CHRIST THE KING (Year A) – 22nd Nov 2020

Theme: JESUS CHRIST WILL COME A SECOND TIME AS KING OF THE UNIVERSE

  • Ezekiel 34:11-12. 15-17;
  • Psalm 22 (23): 1-3. 5-6. R/ v. 1;
  • 1 Corinthians 15:20-26. 28
  • Matthew 25:31-46

1. Today is the 34th Sunday or the last Sunday in Ordinary Time in Liturgical Year A. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. We celebrate the feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, because we believe that at the end of the world, Jesus Christ will come a second time as King of the universe! 

    The gospel today tells us of the second coming of Jesus Christ as king of the universe! He will judge all the peoples. Those who accepted the gospel will enter heaven, but those who rejected the gospel will not enter heaven! The hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick and in prison in today’s gospel refer to “one of the least of these brothers of mine” (Mt 25:40), that is, the disciples, the Christian Missionaries who proclaim the gospel.   (CSB/Fuller) Acceptance of the disciples means acceptance of the gospel, rejection of the disciples means rejection of the gospel! Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “Then the virtuous will say to the King in reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?’ And the King will answer, ‘I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.’” (Mt 25: 37-40)

    We have therefore to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth so that all may believe and be saved!

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the Lord is not only king and judge, but he is also shepherd and savior! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “The Lord says this: I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness. I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest – it is the Lord who speaks. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.” (Ezk 34:11-12. 15-16)     

    The first reading is an outline of the good shepherd found in John 10:11-18! Thus we read in John 10:14-15:

    “I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep.” (NJB)

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is on the good shepherd. (NJB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” (Ps 22 (23): 1) And thus the responsorial psalm:

    “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose. Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit. He guides me along the right path; he is true to his name.” (Ps 22 (23): 1-3/stanzas 1 and 2)            

    The second part of the responsorial psalm is on the host of a banquet. It is related to the good shepherd. Just as the good shepherd leads and provides food and drink for the sheep, the host of a banquet provides food and drink for the guests! (NJBC) Thus we read in stanzas three and four of the responsorial psalm:

    “You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing. Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life. In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.” (Ps 22 (23): 5-6)

4. Finally, and most importantly, the second reading tells us that Jesus Christ will come a second time and he will destroy death forever, and the dead will rise to a new life , and he will hand over the kingdom to God the Father so that God may be all in all! Thus we read in the second reading:

    “Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death. And when everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subject in his turn to the One who subjected all things to him, so that God may be all in all.” (1 Co 15: 22-26. 28)       

5. Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink is blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth until the second coming of Jesus Christ. And when Jesus Christ comes a second time he will take us all to heaven!

                                                                                                                                    Amen!

The Epiphany of The Lord (Year A, B, C)

Theme: THE REVELATION OF THE LORD, WHO IS KING, GOD, AND SAVIOR TO ALL THE NATIONS

  •  Isaiah 60:1-6
  • Psalm 71:1-2. 7-8. 10-13. R. v. 11
  • Ephesians 3:2-3. 5-6
  • Matthew 2:1-12

Today we celebrate the solemnity of the epiphany of the Lord! The word “epiphany” is from a Greek word meaning “manifestation” or “revelation”. Today we celebrate the manifestation or revelation of the Lord not only to the Jews but also to all the nations and races of the world! The wise men in today’s gospel reading represent all the non-Jews or gentiles! Today we celebrate the revelation of a King, a God, and a Savior to all peoples! A King of kings who will govern all peoples and nations with justice and peace! A God who creates and sustains the universe out of nothing but love! A Savior who died for our sins and became the bread of eternal life for all of us!

These 3 manifestations of King, God and Savior are symbolized in the 3 gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh! The Church Fathers as early as St. Irenaeus who lived around 130 to 200 A. D. saw the gift of gold as a symbol of Christ’s kingship, frankincense (an incense used for sacrifice) as a symbol of Christ’s Divinity, and myrrh as a symbol of his death and burial! Myrrh is a spice used for embalming the dead!

In the “Prayer over the Gifts” today, we pray: “Lord, accept the offerings of your Church, not gold, frankincense and myrrh, but the sacrifice and food they symbolize: Jesus Christ, who is Lord forever and ever”!  In other words, the gold, frankincense and myrrh symbolize Jesus Christ who is sacrifice and food for us in the Eucharist!

What revelation! What manifestation! What epiphany! That is why this revelation is for all the nations of the world! That is why this revelation is for everybody! Everybody needs a God-King to govern him or her with justice and peace! Everybody needs a God who gives and sustains life! And everybody needs a God who is love, mercy and forgiveness, a God who saves!  

And that is why all the nations and peoples of the world come to him! All the peoples are attracted by his love, mercy, forgiveness, peace, joy, etc.! He seduces us by his love, attracts us by his mercy, persuades us by his forgiveness, etc.! He does not coerce us with his power, force us with his laws and regulations, and punish us with his vengeance!

Again, that is why the whole world is attracted to him, as ants are attracted to honey! A tradition has it that the wise men represent the whole world of their time, that is, the black wise man represents Africa, the yellow wise man represents Asia, and the white wise man represents Europe!

 

The first reading from the prophet Isaiah tells us that the glory of the Lord will shine over Jerusalem and all the Jews living outside Palestine after the Exile will return to Jerusalem, and more than that, the prophet Isaiah tells us that not only the Jews will return to Jerusalem, but all the nations of the earth will come to Jerusalem, attracted by the light that shines over Jerusalem! And the peoples and nations that come to Jerusalem will bring along their riches and wealth to Jerusalem to build up Jerusalem! They will praise the Lord in Jerusalem! Again, Epiphany! All the peoples, nations, and races of the world are attracted to the manifestation and revelation of the Lord in Jerusalem!

 

The responsorial psalm takes up the theme of the first reading! That is why in the response of the responsorial psalm we respond by saying “All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord”!

The responsorial psalm tells us that the messianic King, the God-King, will rule with justice! He will give justice to the poor! There will be justice and peace without end! He will rule over the whole world! All the nations of the earth will pay him tribute and bring him gifts! All the nations of the earth will prostrate before him and serve him! He shall save the poor when they cry and save the helpless! He shall have pity on the weak and save the poor!

Again, the revelation of the messianic King, who is love, mercy, justice, peace, salvation, etc., will attract all the nations of the earth to come and worship Him!

 

Again, the Church has chosen the second reading taken from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians to tell us that the revelation of the Lord is not only for the Jews but it is also for the non-Jews, that is, the gentiles and the pagans as well!

In the second reading, Paul tells us that the “mystery” revealed to him is that not only the Jews have the right to the “inheritance”, but that all humankind share in the same  “inheritance”!

This second reading is taken from the section of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, which concerns the “World Mission of the Church” (3:1-4:24)!

 

Today we celebrate the solemnity of “the Epiphany of the Lord” in the Eucharist! In the Eucharist we celebrate his death, resurrection, and ascension, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and we receive his Holy Spirit! And at the end of the Mass (The word “Mass” comes from a Latin word meaning “Mission”!) we are sent on a mission to proclaim the Good News of “the Epiphany of the Lord” to the whole wide world!

 Amen!