- Website with Catholic Answers to Today's Sticky Moral Questions (under the laptop picture)
- "All Hell Broke Loose" Family Returns to Church After Demonic Encounters in House They Inherited (Diocesan News and BEYOND)
- History of the Hail Mary (Helpful Hints for Life)
Catholic Good News
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
Solemnity of Christ the King
Everyone generally likes the pageantry of Kings, I think. Perhaps only those who have not lived under kings or those who never knew a bad king. But a king is not everyone’s idea of a good time.
The prophet laying out the consequences when Israel rejects God as their king and desires to have an earthly king over them says that the sons of families must sign up for military service and taxes will now be levied for war and the king’s city. Trade, craftsmans, building, and much more will be directed by the king so that his plans and construction of the kingdom can take shape and many more changes so that an earthly king can rule in Israel. Also, all will now be SERVING THE KING.
Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, is a different sort of king. He starts by SERVING US. He walks our walks, and talks our talk. He gives us words of life to live by. He cures the sick, drives out demons, and calls us to be more than ourselves. He dies our death, to give Himself as food in the Holy Eucharist so that we might live forever in Heaven.
And those of us that would make Him the king of their hearts, He only asks that we live like Him by His strength. We must of course, “deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him.” But He helps us with grace to deny ourselves. He helps us to take up and carry our cross and to follow Him. To follow Him to heaven, and with Him to lead all to their ultimate and true happiness: with God forever.
Who is going to be your king this Sunday and the rest of your life?
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This coming Sunday is the Solemnity of Christ the King, the 34rd and last Sunday of Ordinary Time and the Church year! The readings can be found at: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/112623.cfm
(Readings with reflections and questions are at the end of the e-weekly.)
P.S.S. In anticipation of Advent next week, here is a sight with incredible resources for children and families, specifically for busy families during Advent:
Advent Adventure - Holy Heroes
If your family is like ours, Advent is the most hectic time of the year. With all the work you do to create that joyful Christmas Day, who has the time (or energy) to make Advent into a fruitful time of spiritual anticipation and preparation for your family?
1. What is the plan of God for man? (Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC 1-25)
a) for us to be slaves
b) for us to do whatever we want, whenever we want
c) to know, love, and serve Him, and be happy with Him forever in heaven
d) to discover Him on our own accord if we want to
CHAPTER ONE: Man's Capacity for God - “You are great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised [...] You have made us for yourself and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” (Saint Augustine)
2. Why does man have a desire for God? (CCC 27-30, 44-45)
a) God has written it on our hearts
b) if it is ignored, God still will draw by this desire
c) this intimate bond confers on us our fundamental dignity
d) all of the above
3. How is it possible to know God with only the light of human reason? (CCC 31-36, 46-47)
a) one can look at one’s self, and know that self is destined for more than death
b) one can look at one’s self, and see humanity has brought about humanity
c) it is not possible
d) Nothing is clear with only human reason
4. Is the light of reason alone sufficient to know the mystery of God? (CCC 37-38)
a) the light of human reason can shine sufficiently on all the mysteries of God
b) since God has made us, he has made us to be able to figure out all we need to know about Him by reason
c) both a and b
d) neither a and b
Domini Nostri Iesu Christi Universorum Regis
(“Our Lord, Jesus Christ, King of the Universe [or ‘King of All’]”)
- official Church title of the last Sunday of the Church year, last SOLEMNITY of the Church year
Solemnity (from Latin sollemnis “regularly appointed”)
-highest rank of liturgical celebration in the Catholic Church;
-a marked feast day of great importance and significance
History of the Hail Mary
The Angelic Salutation is a most concise summary of all that Catholic theology teaches about the Blessed Virgin. It is divided into two parts, that of praise and that of petition. The first shows everything that goes to make up Mary's greatness; and the second, all we need to ask, and all that we can expect from her goodness.
The Most Holy Trinity revealed the first part; Saint Elizabeth, inspired by the Holy Spirit, gave the second; and the Church added the conclusion in the year 430 when she condemned the Nestorian heresy at the Council of Ephesus and defined that the Blessed Virgin is truly the Mother of God. The council commanded us to invoke the Holy Virgin under this glorious title with these words: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death."
-Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort
The Admirable Secret of the Rosary (# 35)
Ancient of Days is a name given to God by the Prophet Daniel in which he contrasts His eternal powers with the frail existence of the empires of the world. It is from these descriptions of the Almighty that Christian art derived its general manner of representing the first person of the Holy Trinity. God as the Ancient of Days presents us with a marvelous image of God the Father's eternal wisdom, eternal steadfastness, and eternal reliability. God is simple and unchanging. This image is particularly vivid in the book of Daniel, where the prophet Daniel has a vision of "someone like a son of Man" who gained privileged access to the "Ancient of Days," and from the Ancient of Days received "rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him." (Dan. 7:13-14) The "son of Man" referred to by the Prophet Daniel is, of course, the very title assumed by Jesus during the course of his ministry here on earth. In the Gospels, Jesus refers to himself as the "son of Man" eighty-one times, almost certainly his most frequent designation. Jesus' appropriation of the title "son of Man" suggests that He was claiming unique access to God the Father, the Ancient of Days, and to have received from Him rulership over the entirety of creation.
Further Reading: Daniel 7:9-22; Psalms 90:1-2; Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 4:2-3
The sign of the cross makes kings of all those reborn in Christ and the anointing of the Holy Spirit consecrates them as priests, so that, apart from the particular service of our ministry, all spiritual and rational Christians are recognized as members of this royal race and sharers in Christ's priestly office. What, indeed, is as royal for a soul as to govern the body in obedience to God? And what is as priestly as to dedicate a pure conscience to the Lord and to offer the spotless offerings of devotion on the altar of the heart? Catechism of the Catholic Church #786
The Way of the Lord Jesus by Germain Grisez
The Way of the Lord Jesus —a moral theology for today’s Catholics. By sending the Holy Spirit, the Father saw to it that the truth he revealed in Jesus would ...
DESCRIPTIONThis website showcases the masterpiece of the prominent Catholic moral theologian, Germain Grisez. The three volume set of The Way of the Lord Jesus is available online, with the fourth volume to be added as it becomes available.
The Way of the Lord Jesus strives to respond to Vatican II’s mandate for a thorough-going renewal of moral theology, so that it would be centered on Jesus Christ, enriched by sacred Scripture, and grounded in the fundamental truths of Catholic faith.
JESSE TREE FOR ADVENT
Parish can do a Jesse Tree through Parish School, PSR or CCD, or simply before the Sunday Mass. A Jesse Tree comes from the Middle Ages and was used to tell Salvation History from Creation to Jesus Birth at Christmas through the primary persons involved. It can also be done for the Parish via video or online.
This is a wonderful way for your parish to be reminded or learn of God working through time saving us, and for them to enter more into the Holy Bible. It can incorporate children of the parish and have a beautiful visual in front of the parish of God's Love.
Create your own Jesse Tree with branch or one that has been put together that can be used in another way such as attached to the wall (see below) or one can be purchased. Then throughout Advent, each day or each Sunday, ornaments (or cards) are read and shown and added to the tree to grow until it becomes a full tree bearing Christ at Christmas time. This can involve older children to read, young to hang ornaments, etc.
- Nov 19
We received a frantic call from a man in Indiana who was a non-practicing Baptist, and his wife was not a believer. They had two children.They recently inherited their house from relatives.
The man who previously lived in the house was known to have molested minors and also involved in the occult. He died in April and they moved in around June.
Shortly after they moved in: “All hell broke loose,” … literally.
They saw dark shadowy figures. There were radical temperature drops in isolated places in the house, e.g. from 70 degrees to 30 degrees. The dog was barking uncontrollably. The children heard a “voice” from the basement calling to them.
They often heard strange noises and banging. At night, there was a “presence” which got on the Father’s chest and pinned him down. He couldn’t move and could barely breathe. When this happened, he commanded out loud, “In the name of Jesus, get off me!” He did this three times and it stopped.
They continued to hear loud bangs and a voice say, “hey” and whistling. It sounded like someone was jumping on the floor above and objects shook in the room.
The daughter felt something touch her leg and she saw a shadow figure. Kitchen drawers slammed shut. They heard sounds like someone walking around. The wife felt a breeze of air while in the shower and it felt like something was in shower with her.
The first priest they contacted seemed skeptical. He asked them if they had mice.
They were obviously upset and said, “These things are very real, very scary, and very nasty. I feel like until someone experiences these things that they don’t understand what we’re going through and how they have affected everything.”
The entire family was terrified and were sleeping together in the same bedroom at night.
This was an emergency. It can destroy a family and their emotional health. So, I immediately contacted the Catholic priest in the nearby parish. He said he was about to go on vacation the next day. I explained the situation to him and he dropped everything and exorcized the house that evening. God bless him!
A few days later, I contacted the father of the family. How is it? He responded, “I would say things are better because before, things were really bad. The sounds of walking on the floor and sounds of banging and tapping have returned. But it is not as bad.”
After the priest returned from vacation, I asked him to exorcize the house a second time, which he did. It has been over a year now, and all continues to be quiet in the house. The demonic infestation is apparently gone.
There was no doubt that the house was infested. First, there was a clear reason for the presence of demons.
The previous owner had molested minors and practiced the occult– two major demonic doorways. They were basically sane people and the wife didn’t even believe in such stuff (until recently).
The reported symptoms were classic signs of a demonic infestation. And they were so truly terrified that they slept in the same room. Happily, there was a generous priest nearby who assisted. Also, it was great that it only took two sessions. With deeply entrenched demonic presences, it can take more.
Not surprisingly, that family now sits in the front pews of their church on Sundays. The father told me, “We have grown a really strong bond with the Pastor and other church members.”
He added, “We have thanked God and continue to thank God for the blessings he has given us.”
This article originally appeared in the St. Michael’s Center for Spiritual Renewal’s Exorcist Diary blog.
Husband Washes Wife’s Feet at Wedding Reception Instead of Tossing Garter: “You Deserve to Be Cherished”
by ChurchPOP Editor - Nov 21, 2019
@staceysumereau, FacebookHow beautiful! Have you ever seen anything like this before?
Catholic speaker, podcaster, and television personality Stacey Sumereau shared an experience she had with her husband at her wedding reception – and the post went completely viral!
Instead of throwing her garter, her husband washed her feet.
Sumeraeu explained that “the garter toss signifies Eros,” which is “sexual attraction and a public hint of the private intimacy the newlyweds will enjoy.”
Her husband washed her feet because it signifies Jesus’ sacrificial love.
“Jesus washed his disciples’ feet the night before he gave his life for them on the Cross…Husbands vow to love their brides like Christ loves the Church. To be the leader of our family is to be a servant.”
Here’s her full post below:
Here’s the full text of Sumereau’s post:“My husband washed my feet at our wedding reception instead of tossing a garter.
“The garter toss signifies Eros- sexual attraction and a public hint of the private intimacy the newlyweds will enjoy. Physical attraction is a wonderful and beautiful part of marriage. However, I LOVE that my groom chose to surprise me with something different…
“Jesus washed his disciples’ feet the night before he gave his life for them on the cross. That kind of love is agape: sacrifice.
“Husbands vow to love their brides like Christ loves the Church. To be the leader of our family is to be a servant. Whether it’s prioritizing my desire of where we go to dinner or getting up with the babies early when I’m exhausted, John lays down his life for me every day.
“And the beautiful thing is that you don’t gotta worry one tiny bit about erotic love disappearing when you work for agape love.
“So often our culture gets it backwards: ‘test drive,’ ‘try before you buy,’ cohabitation.
“But now that I’m living marriage day-to-day, I see that sustaining a relationship purely with Eros is like trying to live on cake: the sweetness can disappear in an instant, but it’s working together that lasts.
“We didn’t need to ‘try before you buy’ to have the both depth of agape and the sweetness of Eros together. I don’t feel ‘in love’ every second of every day. (And anyone who expects that is going to be disappointed!)
“But I trust my husband and feel security in his love. That allows for joy, laughter, and a peaceful relationship.”
“Listen to Dan and Amber DeMatte’s episode of my podcast, Called and Caffeinated, for LOTS more on how to sustain a strong marriage.
“Single friends, don’t buy what the culture is selling you! You deserve to be cherished–not just for a time, but forever.”
Let us all pray for the strength to love sacrificially!
Compassion is the Heart of Healthcare, Pope Francis Saysby Elise Harris
Vatican City, Nov 18, 2017 / 07:59 am (EWTN News/CNA) -Pope Francis on Saturday sent a message to health workers and organizations, saying compassion is the heart of what they do, and stressed the need for a more equitable distribution resources and services throughout the world.
“A healthcare organization that is efficient and capable of addressing inequalities cannot forget its raison d’être, which is compassion,” the Pope said Nov. 18.
This includes the compassion of doctors, nurses, support staff volunteers and all others able to “minimize the pain associated with loneliness and anxiety,” he said, and stressed the importance for healthcare workers to focus not just on good organization, but on listening, accompanying and supporting the people they care for.
Compassion, Francis said, is “a privileged way to promote justice,” since empathizing with what others are experiencing allows us to not only understand their struggles, hardships and fears, but also “to discover, in the frailness of every human being, his or her unique worth and dignity.”
“Indeed, human dignity is the basis of justice, while the recognition of every person’s inestimable worth is the force that impels us to work, with enthusiasm and self-sacrifice, to overcome all disparities.”
Pope Francis sent his message to participants in the Nov. 16-18 conference “Addressing Global Health Inequalities,” organized by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development in collaboration with the International Confederation of Catholic Healthcare Institutions.
The goal of the conference is to launch a network connecting all 116,000 Catholic health organizations around the world through a platform of collaboration and sharing aimed at exchanging information.
Another key goal of the conference is to raise awareness about global disparities in access to healthcare.
In his speech, he quoted from the Vatican's new Healthcare Charter, released in February, which states that “the fundamental right to the preservation of health pertains to the value of justice, whereby there are no distinctions between peoples and ethnic groups, taking into account their objective living situations and stages of development.”
The Church, he said, continuing the quote, “proposed that the right to health care and the right to justice ought to be reconciled by ensuring a fair distribution of healthcare facilities and financial resources, in accordance with the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity.”
To this end, he praised the participants for establishing the new platform, which he said will concretely address the challenges faced in healthcare in different geographical and social settings.
Francis said this task is something that belongs in particular to healthcare workers and their organizations, since they are committed in a special way to raising awareness among institutions, welfare agencies and the healthcare industry as a whole, “for the sake of ensuring that every individual actually benefits from the right to health care.”
This not only depends on the services provided, but also on the economic, social and cultural factors in decision making processes.
He also stressed the need to eradicate the structural causes of poverty, “because society needs to be cured of a sickness which is weakening and frustrating it, and which can only lead to new crises.”
Welfare projects should only be considered temporary responses, he said, explaining that “as long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.”
Francis also offered a special word to representatives of pharmaceutical companies present, and who were invited to Rome to address the topic of access to antiretroviral therapies by paediatric patients.
Again quoting from the Vatican's healthcare charter, he said that while scientific knowledge and research on their part have their own laws to abide to, “ways must be found to combine these adequately with the right of access to basic or necessary treatments, or both.”
He also advocated for healthcare strategies that pursue the common good and that are “economically and ethically sustainable.”
Pope Francis closed his message thanking participants for their “generous commitment,” and gave his blessing.
Jesus Christ is the one whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and established as priest, prophet, and king. The whole People of God participates in these three offices of Christ and bears the responsibilities for mission and service that flow from them.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #783
Little Johnny to his mom: “I shot 4 goals at the soccer match today!” Mom: “Wonderful, looks like your team won, right?” Little Johnny: “Not really, we played 2:2.”
Teacher asks, “Who can tell me the chemical formula for water?” Little Johnny pipes up, "HIJKLMNO"! The teacher is puzzled, “What on Earth are you talking about, Johnny?” Little Johnny looks hurt, “But sir, you yourself said yesterday that it's H to O!”
-I don’t suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.
-Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn’t have said.
-If Bill Gates had a penny for every time I had to reboot my computer…oh wait, he does.
-Money talks…but all mine ever says is good-bye.Blessed Are...“What’s wrong, Bubba?” asked the pastor.
“I need you to pray for my hearing,” said Bubba.
The pastor put his hands on Bubba’s ears and prayed. When he was done, he asked, “So how’s your hearing?”
“I don’t know,” said Bubba. “It isn’t until next Tuesday.”Father TimeThe last time we changed from daylight saving time, a preacher friend posted, “For those who habitually show up 15 minutes late to church, allow me to remind you that tonight is the night you set your clock back 45 minutes.”
Holy Family in a Plane
A Sunday school teacher asked her students to draw a picture of Jesus' family. After collecting the drawings, she noticed that one little boy's drawing depicted an airplane with four heads sticking out of the windows. "I see you drew three heads to show Joseph, Mary and Jesus," she said to the boy. "But who does the fourth head belong to?"
The boy replied, "That's Pontius the pilot."========
A minister waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him. Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump.
"Reverend," said the young man, "I'm so sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip."
The minister chuckled, "I know what you mean. It's the same in my business."
========Be Careful What You Say To Children
One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head.She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, 'Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?'
Her mother replied, 'Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.'
The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, 'Mommy, how come ALL of grandma's hairs are white?'
Almighty and merciful God, you break the power of evil and make all things new in your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe. May all in heaven and earth acclaim your glory and never cease to praise you. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The anointing with sacred chrism, perfumed oil consecrated by the bishop, signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit to the newly baptized, who has become a Christian, that is, one "anointed" by the Holy Spirit, incorporated into Christ who is anointed priest, prophet, and king.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #1241
SUNDAY BIBLICAL MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe – Sunday, November 26th, 2023
The First Reading - Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
Thus, says the Lord GOD: I myself will look after and tend my sheep. As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so will I tend my sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark. I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD. The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy, shepherding them rightly. As for you, my sheep, says the Lord GOD, I will judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats.
Much of Ezekiel 34 is devoted to a condemnation of the leadership of Israel and Judah, both past and present. Ezekiel denounces the “shepherds” of God’s people who did not put foremost the welfare of the sheep, but rather their own profit and pleasure, killing and abusing the sheep in order to enrich themselves. In the ancient Near East, the image of king as shepherd of his people was very common, and it is used, for example, of King David (2 Sam 5:2). Ezekiel 34 has in mind some of the evil descendants of the Davidic line, as well as various other royal officials who took advantage of their power. On behalf of the LORD, Ezekiel promises that the day will come when God himself will come down to shepherd his people. This was, in fact, God’s original plan at Sinai: a theocracy, or direct rule by God. Due to the hardness of their heart, Moses allowed the people to choose a human king (Deut 17:15ff), an option they invoked much later in their history, under Samuel (1 Sam . David eventually became king, and he was a man “after God’s own heart,” and God granted him a perpetual covenant of kingship (2 Sam 7, Psalm 89). What of Ezekiel’s promise that God himself would one day be shepherd of his people? Is this a revocation of the promise given to David? No, because in a passage skipped by our First Reading, God promises to restore David to the throne: “And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd” (34:23). Curiously, God promises “I myself will be shepherd of my sheep” (34:15) but also “My servant David … shall be their shepherd” (34:23) yet there will not be two shepherds, but “I will set up over them one shepherd” (34:23). How is that going to work, O Lord? Only if God and David become one shepherd, one person. That is the hypostatic union. That is Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man: king because he is divine, and king because he is the Son of David.
Adults - How does God shepherd His people?
Teens - How are the ministers of the Church shepherds for the people of God?
Kids - What does it mean to be shepherded by the Lord?
Responsorial- Psalm 23:1-2, 2-3, 5-6
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths
for his name's sake.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Psalm 23 was well-known already in Ezekiel’s day, and Ezekiel 34 employs imagery from the Psalm. This beautiful poem was recited by the ancient Israelite worshiper who entered Solomon’s Temple to sacrifice to God and pray. It has remained a favorite of the people of God into the New Covenant era. Among the Church Fathers, together with the Song of Songs it served as one of the primary texts to use for mystagogy or sacramental catechesis. In this Psalm, the Fathers saw images of the Sacraments through which Jesus shepherds us as his sheep. So the “restful waters” that “renew the soul” are Baptism, the “verdant pastures” and “table set before me” is the Eucharistic banquet, the “head anointed with oil” is Confirmation and Anointing of the Sick, etc., all of which lead us to eternal life: “I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Heb. ‘for length of days,’ i.e. indefinitely, forever).” Are you able to find rest in the Lord?
The Second Reading- 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
Brothers and sisters: Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through man, the resurrection of the dead came also through man. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.
Reflection - St. Paul reflects on the kingship of Jesus Christ. Jesus has already conquered death in principle, through his own resurrection. Twice St. Paul calls Christ “the firstfruits,” and there is liturgical significance of this statement: the Feast of Firstfruits celebrated the beginning of the harvest, and was held on the day after the Sabbath of Passover Week, i.e. the Sunday after Passover. This, of course, was the day on which Jesus rose from the dead: the Sunday after Passover, Easter Sunday. Jesus rose on the Feast of Firstfruits, the firstfruits of the dead. Jesus is the first to experience his resurrected body, but all who are united to him will also experience the transformed body at the “final harvest,” the end of time.
-Do you ever consider life in heaven, with a transformed body, forever?
The Holy Gospel according to Matthew 25:31-46
Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Reflection This Gospel Reading is one of the most sobering in the Lectionary, not the least because it implies that those who face Christ at the final judgment may be surprised at the sentence awaiting them. Actually, both the sheep and the goats seem not to realize their true spiritual standing, whether that is righteousness or wickedness, which calls to mind our own need to make a serious examination of conscience. The criteria by which the Son of Man makes judgment is based on “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine.” We generally assume that this refers to acts of kindness to the poorest of the poor. However, we can’t jump to that conclusion immediately. The first and primary sense of this text is Christ’s unity with his members, that is, which his Church. The point of the parable is: the nations are judged based on how they treated Christians, those identified with Christ. The meaning of Matt 25 is similar to Acts 9:4: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Jesus says to the pre-conversion St. Paul. Persecution of Jesus’ disciples is persecution of himself. Therefore, the first level of meaning of Matt 25 here is that Jesus regards the least service done for one of his disciples—the “least of my brothers”—as service done to him. By extension, there is application to the poor, because we do not know the identity of Jesus’ brothers. Among the poor, the marginalized, and the downtrodden may be many who are “brothers of Christ.” So we must assume that all persons are brothers of Christ either in spe (in hope, i.e. potentially) or in re (in fact).
Adults - Do you see other Christians as true members of your family - the family of God?
Teens - How can you remind yourself to see the dignity in ever person?
Kids - What does it mean to see others as members of God’s family too?
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! - With an ever-growing desire, all Advent awaits the "coming King"; in the chants of the breviary we find repeated again and again the two expressions "King" and "is coming." On Christmas the Church would greet, not the Child of Bethlehem, but the Rex Pacificus — "the King of peace gloriously reigning." Within a fortnight, there follows a feast which belongs to the greatest of the feasts of the Church year -- the Epiphany. As in ancient times oriental monarchs visited their principalities (theophany), so the divine King appears in His city, the Church; from its sacred precincts He casts His glance over all the world....On the final feast of the Christmas cycle, the Presentation in the Temple, holy Church meets her royal Bridegroom with virginal love: "Adorn your bridal chamber, O Sion, and receive Christ your King!" The burden of the Christmas cycle may be summed up in these words: Christ the King establishes His Kingdom of light upon earth! — Excerpted from The Sunday Readings Cycle C, Fr. Kevin O' Sullivan, O.F.M.
1. What is the plan of God for man? c) to know, love, and serve Him, and be happy with Him forever in heaven
God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. In the fullness of time, God the Father sent his Son as the Redeemer and Savior of mankind, fallen into sin, thus calling all into his Church and, through the work of the Holy Spirit, making them adopted children and heirs of his eternal happiness.
2. Why does man have a desire for God? d) all of the above
God himself, in creating man in his own image, has written upon his heart the desire to see him. Even if this desire is often ignored, God never ceases to draw man to himself because only in God will he find and live the fullness of truth and happiness for which he never stops searching. By nature and by vocation, therefore, man is a religious being, capable of entering into communion with God. This intimate and vital bond with God confers on man his fundamental dignity.
3. How is it possible to know God with only the light of human reason? a) one can look at one’s self, and know that self is destined for more than death
Starting from creation, that is from the world and from the human person, through reason alone one can know God with certainty as the origin and end of the universe, as the highest good and as infinite truth and beauty.
4. Is the light of reason alone sufficient to know the mystery of God? d) neither a and b
In coming to a knowledge of God by the light of reason alone man experiences many difficulties. Indeed, on his own he is unable to enter into the intimacy of the divine mystery. This is why he stands in need of being enlightened by God’s revelation, not only about those things that exceed his understanding, but also about those religious and moral truths which of themselves are not beyond the grasp of human reason, so that even in the present condition of the human race, they can be known by all with ease, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error.