Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe – November 26th
“And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever
you did for one of the least brothers (sisters) of mine, you did for me.”
The above quote from Jesus according to the gospel of Matthew is ringing in my mind as the universal Church concludes liturgical year 2017 with the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. We affirm in the Nicene Creed that: He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. There are many religious images of our King Jesus.
All this past liturgical year A with the gospel of Matthew we have been learning how to be missionary disciples. At the end of our lives and at the end of time, we will be judged for only one thing: how did I respond to the least of God’s people. According to Fr. Donal Neary SJ, the important pronoun in today’s gospel is “I.” Jesus did not say: “When you visited the sick, for example, you helped them.” To quote Fr. Neary, “He says it is ‘I’ who am in prison, sick or naked. It’s even more than being a brother or sister of Jesus. He identified totally with each of us, especially in need.” (Comments are taken from a homily dated 2014 in the Sacred Heart Messenger.)
This Solemnity takes on more meaning in the light of last weeks’ celebration of Thanksgiving and our family of four’s efforts to distribute baskets of food to at least 400+ families. Thanks to all of you for your generous support of money and food items. It is also timely in the light of Pope Francis who launched a two-year global campaign, “Share the Journey” in support of immigrants and refugees. We hope to focus on this theme for Lent 2018.
Year 2018 begins this coming weekend, a bit later than usual. The Advent season is only three full weeks plus the weekend of Dec. 23/24. Christmas will be on a Monday this year. We will soon be publishing the schedule of Christmas Eve/Day masses. The mass schedule for the Fourth Sunday of Advent will be more abbreviated to accommodate the Christmas Eve mass schedule.
Take some time this week to pray for the grace to be able to “see” Christ in others and to respond in love.
In prayerful support,
Fr. Mike Michalski
November 19th – Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all the others.” (Cicero)
Happy Thanksgiving! Christmas and Easter are significant, faith-filled days rooted in ancient dogma and ritual, but it is Thanksgiving in its simplicity that at this time just might offer us a very direct way to counter all the negativity in our world and the political and cultural discourse that seems to be paralyzing us.
A grateful heart knows its place and does not leave much room for ego. When you realize that this is all a gift, and that it is given to us by Someone on loan, and not permanently, it becomes easier to loosen our grasp and let go of our overwhelming desire to control others and “master” our destinies.
So, a simple assignment these days leading up to Thanksgiving. Let people know (actually say it!) how grateful you are that they are in your life. Let people know (actually say it!) how grateful you are to be included in their life. And finally, let God know (actually say it!) how grateful you are that He is in your life. And let God know (actually say it!) how grateful you are to be included in His plan for the world.
It seems a simple practice. I guess that’s why I like it!
Know how grateful Fr. Mike and I are to be your priests!
Sincerely, with love,
November 12th – Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
“He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. “
“I believe in …the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. “
These two excerpts taken from the Nicene Creed and the Apostles Creed summarize the basic focus of today’s readings and liturgy. After last Sunday’s severe rebuke of the religious leaders of Israel and the early church, we now turn to prepare ourselves for the end of the world and the final judgment. The church affirms and believes that the Lord Jesus will come again. The world as we know it will pass away and all will be returned to the Father. Some will enter the Kingdom and some will not, depending on our readiness to welcome the Bridegroom with our lamps burning. We are called to be on ready alert.
The parable of the wise and foolish virgins awaiting the return of the bridegroom remind me of one wedding I had at Old St. Mary. As I entered the back of church, I saw the wedding dress on a hanger with the photographer taking pictures. I wondered where the bride was. I should have known we would start late. Then the matron of honor who was pregnant split her dress so a relative had to do some last minute alterations. We were at least twenty minutes late but it was only a wedding service. All turned out ok. I sometimes tell the engaged couple to have a seamstress on hand for the wedding.
While our focus in November is on death and final judgment, St. Paul offers us a message of consolation. At Christ’s final arrival, the dead will rise to eternal life, a message of comfort. “Thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thess 4:17)
We are called to be ready for the final coming but we are also called to be ready for the coming of Christ each day in our lives. At our baptism we received a candle and told to keep the flame of faith alive in our hearts. By our performance of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, we open our hearts to see Jesus who comes to us each day.
I will be on retreat this week and will pray for all of your intentions. Please keep me and Fr. Tim in your prayers.
With a grateful heart,
Fr. Mike Michalski
November 5th – Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
“To live in the midst of the world without desiring its pleasures;
To be a member of each family, yet belonging to none;
To share all sufferings! To penetrate all secrets; to heal all wounds;
To go from people to God and offer him their prayers; to return from God
to people to bring pardon, peace, and hope;
To have a heart of fire for charity and a heart of bronze for chastity;
teach and to pardon, to console and to bless always,
My God, what a life!
And it is yours, O Priest of Jesus Christ!”
Our readings this Sunday are especially challenging for those in leadership in the Church, and I thought it would be a good time to ask you, our dear parishioners for prayers for Fr. Mike and me and all priests as we serve our parish communities.
You have our love and compassion as we serve you, and assure you that we see ourselves as servant leaders. A favorite title for pastors is “coordinators of charisms!” Please know that as we work to coordinate the wonderful gifts of our wonderful parishioners, we always hope to do so with true humility.
Please continue to pray for Fr. Mike and me and all priests!
Sincerely, with love,