Nov. 20th Readings and Reflection

christtheking2013
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

First Reading – 2 Samuel 5: 1-3

In those days, all the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said:
“Here we are, your bone and your flesh.
In days past, when Saul was our king,
it was you who led the Israelites out and brought them back.
And the LORD said to you,
‘You shall shepherd my people Israel
and shall be commander of Israel.’”
When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron,
King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD,
and they anointed him king of Israel.

  • In the first reading, David is named King.  In the gospel, you’ll read how Christ was named King as he’s crucified.  To be a King is to be the sole and absolute ruler of a state or nation.  Given the election this month, you’d think we elected someone who holds that same power. 
    • If you had been born into such a state of power, what changes would you make for this country?
    • What changes would you make for the world?
    • How would you ensure the power did not go to your head as it did with David?

Second Reading – Colossians 1: 12-20

Brothers and sisters:
Let us give thanks to the Father,
who has made you fit to share
in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.
He delivered us from the power of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.
For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;
all things were created through him and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
that in all things he himself might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile all things for him,
making peace by the blood of his cross
through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.

Gospel – Luke 23: 35-43

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said,
“He saved others, let him save himself
if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.”
Even the soldiers jeered at him.
As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
“If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.”
Above him there was an inscription that read,
“This is the King of the Jews.”

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,
“Are you not the Christ?
Save yourself and us.”
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
“Have you no fear of God,
for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,
but this man has done nothing criminal.”
Then he said,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him,
“Amen, I say to you,
today you will be with me in Paradise.”

 

  • The thief to Christs’ right is sometimes called “The Good Thief”.  He was later named Dismas (which means sunset) in the Gospel of Nicodemus and is often mentioned today as St. Dismas, although he has never been canonized by the Catholic Church.  How do you feel about a person who’s led a sinful life, one worthy of being crucified for, being granted access to ‘Paradise’ as he asks for forgiveness on his death bed (or cross)?
  • The thief to Christs’ left is sometimes called “The Bad Thief”.  He was later named Gestas in the Syriac Infancy Gospel.  What do you imagine his fate was?  Do you think God gave him another chance at redemption after Gestas expired on the cross?  Do you think our salvation is tied to our life here on earth, meaning do you think our afterlife is 100% based on our life here on earth?

 

INTERESTING NON-FACT

There’s several myths that surround these two thieves.  One says that Dismas paid Gestas 40 silver coins (called drachma) to not harm Mary, Joseph, and the Infant Baby Jesus as they fled Egypt.  At this point in the tale, the Infant Jesus predicted that the thieves would be crucified with Him in Jerusalem and that Dismas would accompany Him to Paradise.  Again, this story is not substantiated and is considered myth.  

Nov. 13th Readings and Reflection

hqdefault

First Reading – Malachi 3:19-20A

Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven,
when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble,
and the day that is coming will set them on fire,
leaving them neither root nor branch,
says the LORD of hosts.
But for you who fear my name, there will arise
the sun of justice with its healing rays.

  • Malachi came along at a time when the people of Judah were struggling to believe that God loved them. The people had turned to complaining about their problems and refused to be held accountable for their sinful behavior.  Through Malachi, God told the people they needed to take responsibility for their own actions and serve God faithfully according to the Mosaic Covenant their fathers had made all those years before.  Who is your Malachi?  Who, here on earth, holds you accountable for your actions?  Is this something you do on your own?  Is this something God intended for you to do on your own?

Second Reading – 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12

Brothers and sisters:
You know how one must imitate us.
For we did not act in a disorderly way among you,
nor did we eat food received free from anyone.
On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day
we worked, so as not to burden any of you.
Not that we do not have the right.
Rather, we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you,
so that you might imitate us.
In fact, when we were with you,
we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work,
neither should that one eat.
We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a
disorderly way,
by not keeping busy but minding the business of others.
Such people we instruct and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly
and to eat their own food.

Gospel – Luke 21:5-19

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.

“Before all this happens, however,
they will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

  • “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.”  I think the Democratic Party is considering this past week is the beginning of this prediction!  Kidding (not really). 
  • This version of the end of times is pretty disheartening.  Although I always imagined zombies or a mass virus as part of the apocalypse.  However, non- infected people (“(being) handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends”) turning on each other is almost more frightening.   A great movie that reminds me of this reading by Luke is The Road, it was a book as well if that’s your thing too.  Anyway, during an apocalypse, there’s typically 4 types of survivors (The Leader, The Follower, The Ones who die instantly from the cause of the apocalypse, and The Cry Baby who usually gets killed by the Leaders and Followers).  So, which one are you? 
  • I find the last sentence of gospel this week to be the hardest.  “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”  Perseverance…  Not when you feel like it, not when you have time, not when the game is over.  He wants us to offer ourselves to Him during the times you feel like you can’t get back up, the times you feel alone.  What part of perseverance is the most difficult for you?  There are sometimes 5 different traits of perseverance:

    • Courage
    • Conscientiousness: Achievement Oriented vs. Dependable
    • Endurance: Follow Through
    • Resilience: Optimism, Confidence, and Creativity
    • Excellence  instead Perfection
  • Can you imagine being “handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death.”  If in the end, you were betrayed by those that you loved the most and “hated by all”, who does that leave?  How is your personal relationship with God?  How much time do you spend one-on-one building your relationship with him?