Pastor's Column

Pastor’s Column November 21 – 22, 2020
Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
 
 
This weekend, as our liturgical year draws to a close, we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. And our Gospel reading comes from the 25th chapter of St. Matthew, Jesus’ somewhat frightening  description of the Last Judgment, when he will return as our King at the end of time “sitting upon his glorious throne” and he will assemble all the nations before him in order to separate the good from the bad “as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” To those who fail to make the grade he will say, “Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. […] And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Pretty scary stuff to be sure. But in the middle of next week we will also celebrate the great civic and religious This weekend, as our liturgical year draws to a close, we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. And our Gospel reading comes from the 25th chapter of St. Matthew, Jesus’ somewhat frightening  description of the Last Judgment, when he will return as our King at the end of time “sitting upon his glorious throne” and he will assemble all the nations before him in order to separate the good from the bad “as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” To those who fail to make the grade he will say, “Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. […] And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Pretty scary stuff to be sure. But in the middle of next week we will also celebrate the great civic and religious holiday of Thanksgiving, when we see a softer side of our loving and merciful God, and take time to thank Him for His abundant blessings.
 
Many people seem to have a default image of God that is stuck on one of those two great attributes of God,
either his righteous justice or his loving mercy. But God’s mercy and judgment are intertwined and go hand in hand. Both are necessary and together both show His great love for us. Consider the analogy of a parent that exercises judgment towards a disobedient child. If the judgment or discipline the parent metes out is appropriate, most reasonable people would conclude that the parent exercised right judgment in order to produce good character in that child to help the child grow and mature. For example, if a child darts out into the street where traffic is heavy and dangerous, a mother or father would show their love in pulling the child away from that situation and then teaching the child by punishing them with certain restrictions or loss of privileges so that they might learn that their actions have consequences and behave in a safer and more appropriate manner in the future. While the child may not appreciate it at that moment, in time they may come to understand and be grateful for the lesson their parent taught them.
 
In a similar manner, God gives us laws and commands, not to enslave us, but out of love, to free us up to be everything He created us to be. And we are created to be like Him, to love generously and freely by serving one another, especially those most in need. The Last Judgment in Matthew chapter 25 is one of the most vivid parables Jesus ever spoke and its meaning is clear. We will not be judged on the knowledge we have amassed, or the fame we have acquired, or the fortune we have gained, but rather according to our reaction to human need. We will be judged on the degree and quality of our love as demonstrated by the help we give our neighbor.
 
Pope Pius XI instituted this Feast of Christ the King in 1925 by his encyclical Quas Primas in which he wrote, “The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal… He [Christ] must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, “as instruments of justice unto God”.
 
As we celebrate Stewardship Weekend and prepare for our great civic and religious holiday of Thanksgiving
next week, the more we become good stewards by being thankful for God’s gifts and putting those gifts to work by caring for others, the happier we ourselves will be in this life and the more prepared we will be for the next. Long live
Christ our King! Happy Thanksgiving! -- Fr. Bobholiday of Thanksgiving, when we see a softer side of our loving and merciful God, and take time to thank Him for His abundant blessings.
 
 
Many people seem to have a default image of God that is stuck on one of those two great attributes of God,
either his righteous justice or his loving mercy. But God’s mercy and judgment are intertwined and go hand in hand. Both are necessary and together both show His great love for us. Consider the analogy of a parent that exercises judgment towards a disobedient child. If the judgment or discipline the parent metes out is appropriate, most reasonable people would conclude that the parent exercised right judgment in order to produce good character in that child to help the child grow and mature. For example, if a child darts out into the street where traffic is heavy and dangerous, a mother or father would show their love in pulling the child away from that situation and then teaching the child by punishing them with certain restrictions or loss of privileges so that they might learn that their actions have consequences and behave in a safer and more appropriate manner in the future. While the child may not appreciate it at that moment, in time they may come to understand and be grateful for the lesson their parent taught them.
 
In a similar manner, God gives us laws and commands, not to enslave us, but out of love, to free us up to be everything He created us to be. And we are created to be like Him, to love generously and freely by serving one another, especially those most in need. The Last Judgment in Matthew chapter 25 is one of the most vivid parables Jesus ever spoke and its meaning is clear. We will not be judged on the knowledge we have amassed, or the fame we have acquired, or the fortune we have gained, but rather according to our reaction to human need. We will be judged on the degree and quality of our love as demonstrated by the help we give our neighbor.
 
Pope Pius XI instituted this Feast of Christ the King in 1925 by his encyclical Quas Primas in which he wrote, “The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal… He [Christ] must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, “as instruments of justice unto God”.
 
As we celebrate Stewardship Weekend and prepare for our great civic and religious holiday of Thanksgiving
next week, the more we become good stewards by being thankful for God’s gifts and putting those gifts to work by caring for others, the happier we ourselves will be in this life and the more prepared we will be for the next. Long live
Christ our King! Happy Thanksgiving! -- Fr. Bob