute the growing threats of communism and secularism. These ideologies sought to make man, not God, the most powerful force in the world. Within a few years, of course, the world would have to also face totalitarianism and the rise of Nazism.
In our contemporary world those threats have been replaced by others that tend to marginalize God with increased secularism, growing materialism and rising moral relativism. Today this feast still stands in defiance of our culture and also as a challenge to Catholics. This great feast of Christ the King asks each of us: “Who and what really rules our lives?”
Letting Christ the King rule our lives means that we need to have a strong desire to strive for holiness and a strong intention to do God’s will in all things. In everything that we are, and in everything that we do. Not only God’s will for our individual lives but we are also to dedicate ourselves to carrying out Christ’s intentions for our world. Are we bringing to the world, the truth and beauty of God’s Kingdom? We do this by making Jesus the King of our hearts and homes, the King of our families and our friendships. We do this through the way we choose to live, by sharing our Catholic faith and understanding the teachings of the Gospel and our Church. Let us ask for the grace to live our faith joyfully and lovingly each day.
With this Solemnity of Christ the King we end the Liturgical Church Year. Next Sunday we begin the Season of Advent and a new Church Year. As we ponder this week how Christ rules our lives, Advent gives us an opportunity to pray, reflect and prepare ourselves. The Church teaches that: “Advent has a two-fold character, for it is a time of preparation for the Solemnities of Christmas, in which the First Coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered and likewise a time when, by remembrance of this, minds and hearts are led to look forward to Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time. For these two reasons, Advent is a period of devout and expectant delight.”
Advent’s arrival means we begin to wear purple vestments instead of the green vestments worn for ordinary time. We spend the weeks before Christmas prayerfully preparing a place for Christ in our lives, our hearts and our homes. Christ the King reminds us not to be taken in by the crass commercialism and swept up in unbridled materialism that has become Christmas in our world today.
Pope Francis in his homily for the Jubilee of Mercy Mass last Sunday reminds us with his timely wisdom: “Let us open our eyes to our neighbor, especially to our brothers and sisters who are forgotten and excluded, to the “Lazarus” at our door. That is where the Church’s magnifying glass is pointed. May the Lord free us from turning it towards ourselves. May he turn us away from the trappings that distract us, from interests and privileges, from attachment to power and glory, from being seduced by the spirit of the world.”
While we celebrate Christ the King today and anticipate the Season of Advent next weekend, we also celebrate the great American Holiday of Thanksgiving. President Lincoln established that the final Thursday of each November should be observed nationally as a “day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” He was mindful of the fact that, even in the midst of the tragedy and bloodshed of the Civil War, God had still been generous in bestowing His blessings upon this country. In his proclamation, after recounting several of those blessings he wrote that: “No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God.”
Many in our nation are deeply upset with the results of elections. Protests and riots across the nation are a cause for concern for all. Unity and peace not rancor and division should be what all people work for in our country. President Lincoln saw the nation spilt in two culturally and politically and witnessed the resulting Civil War. Yet he knew there was much about America to be proud of and also many things for which to give thanks to God. May we do so on Thanksgiving Day and truly give thanks to God for all the freedom, beauty and bounty we enjoy in the USA.
Join us for Thanksgiving Day Mass at 9:00am on Thursday, it’s a great way to start the day of thanks! Happy Thanksgiving! Safe Travels. Be well. Do good. God Bless. Go Pats!