November 16, 2020

Christ the King Sunday (O. T. 34) Nov 22, 2020

OT 34 [A] Christ the King (Nov 20) (Eight-minute homily in one page) 

Introduction: Today’s Scripture Readings revolve around the Last Judgment scene of Jesus Christ coming in glory and power. It was Pope Pius XI who brought the Feast of Christ the King into the liturgy in 1925 to bring Christ as Ruler, and Christian values, back into lives of Christians, into society, and into politics. The Feast was also a reminder to the totalitarian governments of Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin that Jesus Christ is the only Sovereign King. Although Emperors and Kings now exist mostly in history books, we still honor Christ as the King of the Universe by enthroning Jesus in our hearts, surrendering our lives to God. This feast challenges us to see Christ the King in everyone, especially those whom our society considers the least important, and to treat each person with the same love, mercy, and compassion Jesus showed. (+ a homily starter anecdote)

Scripture lessons: The first reading, taken from the Prophet Ezekiel, introduces God as the Good Shepherd reminding us of Christ’s claim to be the Good-Shepherd-King, leading, feeding and protecting his sheep. In today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 23), we rejoice in Jesus, who is our Good Shepherd. In the second reading, St. Paul presents Christ as the all-powerful Ruler-King Who raises the dead and to Whom every form of power and authority must eventually give way. Today’s Gospel describes Christ the King coming in Heavenly glory to judge us, based on how we have shared our love and blessings with others through genuine acts of charity in our lives. Jesus is present to us now, not only as our Good Shepherd leading, feeding and healing his sheep, but also as dwelling in those for whom we care. In the parable of the separation of the sheep from the goats at the Last Judgment, every person to whom we give ourselves, “whether hungry, thirsty or a stranger, naked, sick or in prison,” is revealed to us as having been the risen Jesus. Our reward or punishment depends on how we have recognized and treated this risen Jesus in the needy.

Life messages: 1) We need to recognize and appreciate Christ’s presence within us and surrender our lives to Christ’s rule: Since Christ, our King, lives in our hearts with the Holy Spirit and His Heavenly Father and fills our souls with His grace, we need to learn to surrender our lives to Him, live in His Holy Presence, and do God’s will by sharing His forgiving love with others around us. Aware of His presence in the Bible, in the Sacraments, and in the worshipping community, we need to listen and talk to Him.

2) We need to learn to be servers: Since Christ was a Servant-King we are invited to be His loyal citizens by rendering humble service to others and by sharing Christ’s mercy and forgiveness with others. 3) We need to use our authority to support the rule of Jesus.  This feast is an invitation to all those who have power or authority in the public or the private realms to use it for Jesus by bearing witness to Him in the way we live. Parents are expected to use their God-given authority to train their children in Christian ideals and in the ways of committed Christian living.

4) We need to accept Jesus Christ as the King of love. Jesus. who came to proclaim to all of us the Good News of God’s love and salvation, gave us His new commandment of love: “Love one another as I have loved you,” (Jn 13:34), and demonstrated that love by dying for us sinners. We accept Jesus as our King of love when we love others as Jesus already loves us — unconditionally, sacrificially and with agape love.

CHRIST THE KING: Ez 34:11-12, 15-17; I Cor 15:20-26, 28; Mt 25:31-46

Homily Starter Anecdotes 1) On His Majesty’s Service: Polycarp, the second century bishop of Smyrna, was arrested and brought before the Roman authorities. He was told if he cursed Christ, he would be released. He replied, “Eighty-six years have I served Him, and He has done me no wrong; how then can I blaspheme my King, Jesus Christ Who saved me?” The Roman officer replied, “Unless you change your mind, I will have you burnt.” But Polycarp said, “You threaten a fire that burns for an hour, and after a while is quenched; for you are ignorant of the judgment to come and of everlasting punishment reserved for the ungodly. Do what you wish.”

2) The King of Kings is a silent film directed by Cecil B. De Mille in 1927. It is a religious movie about the last weeks of Jesus on earth, with H. B. Warner starring as Jesus. It was a production acclaimed by world-famed scholars, the press and the public in the U. S. and abroad, as the most ambitious presentation of the final years of the life of Jesus ever pictured on the screen. It was seen by over a billion people all over the world. De Mille claimed that the most important tribute to the movie he had ever received came from a woman who had only a few days to live. Her nurse wheeled her to a hall in the hospital to see the movie. After viewing the whole movie she wrote to the producer DeMille: “Thank you sir, thank you for your King of Kings. It has changed my expected death from a terror to a glorious anticipation.” She shared the feelings of the good thief who heard the promise of Jesus: “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Both of them were suffering, both expected death and both received new hope from the dying King of kings for only he could give them what he promised because he is God, the King of kings and Lord of all. –Today, as we celebrate the feast of Jesus, the King of kings, and as his Calvary sacrifice is re-presented on our altar, let us approach our Lord with repentant hearts and trusting Faith in his promise of eternal life. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

3) Long live Christ the King! In the 1920s, a totalitarian regime gained control of Mexico and tried to suppress the Church. To resist the regime, many Christians took up the cry, “Viva Cristo Rey!” [“Long live Christ the King!”] They called themselves “Cristeros.” The most famous Cristero was a young Jesuit priest named Padre Miguel Pro. Using various disguises, Padre Pro ministered to the people of Mexico City. Finally, the government arrested him and sentenced him to public execution on November 23, 1927. The president of Mexico (Plutarco Calles) thought that Padre Pro would beg for mercy, so he invited the press to the execution. Padre Pro did not plead for his life, but instead knelt holding a crucifix. When he finished his prayer, he kissed the crucifix and stood up. Holding the crucifix in his right hand, he extended his arms and shouted, “Viva Cristo Rey!” At that moment the soldiers fired. The journalists took pictures; if you look up “Padre Pro” or “Saint Miguel Pro” on the Internet, you can see that picture. (Fr. Phil Bloom) (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

Introduction: The Franciscan Order, following the lead of its great thirteenth century theologians St. Bonaventure and Blessed Duns Scotus, was instrumental in establishing the Feast of Christ the King and extending the celebration to the universal Church.  But it was Pope Pius XI who instituted The Feast of Christ the King in 1925 for the Universal Church in his encyclical Quas Primas because the people of the day had “thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives,” believing “these had no place in public affairs or in politics.”  He connected the increasing denial of Christ as king to the rise of secularism throughout Europe. At the time of Quas Primas, many Christians (including Catholics), had begun to doubt Christ’s authority and existence, as well as the Church’s power to continue Christ’s authority, because they witnessed the rise of non-Christian dictatorships in Europe. These dictators often attempted to assert authority over the Church. Pope Pius XI hoped the institution of the feast would have various effects: 1. That nations would see that the Church has the right to freedom, and immunity from the state (Quas Primas, 32). 2. That leaders and nations would see that they are bound to give respect to Christ (Quas Primas, 31). 3. That the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration of the feast, as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies (Quas Primas, 33). Although Emperors and Kings now exist mostly in history books, we still honor Christ as the King of the Universe by enthroning him as King in our hearts and allowing him to take control of our lives. When we accept Jesus as the King of our lives, then everyone and everything else falls into its proper place. We are also challenged to find Christ the King in everyone around us. As loyal subjects of Christ the King, we are invited to treat others with justice and compassion as Jesus did, especially those whom we consider the least important.

Scripture lessons summarized: The first reading presents God as a Shepherd reminding us of Christ’s claim to be the True Shepherd. Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 23) serves as our act of Faith, Trusting Love and thanksgiving offered to Jesus, Who is our Good Shepherd. In the second reading, St. Paul introduces Christ as the all-powerful Ruler who raises the dead and to whom every other power and authority must eventually give way. Today’s Gospel presents Christ the King coming in Heavenly glory to judge us, based on how we have shared our love and blessings with others through genuine acts of charity in our lives. Matthew adds a new dimension to the risen Jesus’ presence in the Christian community in the parable of the Last Judgment. Jesus is present to us now, not only as our Good Shepherd leading, feeding and healing his sheep, but also as dwelling in those for whom we care. In the parable of the separation of sheep from goats in the Last Judgment, every person to whom we give ourselves in loving service, “whether hungry, thirsty or a stranger, naked, sick or in prison,” is revealed to us as having been the risen Jesus. Our reward or punishment depends on how we have loved and served this risen Jesus in the needy.

The First reading (Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15:17) explained: The prophet Ezekiel was consoling the Jews exiled in Babylonia, explaining that their exile had been caused by infidelity and disloyalty to God on the part of their Kings and religious leaders who used their power and authority to exalt themselves. In this passage, Ezekiel prophesied that God would eliminate the “middlemen,” the unfaithful shepherds of His People of Israel, and would Himself become Israel’s Shepherd, leading, feeding, healing, and protecting His sheep. Though the prophet originally was talking about a specific point in Israel’s history in which Yahweh would appear to shepherd the Chosen People, Jesus’ disciples believed that the risen Jesus was with the early Christians, was fulfilling Ezekiel’s prophecy of God, the Good Shepherd, rescuing, pasturing, seeking, bringing back, and healing his sheep. No longer limited to His earthly body, the risen Jesus continues His loving ministry through such saving actions as we, his Mystical Body, perform them in Him and with His power. Since King David had originally been a shepherd and, since the coming Messiah was widely believed to be a descendant of David, there was already an association of shepherd images with the Messiah.

The Second Reading (1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28) explained: In his letter to the Corinthian Church, Paul answered the question: “If Jesus is alive among us by his Resurrection, how does he affect our lives?” Many of the Corinthians believed in Plato’s doctrine that human beings were originally pure spirits or souls who lived in the presence of God. They sinned and as punishment they had to carry a human body which they shed at death and thus were liberated to return to their state of happiness. So those Corinthians could not understand how Jesus had been raised with his glorified body. Paul explained to the Corinthians that as God the Father had raised Jesus from the dead, Jesus too would raise those who believed in him. In other words, the first mission of the risen Christ as King is to give us eternal life by raising us from death, thus undoing the primary consequence of the first Adam’s sin. The final mission of Christ the King is to subject all cosmic powers to himself, and then to God his Father.

Gospel Exegesis: The Gospel of Christ the King’s Last Judgment. As John P. Meier (Matthew, Michael Glazier, Inc., Wilmington: 1983) has noted, “the scene of Last Judgment described [in Mt 25:31-46] is not a parable but the unveiling of the truth which lay behind all the parables of chapters 24-25.” For this reason, readers should recognize the scene as one of judgment but also of revelation. Here, Jesus is being revealed as Son of Man in Glory, as the King who judges justly, and the criterion of his judgment is given. The Gospel passage teaches us that the main criterion of the Last Judgment will be the works of Christian charity, kindness and mercy we have done for others, in whom we have actually served Christ, knowingly or unknowingly. The account tells us that Christ, the Judge, is going to ask us six questions, and all of them are based on how we have cooperated with God’s grace to do acts of charity, kindness and mercy for others, because Jesus actually dwells in them. The first set of questions: “I was hungry, thirsty, homeless. Did you give me food, drink, accommodation?” The second set of questions: ”I was naked, sick, imprisoned. Did you clothe me? Did you help me by visiting me in my illness or in prison?” If the answers are yes, we will be eternally rewarded because we have cooperated with God’s grace by practicing charity. But if the answers are negative, we will be eternally punished.

Kingship of Jesus the Messiah in Old Testament. In most of the Messianic prophecies given in the Old Testament books of Samuel, Micah, Isaiah and Jeremiah, Christ the Messiah is represented as a King.  Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the Prophet Micah announced His coming as King. “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrata, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days” (Micah 5:1).  Daniel presents “One coming like a son of man … to him was given dominion and Glory and Kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away and his Kingship is one that shall never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:3-14).

Kingship of Jesus in New Testament. The New Testament tells us that Jesus is the long-awaited King of the Jews.  In the account of the Annunciation, (Lk1:32-33), we read: “The Lord God will make him a King, as his ancestor David was, and he will be the King of the descendants of Jacob forever and his Kingdom will never end.”  The Magi from the Far East came to Jerusalem and asked the question: (Mt 2:2) “Where is the baby born to be the King of the Jews?  We saw his star… and we have come to worship him.”  During the royal reception given to Jesus on Palm Sunday, the Jews shouted: (Lk 19:38) “Blessed is the King, who comes in the name of the Lord.”  When Pilate asked the question: (Jn 18:33) “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus, in the course of their conversation, made his assertion, “You say that I am a King.  For this was I born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the Truth. Everyone who belongs to the Truth listens to My Voice” (John 18:37). That Truth, as we know, is that He is God and Sovereign King of all Creation. The Gospels tell us that the board hung over Jesus’ head on the cross read: “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews,” (Mt 27:37; see also, Mk 15:26; Lk 23:36; John 19:19-20), and that, to the repentant thief on the cross who made the request: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom,” Jesus promised that the repentant thief would be in Paradise with Him that very day. (Luke 23:39-43).  Before His Ascension into Heaven, the Risen Jesus declared: “I have been given all authority in Heaven and on earth” (Mt. 28:18). The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “In the Lord’s Prayer, ‘thy kingdom come’ refers primarily to the final coming of the reign of God through Christ’s return.” (CCC 2818, cf. Titus 2:13)

A unique King with a unique Kingdom: Jesus Christ still lives as King in thousands of human hearts all over the world.  The cross is his throne and the Sermon on the Mount is his rule of law.  His citizens need obey only one law: “Love others as I have loved you” (John 15:12).  His love is selfless, sacrificial, kind, compassionate, forgiving, and unconditional.  That is why the Preface in today’s Mass describes Jesus’ Kingdom as “a Kingdom of truth and life, a Kingdom of holiness and grace, a Kingdom of justice, love, and peace.”  He is a King with a saving and liberating mission: to free mankind from all types of bondage, so that we may live peacefully and happily on earth and inherit Eternal Life in Heaven. His rule consists in seeking the lost, offering salvation to those who call out to him, and making friends of enemies.

The Kingdom of God is the central teaching of Jesus throughout the Gospels. The word Kingdom appears more than any other word throughout the four Gospels. Jesus begins His public ministry by preaching the Kingdom. “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mk 1:14). In Christ’s Kingdom, “we are all a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Pt 2:9; see also Ex 19:6; Is 61:6). According to the teachings of the New Testament, the “Kingdom of God” is a three-dimensional reality: the life of grace within every individual who does the will of God, the Church here on earth, and Eternal Life in Heaven.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that the Church is the Kingdom of Christ already present in mystery. It is the mission of the Church to proclaim and establish the Kingdom of Christ in human souls. This mission takes place between the first coming (the Incarnation), and the second coming (the end of this word, with His Final Judgment of all mankind , of Jesus into this world. The Church helps us to establish in our hearts and souls, Christ’s Kingdom, into which we were incorporated at Baptism by means Sanctifying Grace, that sharing in Divine Life which allows us to participate in God’s inner life. This supernatural Life of Grace, lived out in our daily lives, comes to fulfillment in the Eternal Life of Heaven (CCC #758-780).

Life messages: 1) We need to surrender our lives to Christ’s rule: Since Christ, our King, lives in our hearts with the Holy Spirit and His Heavenly Father and fills our souls with His grace, we need to learn to live in His Holy Presence, doing His will by sharing His forgiving love with others around us. We need to be constantly aware of His Presence in the Bible, in the Sacraments and in the worshipping community.

2) We need to fight against the enemies of Christ’s Kingdom: Terrorism has affected the entire world, including Christ’s Kingdom on earth. These terrorists are people who slaughter the unborn; engage in a frontal attack on the modern family through provocative television shows, movies, music and pornography; eradicate any recognition of God from public display and public schools; they include those priests and the religious who abuse children.  Hence, Jesus, the King, needs convinced apostles prepared and ready to fight against these enemies, first by prayer, then by accepting willingly the sufferings that come our way and offering them to God with Jesus, our King, in reparation for our sins and the sins of the world, and finally by living lives of loving, humble service, using our gifts generously for all.  The battlefield is the heart, the home, the school, the place of employment, the neighborhood, and the parish.  These   provide new and exciting challenges, new opportunities for us to do, ourselves, what is right and to live out the Truth of Jesus Christ our King, neither compromising with sin nor passing judgment on the motives or guilt of any of our brothers and sisters, but loving and praying for all of us. To ensure that Jesus is always the King of our hearts, we need to make a permanent, total commitment to Him and to live out that commitment with the necessary sacrifices, conviction, hard work and daily, serious prayer.

3) We need to use what authority we have been given to pass on Jesus’ message.  This feast is an invitation to all those who have power or authority in the government, in public offices, in educational institutions and in the family to use it for Jesus. Are we using our God-given authority so as to serve others with love and compassion as Jesus did? Are we using it to build a more just society rather than   to boost our own egos? As parents are we using our God-given authority to train our children in Christian ideals and the committed Christian living we faithfully model for them?

4) We need to make Christ the King of our Personal, Familial, Social, and Cultural life: Personal: By allowing Him to be King and center of our heart through prayer, receiving the Sacraments and freely entering a personal relationship with Him; Familial: By creating a proper rule and servant-leadership in the family – let us have a “king,” a “queen,” “prince” and “princesses” in our home; Social: By not divorcing ourselves from the state, from legislation and from affecting the social order; and Cultural: By bringing Christ and His Beauty and Radiance into the living traditions of our community. (Fr. Lombardi).

Conclusion:  The Solemnity of Christ the King is not just the conclusion of the Church year.  It is also a summary of our lives as Christians. On this great Feast, let us resolve to give Christ the central place in our lives and to obey His commandment of love by sharing our blessings with all his needy children.  Let us conclude the Church year by asking the Lord to help us serve the King of Kings as He presents Himself in those reaching out to us.  “To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His Blood and made us a Kingdom, priests for His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Rv 1:5b-6). Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat! Christ conquers! Christ rules! Christ reigns!

JOKES OF THE WEEK

# 1: Christ is in charge: Susan C. Kimber, in a book called Christian Woman, shares a funny piece of advice she received from her little son:     “Tired of struggling with my strong-willed little son, Thomas, I looked him in the eye and asked a question I felt sure would bring him in line: ‘Thomas, who is in charge here?’ Not missing a beat, he replied, ‘Jesus is, not you, Mom.’ ”

# 2: Sleep-inducing sermon on Christ the King: “I hope you didn’t take it personally, Father,” an embarrassed woman said to her pastor after the Holy Mass, “when my husband walked out during your sermon on Christ the King.”
“I did find it rather disconcerting,” the pastor replied. “It’s not a reflection on you, Father,” she insisted. “Ralph has been walking in his sleep ever since he was a child.”

# 2: Co-pilot Christ the King: Many people love bumper sticker theology. Bumper stickers may not always have the soundest theological statements, but they generally at least have the ability to make us think. One such, “God is my Co-pilot,” has also been found on Church signs, where the theology is just as much fun and sometimes sounder. In this case, the Church sign says, “If Christ the King is your Co-Pilot, change seats.”

Websites of the week

  1. Fr. Justus, SJ’s resources: http://catholic-resources.org/
  2. 58 Youth Catechism videos: http://vcat.org/
  3. Video Sunday-Scripture study by Fr. Geoffrey Plant: https://www.youtube.com/user/GeoffreyPlant2066
  4. Fr. Don’s new collection of video homilies & blogs: https://lectiotube.com/

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28- Additional anecdotes

1)”We have a King.” About three centuries ago, Spaniards besieged a small French town, St. Quentin. The city walls were in ruins; fever and famine plagued the people. One day the Spaniards shot over the walls a shower of arrows to which were attached little slips of parchment promising that if they surrendered, their lives and property would be spared. The mayor of the town was a devout Huguenot. For answer, he tied a piece of parchment to a javelin and hurled it back to the Spaniards. On the parchment was the message: “Regem habemus” — “We have a king!” Christians also can say, “We have a King.” Jesus is our King. We belong to his Kingdom. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

2) Desperate deaths of autocratic Kings & Dictators: The death of Josef Stalin (1879-1953), the Communist Dictator, was described by his daughter as difficult and terrible. Silenced by a stroke shortly before he died, Stalin’s “last words” were more visible than audible. Newsweek magazine quoted Svetlana Stalin who said, “At what seemed the very last moment, he cast a glance over everyone in the room. It was a terrible glance, insane, angry and full of fear of death. With one final menacing gesture, he lifted his left hand as if he were bringing down a curse on us all.” Philip III of Spain (1578-1621) who proved himself an unfit king, indifferent to the plight of his people, breathed his last wishing, “Would to God that I had never reigned. What does all my glory profit, but that I have so much the more torment in my death?” Charles IX, who in 1572 had ordered the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of the Huguenots throughout France met death with despair, “What blood! What murders! I am lost forever. I know it.” When she lay dying, Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603) was said to have bargained, “All my possessions for a moment of time.” Today’s Gospel challenges us to compare Christ the King’s death on the cross, offering his life to God his Father in all serenity and elegance. (Patricia Datchuck Sánchez). (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

3) Mother Teresa and Leo Tolstoy recognized the King in disguise: The story is told of Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa), observing a novice using tweezers to pluck maggots from the leg of a dying leper. The young woman stood at arm’s length to perform the odious task. Gently but firmly, Mother Teresa corrected her charge. Taking the tweezers and putting her face quite near the wound, she said, “You don’t understand, my dear. This is the leg of Christ our Lord. For what you do to this man, you do to Him.” Or again, Leo Tolstoy’s story, “Martin the Cobbler,” tells of a lonely shoemaker who is promised a visit by our Lord that very day. Eagerly all day he awaits his arrival. But all that come are a man in need of shoes, a young mother in need of food and shelter, a child in need of a friend, all of whom he helps. Martin the cobbler ends the day thinking, “Perhaps tomorrow He will come,” only to hear a voice reply, “I did come to you today, Martin; not once, but three times.” Christ is a King who goes about in disguise as the poor, the sick, the cripples, the tortured, the marginalized. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

4) INRI: A Jewish boy was lazy in his studies and misbehaved in the public school. So, his parents enrolled him in a Catholic school to see if he would improve.  His parents were surprised to observe that the boy stopped his excessive watching of TV, limited his time on computer games and spent most of his time in studies. At the end of the year, he was the best student in class.  His baffled parents asked him what had happened.  “The first day I went to school,” he explained, “and saw that man hanging on a plus sign at the main entrance of the school building, I knew you couldn’t fool around here and get away with it.” Today’s Gospel reminds us that the Man on the cross is not an object to frighten naughty kids, but our God, our King and Savior Who died for us promising us eternal life, and Who will come in Glory to judge the world on the day of the Last Judgment.

5) Jesse Owens challenging Adolf Hitler: The black man standing in the arena was an affront to Der Fuehrer’s authority. The scene was the 1936 Olympic Games held in Berlin, Germany. The black man was Jesse Owens of The Ohio State University representing the USA. He was aptly called “the fastest human alive.” Der Fuehrer was Chancellor Adolf Hitler, who had recently risen to power championing an arrogant theory that his “Aryan race” of “supermen” would conquer the world. In implementing his theory, Hitler began systematically to stamp out the Jews in a bitter expression of prejudice and discrimination. Hitler also publicly denounced Blacks – Negroes, as they were called then — as an inferior race. Jesse Owens, in Hitler’s estimation, should not even be present at the Games. Jesse Owens was not only present, but he went on to win four gold medals in the 100-meter-dash, the 200-meter-dash, the broad jump and the 400-meter relay race. He demolished Hitler’s claim that the Aryan race was superior to all others. Furthermore, this soft-spoken black athlete embarrassed Hitler and undermined his pompous authority in the heart of the Fatherland. We may not be in danger of being seduced by an evil power like Hitler, but we may not be clear on the Authority to Whom we give allegiance. We owe our allegiance to Christ the King who redeemed us by shedding His Blood to save us. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

6) “Super Savior”-– A Church in Ohio did it with a large icon–a 62-foot-tall statue of Jesus with upraised arms, installed in a cornfield just north of Monroe, Ohio on Interstate 75. The statue–dubbed “Super Savior”– was erected by the Solid Rock Church, in Middletown. Here is what is interesting. Traffic fatalities on this notorious stretch of road have dropped dramatically since the Super Savior statue was raised. Is that pure coincidence, or has the Styrofoam and fiberglass Christ really aided road safety? Nobody knows. [Dr. John Bardsley. Source: National Catholic Reporter (10-28-2005), p. 3.] Certainly a giant statue of Christ does no harm, and if it improves traffic, that’s fine. But do not be confused. This is not the best way to express our allegiance to Christ. The best way to express our allegiance to Christ is to make our lives worthy of the name Christian. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

7) Feast of Christ the King: In 1925, Pope Pius XI wanted people to know that this was Christ’s world, not the property of the emerging dictators of that day. Both Josef Stalin in Russia and Benito Mussolini had been in power for three years. Adolf Hitler had been out of jail only a year, and was finding great popular support for his fledgling Nazi party. The Pope had the courage of his convictions to declare, despite dictators, that Christ was King, reminding Christians where their ultimate loyalty lay! (From a sermon by Don Friesen, Ottawa Mennonite Church). (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

8) Unfinished work: A newspaper story some time back recorded the grim incident of a police officer shot and killed in the line of duty. His great desire before he was killed was to see his family’s back yard completely landscaped, a desire he never saw fulfilled, because of the bullet that ended his life. Some of his fellow officers, who had grown to love their fallen comrade, donated their time and money to complete the work. Because it was the policeman’s desire to finish the project it became his friends’ desire. [Allen Hadidian, Discipleship (Chicago: Moody Press, 1987).] The application to those of us who love Jesus Christ and accept Him as the King of our lives, is clear. What He loved and desired, we should love and desire — and work to complete. His work is to see lost men saved and built up. His work is to see this world redeemed. His work is to see this unfinished world brought to completion. We who love Him are called to complete the task with His grace. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

9) King of kings and Lord of lords. Listed in any history book among the greatest leaders that the world has ever known would be the name, Caesar Augustus. It was Caesar Augustus who fixed the limits of the Roman Empire. It was during his reign that the Pax Romana, the peace of Rome that lasted for over 200 years, was initiated. It was Augustus who ordered the building of roads linking the colonies of the great Empire and allowing rapid access to subordinate governments. It was he who gave Rome its constitution, creating the office of Emperor and investing in that office unlimited power, though he never used the title Emperor himself. The age of Augustus was a bright spot in literature and the arts. It was the era that gave the world Virgil, and the great historians. Caesar Augustus was truly a great ruler. Is it not ironic, then, that 2000 years after the reign of Caesar Augustus, he is mainly remembered because every year at Christmas time, we read these timeless words: “In those days, a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed” (Luke 2:1) Among those to be taxed, of course, were Mary and Joseph from Nazareth. Caesar Augustus would truly be shocked to realize that during his reign was born One who was far greater than he. He was the One Who had been anointed King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It was a minor official in the Roman Empire, Pontius Pilate, who first asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” (John 18:33). Jesus obviously convinced him that he was. We often see engraved on crosses the letters INRI. They stand for Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum, Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews. St. Teresa of Avila, the 16th century Carmelite reformer, always referred to Jesus as “His Majesty,” and so He is. After 2000 years, His stature has not diminished. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

10) The forgiving King: Rev. Tony Campolo says that in his teenage years he was terrified by a visiting pastor’s depiction of Judgment Day. This pastor claimed that one day God would show us a movie of every single sinful thought, word, or action we ever committed. And he ended his lurid description with the announcement, “And your mother will be there!” But Tony claims that Judgment Day will more closely mirror what happened during the trials over the Watergate scandal. The prosecutor brought in a tape of a conversation between Nixon and his aides. Just at the most crucial part of the tape, the section that revealed their crimes, there was an eighteen-minute gap of silence. Nixon’s faithful secretary, Rosemary Wood, had erased the incriminating evidence! In the same way, Campolo says, Jesus will erase all the incriminating evidence against us, as he did for the repentant thief crucified at his right side. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

11) “You’re with Him; go on in.” A few years ago, Pastor Erwin Lutzer and his daughters were visiting Washington, D.C. While there, they met a man who served on former President Bush’s Secret-Service security team. The gentleman offered to give them a guided tour of the Oval Office. Pastor Lutzer and his daughters passed through many security checkpoints the next day on the way to the Oval Office. At each checkpoint, they expected to be searched and questioned. But instead, the guards took one glance at the Secret-Service man and announced, “You are with him; go on in.” Pastor Lutzer wrote that he expects our entrance into Heaven will be like that. We will have no credentials of our own that could possibly get us in. But Jesus will be walking along beside us. And at each gate, the angels will take one look at Jesus and announce, “You’re with Him: go on in.” [Erwin Lutzer, “Do Many Paths Lead into God’s Presence?” Preaching Magazine March/April, 2001), p. 20.]. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

12) King Who conquered death: Worldly kings do not have this power. Their last enemy is death, which ends their power, wealth, and prestige. In Vienna there is a crypt under a Capuchin church. In this crypt are buried 140 Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses. Each sarcophagus is sculptured in steel. The largest is a double tomb for Maria Theresa and her husband. On each sarcophagus was carved a cross and the Royal crown. On each corner of one sarcophagus was a skull wearing a crown. The message was clear: Death was king! Even kings are conquered by death. But the King of God’s realm lives in spite of death. And so we, as Christians belonging to Him, have no fear of death, for by the power of His cross, death was defeated for us all. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

13) “Thy Kingdom come:” Those of us who live in the United States have no experience with royalty or with “Kingdoms” ruled by Kings or Queens. We have no Royal Family, so we have to invent our “Royalty.” We had the “King of Rock’n’Roll,” Elvis Presley. We had the “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson. We had a “King of Soul,” James Brown. We have a “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin. We have a “King of all Media,” Howard Stern. We have a “Queen of Clean,” Linda Cobb. We even have a “King of Greasy Goodness” for the “Queen of Clean” to clean up: “Burger King”! But in countries like the Motherland, Great Britain, there is a real Royal Family. And the public can always keep track of where their Monarch is through an ancient tradition. When the ruling Monarch is in residence, the Royal Standard, the flag of the ruling Monarchy of the United Kingdom, flies above. When the Queen is at Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace, the Royal standard flutters overhead. When she is NOT in residence, the Royal Standard is replaced by the Union Flag (the “Union Jack”). At her residences in Scotland, the Royal Standard flies above Holyrood Palace or Balmoral Castle when she is present. When she is absent from the grounds, the ancient Royal Standard of Scotland is hoisted. Long before there were reliable news sources, just one glance overhead would let the citizens of the kingdom know whether their Monarch was present, or where “the King was in the Kingdom.” Maybe it is our lack of any historical connection to a “Royal Residence” that makes us so clueless about the concept of the Kingdom of God when Jesus talks about it. We are not very educated in being a “Kingdom” or even in knowing what “Kingdom come” means. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

14) The King of kings is here! The old Cardinal Hugh Latimer often used to preach before King Henry VIII. It was customary for the Court preacher to present the king with something on his birthday, and Cardinal Latimer presented Henry VIII  with a pocket handkerchief with this text in the corner -‘Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge’; a very suitable text for King Henry. Then he preached very forcefully on the sins of lust, and did not forget the personal application to the King. And the King said that the next time – the next Sunday — when the Cardinal preached, he must apologize. The next Sunday, when the Cardinal stood in the pulpit, he thought to himself, “Latimer, be careful about what you say, the King of England is here.” At the same time a voice in his heart said, “Latimer, Latimer, be careful about what you say, the King of Kings is here.” Strengthened by this, he preached what God wanted him to preach. -Today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. We must enthrone Jesus as our King in our hearts and in our homes. (John Rose in John’s Sunday Homilies). (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

15) Dismas House — built to serve the parolees with “royal priesthood” of Christ the King: The salvation of the ‘good thief’, later named Dismas in Christian thought, reminds me of those heroic people who have tried to bring hope and saving concern to criminals in our society. I remember especially Fr. Jack Hickey, OP, a dynamic and charismatic chaplain at Vanderbilt University. Despite reservations from many quarters, but with help from dedicated lay partners, he founded “Dismas House.” Unlike the setup of other Dismas houses, recent parolees lived and worked with college students in the hope that mutual understanding and healing would take place. In the last years of his life, Jack fought virulent cancer and exercised his ‘royal priesthood’ from his personal cross, serving the parolees. Since his all-too-early death from cancer in January 1987, the movement has blossomed into ten such houses. (John Donahue in Hearing the Word of God). (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

16) The real King? This happened a number of years ago when the late King Baudouin was reigning in Belgium. As the Constitutional Monarch, one of his duties was to “rubber stamp” all the bills passed by Parliament with his signature, thereby officially promulgating them as law. In 1990, the Belgian parliament passed a reprehensible bill that basically removed all legal sanctions against abortions. As a practicing and conscientious Catholic, King Baudouin objected to abortion vehemently, and so he could not and would not endorse the measure. But according to the Constitution, he did not have a choice – as figurehead Monarch, he had to ratify the bill, so by refusing to sign the bill into law, he was, in effect, attempting to veto the parliament, and putting his throne on the line! The parliament simply dethroned him for one day, promulgated the law on that day when there was no reigning monarch in Belgium, and then re-instated him on the next day. Granted, earthly Monarchs need Constitutional limitations to prevent the abuse of power.  But, that’s not true for the Heavenly Monarch, the all-good, all-loving God, for any time we attempt to impede Christ’s reign in our lives, we’re just erecting an obstacle to the good that He could be in our lives.  Clearly then, there’s false comfort and perilous perdition in that illusion of ultimate self-determination: if someone on the street swears at you and says, “Go to Hell!” sure, it’s easy to invoke your autonomy then and shrug it off with the slur, “I’m free – I don’t have to go anywhere I don’t want to go!” Yet when the people who declare self-determination their highest law (and have thus pretended to enthrone themselves as the sovereign moral authority by dethroning Christ the King in their hearts), hear HIM solemnly speak those same words as the judgment of their eternal damnation, they will discover the absolute limits of personal freedom, limits constituted by the True and Almighty King of all Creation. (John Ruscheinsky in Daily Online Reflections’). (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

17) Jesus Wins : George III of England, America’s enemy in the Revolutionary War, felt terrible about the loss of the colonies. It was said, in fact, that for the rest of his life, he could not say the word “independence” without tripping over it. He was an odd duck in many ways, but he had good insights. When the fighting in America stopped, King George and all his royal cronies in Europe were sure that George Washington would have himself crowned “Emperor of the New World.” That’s what they would have done. When he was told, on the contrary, that Washington planned to surrender his military commission and return to farming at Mt. Vernon, George III said, “Well, if he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.” There is power in giving up power, in emptying oneself. Jesus knew it, Pilate didn’t.  Jesus wins, Pilate loses.  (William R. Boyer, A Confusion of the Heart; quoted by Fr. Tony Kaila). (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

18) Freedom Riders : Recently I heard someone tell a story about the experiences of the Freedom Riders in the American South during the ’50s and ’60s and their struggle for civil rights. The story was a vivid illustration of how life changes when Jesus has the last word, when Jesus is King. When the Freedom Riders traveled through the South staging their sit-ins and marches and protests, they were often arrested and jailed. The guardians of racial segregation and the status quo were not going to let them have the last word. While in jail, the Freedom Riders were often treated poorly and brutally in order to break their spirits. They were deprived of food or given lousy food. Noise was blasted and lights were flashed all day and night to keep them from resting. Sometimes even some of their mattresses were removed in order that all would not have a place to sleep.  For a while it seemed to work. Their spirits were drained and discouraged, but never broken. It happened more than once and in more than one jail. Eventually the jail would begin to rock and swing to sounds of Gospel singing. What began as a few weak voices would grow into a thundering and defiant chorus. The Freedom Riders would sing of their Faith and their freedom. Sometimes they would even press their remaining mattresses out of their cells between the bars as they shouted, “You can take our mattresses, but you can’t take our souls!” The Freedom Riders were behind bars in jail, but they were really free. They were supposed to be guilty, but they were really innocent. They were supposedly suffering, but they were actually having a great time. They were supposedly defeated but they were actually victorious. Why? They may not have said it, but they could have: because Jesus has the last word, because Christ is King! [Steven E. Albertin, Against the Grain — Words for a Politically Incorrect Church, (CSS Publishing); quoted by Fr. Tony Kaila.] (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

19) Gandhi’s Strength: In the published diaries of Joseph Goebbels, the infamous Nazi Propagandist, there are two or three references to Mahatma Gandhi. Goebbels believed that Gandhi was a fool and a fanatic. If Gandhi had the sense to organize militarily, Goebbels thought, he might hope to win the freedom of India. He was certain that Gandhi couldn’t succeed by following a path of non-resistance and peaceful revolution. Yet as history played itself out, India peacefully won her independence while the Nazi military machine was destroyed. What Goebbels regarded as weakness actually turned out to be strength. What he thought of as strength turned out to be weakness.  Jesus the King won freedom for mankind and won the hearts of mankind by his death on the cross. (Kevin M. Pleas, Sufficient Grace; quoted by Fr. Tony Kaila) (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

20) Man for All Seasons:   There is a great scene in the play A Man for All Seasons that fits so well here.  You might remember that the play was about the determination of St. Thomas More to stand for the Faith against the persuasion and eventually persecution of Henry VIII of England. In the scene I’m referring to, Henry VIII is trying to coax his second in charge, Thomas More, to agree with him that it is proper for him, the King, to divorce his wife Catherine since she was his sister-in-law and since she did not give birth to a male heir to the Kingdom.  After the King made all his arguments, Thomas More said that he himself was unfit to meddle in this argument and the King should take it to Rome.  Henry VIII retorted that he didn’t need a Pope to tell him what he could or couldn’t do.  Then we come to the center point.  Thomas More asks the King, “Why do you need my support?”  Henry VIII replies with words we would all love to hear said about each of us, “Because, Thomas, you are honest.  And what is plenty in the Kingdom who support me, but some do so only out of fear and others only out of what they can get for their support.  But you are different. And people know it.  That is why I need your support.”        In the presence of integrity, Henry VIII knew who was King and who was subject.  (Quoted by Fr. Tony Kaila) (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

21) St. Ignatius of Antioch: The patron of our parish, St. Ignatius of Antioch, was the second most powerful Christian in the Roman Empire, second only to the Bishop of Rome.  He had written letters to Christians to stand up for the Faith in the face of persecution.  And then he, as a venerable old man, was arrested.  He was put on a ship that would eventually end up sending its cargo to Rome.  There he would be fed to the lions in the Coliseum.  Many early Christians could not bear the thought of losing Ignatius.  He was too important, too needed in the Church.  They plotted to raise money to bribe the sailors in one of the ports the ship would stop before reaching Rome.  They had plenty of time to do so, the trip would take two to three years.  Evidently, they also had  plenty of money.  Wealthy Christians were determined to save Ignatius.  They just didn’t understand Ignatius’ integrity.  He was not going to buy his way out of a fate that he had encouraged others to have the courage to accept.  Nor was he going to use  some sort of skillful legalese to save his skin. So he walked into the Coliseum with the other Christians in control of the direction of his life.  He was a frail old man; yet, he was more powerful than the lions who would destroy him or the Romans who did not have the courage to stop the absurd spectacle.  Ignatius was a man of integrity.—–   Ignatius of Antioch and Thomas More and so many others followed Jesus Christ in being people of integrity.  The powerful Pilate could have Jesus tortured and killed, and he did, but Pilate himself remained a prisoner because he lived a lie.  And Jesus remained a King because he testified to the truth to his last breath. (Quoted by Fr. Tony Kaila) (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

22) “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”  St Thomas More is the patron saint of politicians. He was a brilliant lawyer and diplomat in 16th century England. His patriotism and loyalty to the throne attracted the attention of King Henry VIII who made him Lord Chancellor of England.  What Henry VIII did not know was that Thomas More’s first loyalty was to Christ, the King of kings. When Henry VIII, decided to divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon, marry Anne Boleyn, and make himself head of the Church of England, More knew this was not right. Rather than approve what he believed to be against the Divine will, he resigned from his prestigious and wealthy position as Lord Chancellor and lived a life of poverty. Since he would not give his support to the king, the King had More was arrested, convicted of treason, imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1534 and beheaded in July of the following year. On his way to public execution, More encouraged the people to remain steadfast in the Faith. His last recorded words were: “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.” For More, it was not simply enough to confess Christ privately in the safety of one’s heart and home; one must also confess him in one’s business and professional life as well as in the laws and policies that govern society. (Fr. Munacci; quoted by Fr. Tony Kaila). (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

23) King with a difference: In the year 200AD Jingo, the Empress of Japan, invaded Korea. Following the defeat, the Korean king placed valuable treasures before the empress and promised to pay “homage and send tribute until the sun no longer rises in the East, but comes from the West; until the courses of the rivers turn backwards and the river pebbles ascend and become stars in Heaven.” When the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon, she crossed the Sahara desert into Israel with more than 797 camels, donkeys, and mules too numerous to count. She gave the king 120 talents of gold, a very great store of spices, and precious stones. The value of the gold alone, which she gave to King Solomon, was of great worth. (1 Kings 10:2-5) It was customary, in the ancient world, to place great treasures and gifts before the emperors and kings to please them.

When the Magi heard about the birth of a King for the Jews they set out with royal offerings- Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. After 33 years, the same king stood elevated on the cross with the inscription INRI, (Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum – “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”). By placing this title Pilate on Jesus’ cross, Pilate had made an involuntary, but historical proclamation that Jesus is the King not only of the Jews but of the Universe. Many a time such involuntary proclamations of Jesus’ Kingship are heard from unbelievers. The soldiers made a crown of long, sharp thorns and put it on his head, and they put a royal purple robe on him, and shouted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” (Jn 19:2-3) Fr. Bobby Jose). (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

24) “I have nothing more to give”: Some years ago divers located a 400-year-old sunken ship off the coast of

Northern Ireland. Among the treasures they found on the ship was a man’s wedding ring. When they cleaned it up, they noticed that it had an inscription on it. Etched on the wide band was a hand holding a heart. Under the etching were these words: “I have nothing more to give you.” Of all the treasures found on that sunken ship, none moved the divers more than that ring and its beautiful inscription. The etching on that ring and its inscription “I have nothing more to give” -could have been placed on the cross of Christ. – Mark Link. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

25) Brothers and Sisters of the King: Sometimes Americans wonder why the English bother with the monarchy, since the Queen is little more than a figurehead with no authority. Yet, within most people there is a wish for a person to whom we can look up, someone who personifies dignity and wins our respect, a person who makes us feel better about ourselves. Many Americans found that kind of a person in the election of John F. Kennedy as President of the United States. He was young, handsome, intelligent and articulate. He was married to a beautiful woman who, it seemed to us, had become his Queen. The White House became known as Camelot. The United States had a family to whom many Americans attributed royalty. But on Friday Nov. 22, 1963 the dream was shattered with the President’s assassination. The dream of Camelot was gone, and the illusion of royalty was dimmed. All along we had been looking in the wrong direction, towards the White House as if it were a palace. We should have been looking back at Calvary, because the cross is truly the throne of Christ the King. We do not need an earthly sovereign to give us self-respect. Our King is truly royal. His kingdom is not an imaginary Camelot. It is an eternal and universal Kingdom, a Kingdom of truth and life, a Kingdom of holiness and grace, a Kingdom of justice love and peace. Our King is Christ the Lord. (Charles Miller in Sunday preaching; quoted by Fr. Botelho) (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

26) Won’t you come down, King? A king once fell in love with a poor girl. At first, he thought of simply bringing her to the palace and marrying her, but he realized this wouldn’t work since she would soon realize the immense difference in their backgrounds and not be happy. After much reflection, he decided to renounce his kingdom and go and live near her, so that she’d realize how deeply he loved her. Shocking one and all, he left the palace. This story –adapted from philosopher Kierkegaard’s original –somehow reveals to us the great love of our king Jesus Christ, who ‘comes down’ that we might be raised up. (Francis Gonsalves in Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds; quoted by Fr. Botelho).

27) “I could have been down there.” There is a story about a South Dakota rancher which reminded me that many of us know how near the Kingdom really is, but we just don’t talk about it in that way. The story goes that following the disastrous winter of 1997 with its many blizzards and ice storms, and its record losses of cattle, an older rancher welcomed several helping professionals to his ranch. They had come to visit with him on behalf of his Church, and to assess the extent of his losses from these disasters. He led them out to a hill in the pasture near his ranch, and told them they were standing on the grave of his herd of cattle. All but a small number had been frozen to death in an early April storm. The visitors were stunned by the enormity of his loss, and by his matter-of-fact manner in relating it to them. They questioned and probed a bit for some sense of his feelings about all of this, until he responded… as many South Dakotans did in the face of such disasters: “Well, it could have been worse.” The visitors were more sure than ever that this man must be deep in denial to have such an attitude about losing his life’s work in one weekend storm. They questioned and probed a bit more. How could it have possibly been worse? Having been pushed to explain himself, and probably having sized up the visitors as city folks, he finally responded by pointing down to the hill or grave they were standing on and said, “I could have been down there.” The story speaks volumes to me about rural people and their daily understanding of the nearness of the Kingdom of God. (Rev. Andrea DeGroot-Nesdhal). (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

28) Christ the King on the day of Last Judgment:  “Whatever you did for one of the least brothers of Mine, you did for Me.” A story is told of a priest assigned in a seminary who took his sabbatical year in Kolkata, India to work with Mother Teresa. Towards the end of his sabbatical, he wondered what he could take back to his seminarians. Thinking back, he remembered how Mother Teresa received Holy Communion: her eyes and face glowed with love for Jesus as she expressed the desire to give him back her love completely. For the priest, that was understandable for she was then already known as ‘a living saint.’ But what he could not understand was what he saw one evening when she was with a sick person. The same glow in her eyes and face was present when she was attending to him. Reflecting on these two experiences, the priest discovered why. For Mother Teresa, that sick person was Jesus himself for did he not say: “Whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Do we see Jesus’ face in others, especially the poor, needy, marginalized, deprived, downtrodden, sick and suffering, and so on? Jesus meets us in their disguise. They are his true face. (Fr. Lakra) (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/

29) “Please, don’t be angry with me, my brother.” Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910 C.E.), the great Russian author was also a great Christian who took seriously the demands of the Great Sermon (Matthew 5-7) and attempted to live his life accordingly. One day a beggar stopped him while he was out walking and asked him for alms. Tolstoy searched his pockets for a coin but finding none he said with regret. “Please, don’t be angry with me, my brother, but I have nothing with me. If I did, I would gladly give it to you.” At that, the beggar’s face brightened with joy. “You have given me more than I asked for”, he said, “You have called me brother!” Tolstoy had not only grasped the intent of the Great Sermon but he had also penetrated the truth of today’s Gospel. He regarded the poor man, asking for alms, as a brother because he had understood and made his own the great commandment (Matthew 22:37). But he had also learned to see the face of Christ in the poor, and because of that insight, he met the criteria of judgment set forth for our consideration in this Matthean text. (Sanchez Fles). (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/ L/20

Scriptural Homilies” Cycle A (No. 60) by Fr. Tony: akadavil@gmail.com

Visit my website by clicking on http://frtonyshomilies.com/ for missed or previous Cycle A homilies, 141 Year of Faith “Adult Faith Formation Lessons” (useful for RCIA classes too) & 197 “Question of the Week.” Contact me only at akadavil@gmail.com. Visit https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies  under CBCI or  Fr. Tony for my website version. (Special thanks to Vatican Radio website- http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html -which completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020) Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604