How many times have you heard, “I can’t wait for this year to end!”? It’s an understandable lament; 2020 has been a difficult year in many ways.
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Christ the King. Prayerfully reading the Scriptures reveals God’s love for us, His willingness to not only be born for us but to die and rise from the dead for us, and to prepare for each of us a place in the kingdom. The goodness of Christ as King cannot be denied but it is also not the end of the meaning of this day.
On Mulberry Street in NoLita (North of Little Italy), is the Basilica of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral, the over two-hundred-year-old predecessor of the Fifth Avenue landmark. Beautiful in itself and rich in history, the building houses a magnificent Henry Erben Pipe Organ, has been in several movies and is home to one of the most interesting graveyards in Manhattan. Tours of the Basilica are available.
Last Monday we celebrated the Feast of All Souls. A day when we remember those we love who have gone before. Yet, that remembrance also invites us to think about the realities of death and resurrection. We know that the only guarantee after birth is death. Every time we say the Our Father, we pray, “Thy kingdom come.” We know that one day we will each face judgment. And so, the question this parable presents is, “Are we ready?” not “Will we be ready?”
On this Solemnity of All Saints, the church invites us not only to remember those who have already marched in but also to ask how we can one day be in their number.
This question about questions is ultimately pretty simple — do we ask questions, engage in discourse and discussion on social media and in-person with our friends (and with our enemies) for the sake of clarity, for the sake of learning the opinions of others and why they might hold these opinions, or do we do it to trip the other up, to hammer home our point, to verbally “beat down” those who might disagree with us?
Today’s first reading, taken from the Old Testament Book of the Prophet Isaiah, mentions a rather curious figure in salvation history: King Cyrus of Persia.
Virtues remind us of the ultimate final goal of our life, what is called in philosophy our ‘telos,’ our end — to become like God! Put everything else aside — all of our temporary desires and preoccupation, for what is important is our destiny.
At the very start of the epistle that we proclaim this Sunday, St. Paul tells us: “Have no anxiety at all…” Now this sounds great, but how many of us can follow this biblical injunction as it is expressed here?
Most of us who participate in Sunday Mass regularly know that we are imperfect, that we are sinners, that we are so often hypocritical. We do not attend Mass because we are perfect; we attend because we are imperfect. It is only God who can heal and perfect us. This is true of parishioners and preachers alike.