Archive for November, 2011

REFLECTION: Why celebrate?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011


This coming Sunday, the Sunday before Advent, Catholic parishes throughout the world will be celebrating The Feast of Christ the King.  Our parish, in particular, will be hosting a tea after each Mass to celebrate the event.  Having recently assisted with our parish’s “New Parishioners Welcome Tea”, I pondered why we needed another tea gathering.

The Feast of Christ the King….does that have any significance to you?  It didn’t have much impact on me until I understood the rational behind the celebration…

If you had an opportunity to, how would you share Jesus with another?  Would you describe him as just another man who was martyred on the cross?  Would you mention that he is someone whom you learned about in Sunday school, but whom you didn’t know much of?  Would you describe him as one whom you were told that had died on the cross to free you from your sins and eternal death, but whom you didn’t know or care much to know about?  OR… would you mention how you met him and how he has transformed your life?  Would you mention how he daily walks with you and how he has consoled you through your darkest night?  Would you mention that a moment without him would be enough to blow out the spark in your life and that he alone gives meaning to your life?

A prophetic word was given several weeks ago saying “Do you know me?  DO YOU KNOW ME?  What is your story?  If I am not part of your story, then you don’t know me.”  I believe how you answer this prophetic word will determine how you will celebrate The Feast of Christ the King.

God bless,

Melissa – November 14, 2011

p.s.-

http://www.churchyear.net/ctksunday.html.

Pope Pius XI instituted The Feast of Christ the King in 1925 when the respect for Christ and the Church was waning.  He had hoped that the institution of the feast would have the following effects:

“1. That nations would see that the Church has the right to freedom, and immunity from the state (Quas Primas, 32).
2. That leaders and nations would see that they are bound to give respect to Christ (Quas Primas, 31).
3. That the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration of the feast, as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies (Quas Primas, 33).”

Today, there is greater distrust of authority and the only authority embraced by many is that of individual self.  Sadly, many also fail to realize that the kingship of Christ which we celebrate is not of royalty as recognized by this world, but that of humility and service.

“Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”  Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”  “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.  Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (John 18:33-37)

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.  The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.  Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” (John 19: 19-21)

REFLECTION: The dare…

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011


When the new changes in our Catholic Missal come to play, I wonder how many will realize that when the celebrating Priest invites the congregation to pray the “Our Father”, he will invite us with the following words “At the Saviour’s command and formed by divine teaching we DARE TO SAY…”  That’s right, the very words spoken will be “DARE TO SAY”.  I’m sure many, if not all, fail to realize that as we pray the “Our Father”, a dare is involved.

“How could we mere creatures – and sinful creatures at that! – dare to call the Almighty, All-Holy God, our Father?”  This is how Edward Sri, author of “A Biblical Walk through The Mass” study program begins his explanation.  I wouldn’t be surprised if some are now thinking… “But isn’t this what Jesus taught us?”  Jesus did in fact teach us to address His Father as “OUR Father”, but the additional truth is, although we liberally address Him as such, we fail to grasp why a Creator whose creations have repeatedly turned their backs on Him would have any desire to be associated with us, let alone be identified as our father.  The two plausible answers I can come up with is either God has lost His marbles and He doesn’t realize how ridiculous it is for Him to continuously pursue a personal loving relationship with us OR God is so loving that He gives us chance after chance to return to Him..

Is God spoiling us by repeatedly giving us chance after chance?  I don’t think so.  Like a strong, loving parent, He allows us to face the natural consequences of our shortfalls.  In spite of our ongoing pleading, begging Him to lift the painful consequences of OUR choices, He silently stands beside us (perhaps with tears in His eyes), waiting for us to ask for His help so we can endure and successfully learn from our failures.

In his most recent Skype teaching, Lalith Perera asks, “What kind of God do we have?  He mentions that many have an incorrect understanding of how God works.  “Many think that all sickness must disappear if God is real.  Many think that they should receive more favours from God once they believe in Him.”  And if they don’t receive accordingly, they (angrily) turn away from Him.”  We all have seen others turn away and perhaps, we too have turned away.  And yet, even when our backs are facing Him, He continues to invite us to return to Him and to call Him Abba, Daddy. (Galatians 4:6-7)

What does it mean to address God as OURS?  I believe it means that He is ours (plural) and not mine or yours alone.  I believe He views us equally regardless of our heritage, financial / educational background and moral past so that no one can claim that he/she has more of His love or His attention than another.

I am sure many are aware that there are some who “think” they are closer to God because of their religious activity.  Didn’t the Pharisees view themselves as more pious than others?  Didn’t they wear special garments and place themselves in higher positions so that others would recognize them as the “holier” ones?  And yet, weren’t they the very ones whom Jesus reprimanded time and time again? (Matt 23: 1-5; 13) I don’t believe the Pharisees were bad per se, but it was their pride and arrogance that made them “think” they had a closer connection to God.  I believe Jesus’ continuous reprimands were recorded to let the world know that God does not embrace exclusivity but instead, He opens His arms equally to ALL.  I believe that is the very reason why God had taught Jesus to teach the world to address him as ours rather than mine.

Thankfully OUR Father sees right through the frills of the external and He focuses on what is within the hearts of each one.  He doesn’t selectively choose the rich and famous nor does He associate solely with those who already know Him.  Instead, He continuously woos and pursues those who have their backs towards Him.  He knows their pain; He knows their loneliness; He knows the betrayal they have lived through and He knows that many are angry and bitter towards Him.  He continues to pursue those who are hurting because He knows that it is He alone who can heal their broken hearts: He knows that it is only He who can fill the individual with “the peace that the world cannot give” (John 14:27); He knows that what He gives is unlike the addictive drugs, alcohol, pornography and material wealth the world offers, but instead what He offers is the grace to forgive an offender, He heals the broken heart and He gives the supernatural grace to live life, in spite of its difficulties, to the fullest.

But why teach us to call him “father”?  I am reminded of the story of the prodigal son. (Luke 15: 11-32)  The prodigal son demanded what he claimed was his from his father and he entered the world.  Out of his own free will, he spent his money liberally without contemplating on what his future would hold.  Only in dire straights did he come to terms with what he had done.  He had nothing and he had no one.  He knew no one else except his father would consider taking him in.  As he painstakingly walked back towards his father’s home, the son must have prepared the most sincere apology he could come up with hoping that it would be sufficient to move his father to accept him.  But what happened?  The son didn’t have to say a single word.  The father had seen the son as he looked out at the horizon and the father ran with open arms to welcome him back home.  I believe that is why God taught us to call Him Father rather than “your highness” or “my royal King”.  I believe only a father (or mother) would have the unconditional love to take us back just as we are.

God bless,

Melissa – November 2, 2011

Luke 11:1 – 4 –  One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”  He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’”