Dec 1 : First Sunday in Advent: Be awake and be Prepared

November 29th, 2013

 

First Reading       : Isaiah 2:1-5

Psalm                    : Psalm 122

Second Reading : Romans 13:11-14

Gospel                  : Matthew 24:36-44

 

Today we begin a new season of Advent and it is its 1st Sunday. Now, in the general literal sense, the word 'advent' means 'coming of someone,' but in the Christian Liturgical sense it specifically implies to 'the coming of Christ.' So specifically therefore, with the start of Advent today, we begin the period of expectation and waiting for the coming of Christ, our Savior — his birth on the first Christmas day. But actually, the Lord comes to us in three ways: the first coming of Jesus about 2000 years ago when he came as our Savior (Coming in history), the second coming is the glorious return of Jesus in future at the end of time (Coming in Majesty) and the third coming is situated between the first two comings. It is Jesus' daily coming into our hearts here and now at every moment of every day in the sacraments – very specifically through the Eucharist, and therein lies a challenge for us as well as a comfort (Coming in Mystery). Thus in a general sense, the period of Advent encompasses all time viz. Past, Present & Future. So, a Christian in this sense is always a citizen of Advent. Therefore, it is not surprising that we begin the new Liturgical Year this Sunday, with the same theme of 'the coming of Christ', where we ended it last Sunday.

 

November 24 : Solemnity of Christ the King - Thy kingdom come!

November 18th, 2013

Today, the last Sunday of ordinary time the Church in a special way invites us to celebrate Jesus Christ our anointed king who overcame suffering and death, and so brought us out of darkness into his kingdom of light. On 7th July 2009, during the funeral of Michael Jackson, the presiding pastor said: “Behold the king of pop ready to face the King of the world.” Today (34th Sunday), the entire world stands still and bows to the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Rev 17, 14), and the Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast of Christ the King and Sovereign ruler of the Universe (Dan 7, 14). Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King in 1925 in response to growing nationalism and secularism. In initiating this feast, the Church wanted to take our worship of Jesus from the privacy of our hearts and to proudly proclaim his public reign as well. The title of the feast was “Jesu Christi Regis” (Our Lord Jesus Christ the King). Again, in his 1969 motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis, Pope Paul VI gave the celebration a new title: “Iesu Christi universorum Regis” (Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe). He also gave it a new date: the last Sunday in the liturgical year and assigned to it the highest rank, that of “Solemnity.” As we celebrate this feast let us ask ourselves: “Who reigns in my heart? Jesus or the evil one? Am I happy to be a subject of His kingdom? What are the values of his kingdom that I admire and try to inculcate into my life? 

 

November 17 : Thirty Thired Sunday Ordinary Time - ‘Jesus left the Temple and departed from it’ (Mt 24:1)

November 13th, 2013

In today’s Gospel Jesus portrays for us, graphically, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. For Jews, the destruction of these two things was equivalent to the end of the world. Precisely for this reason, the Church uses this gospel passage as one of its readings for the end of the liturgical year. It wants us to reflect on the end of the world. But what’s the significant it has in our lives? What does it mean to us personally? We read the Gospel of Matthew that Jesus, before His prediction of the destruction of the Temple, ‘left the Temple and departed from it’ (24:1). Jesus not only went out of the Temple, He also departed from it and never returned to it. He did not depart on His own accord, they drove Him off; He did not reject them, rather they had rejected Him. When He departed from the Temple, its sanctity, glory and defence departed. The most beautiful and magnificent Temple in the world turned into the most ruinous heap. Three days after He departed the veil of the Temple was rent – making everything in the Temple common and unclean. Woe descends upon anyone from whom the Lord departs. If we drive away His presence from our souls, it will become desolate, as desolate as the Temple of Jerusalem. That will be the end of the world to us. When Jesus departs from my life, that is going to be my experience of the end of the world.

November 10 : Thirty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time: Heaven is our Home

November 5th, 2013

 

In today’s Gospel we find Jesus in reply rejecting the caricature that the Sadducees present of heaven, a caricature that suggests that it is a simple continuation of the earthly relationships of the spouses. Eternal beatitude is not just an increase and prolongation of terrestrial joys, the maximization of the pleasures of the flesh and the table. The other life is truly another life, a life of a different quality. It is true that it is the fulfilment of all man's longings on earth, yet it is infinitely more, on a different level. Interpreting Jesus' answer to the Sadducees, in an erroneous way, some have claimed that marriage has no follow-up in heaven. He does not deny that they might rediscover in God the bond that united them on earth. If God united them on earth, how could he divide them in heaven? According to this vision, matrimony does not entirely end with death but is transfigured, renewed and made holy -- it loses those limits that mark life on earth -- in the same way that the bonds between parents and children or between friends will not be forgotten. In the preface of the Mass for the dead, the liturgy says that with death "life is changed, not taken away"; the same must be said of marriage, which is an integral part of life. Let us look forward to a glorious life in heaven. 

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