Archives for November 2014
Today is a new beginning. We begin a new liturgical year. We begin as we do each year with the joyful and hopeful season of Advent. On this first Sunday in Advent we hear the words “Be watchful! Be alert!” on the lips of Jesus. The message encourages us to notice more carefully what we experience in the Liturgy and in our daily lives as we prepare to celebrate Christmas.
We hear the prophet Isaiah address a prayer to God: “We are the clay and you the potter; we are all the work of your hands.” God is not finished with us yet. The Advent season helps us to see how intimately God is part of our human lives, continuing to fashion and shape us in Christ-like ways.
How can Advent be a season of attentiveness and watchfulness for you? What is your sense of what God is up to in your life?
Today we celebrate the last Sunday in this liturgical year with the feast of Christ the King. Next Sunday we begin another liturgical year with the Season of Advent.
The Liturgy today highlights two very different realities. The prophet Ezekiel has God declaring: “I myself will look after and tend my sheep.” In the gospel Jesus declares that we are ministering to him when we care for those who are in need. Two different theological truths are put side by side in a complementary tension. God is tending people in need through our acts of mercy and healing love. And Christ is being encountered and served through our acts of mercy and healing love.
How do you sense that God is working through you when you do acts of charity? How do you sense the presence of Christ in those whom you serve?
This year the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica is celebrated on Sunday (November 8). This church in Rome is the Pope’s Cathedral in the Diocese of Rome. On the façade of the church is the inscription “mother and head of all churches of Rome and the world.” This feast emphasizes the universal nature of the Catholic Church.
The Scripture readings for this feast remind us that we use the word “Church” for both the building where believers gather to worship and for the community of believers itself. The prophet Ezekiel portrays a heavenly temple from which flow living waters to nurture trees that produce the nourishment of food and a healing medicine. St. Paul reminds us that we are God’s building, the temple of God. The Holy Spirit dwells in us.
Think about your experience of faith. How does the church building help you to have a sense of God’s healing and nourishing presence? When are you most aware of the Spirit’s presence in the church as God’s people?