As we come to the end of another liturgical year, the Church celebrates the “kingship” of Christ. But just what kind of king is Jesus, exactly? Today’s Gospel speaks of Jesus as both Shepherd and King. Today, we meet not the comforting Good Shepherd, gathering the lost lamb close to his heart; rather, it is the more sobering figure of the King “separating” the sheep from the goats, calling each to account for their choices.
Over the past few years, we have become conscious of the dangers of accumulated debt: mortgage debt, credit card debt, student debt, budget deficits, national debt. After long periods of growth in our financial markets, we are beginning to see the results of years of living beyond our means. Now, many are feeling the pinch. In the world of finance, there is risk involved in any investment. So what shall we do? Pull all our money out of the banks and hide it under a mattress?
Whenever we speak of “church”, we often have to clarify whether we mean the faith community, the institution that structures the community, or the building where that community gathers. Today’s Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica reminds us that our faith reaches into the clay from which we are made. We celebrate this building—the Pope’s own cathedral, the mother of all churches. Why? Because as humans, we need things (like our church buildings) that speak to our senses, that point us to deeper spiritual values.
Hallowe’en. All Saints Day. All Souls Day. Remembrance Day. November comes upon us, and we see the signs of death in nature: fallen leaves; wet and windy days; long and chilly nights. It is a time when we naturally ponder our own mortality, finitude, and vulnerability. Our faith takes death seriously. “Dead serious”, you might say!! But it also tells us that death is not the final answer.
Pope Francis Invites Quebecers to Honour Missionary Heritage
October 15, 2014
In a Mass of Thanksgiving for the canonization of two new Canadian saints, Pope Francis prayed that Quebec might return to a “path of fruitfulness, to giving the world many missionaries.” François de Laval, the first Bishop of Quebec, and Marie de l’Incarnation, the founder of the Ursulines in Canada, were declared saints by equivalent canonization in April.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend, our readings speak to us of a wedding banquet to which all are invited: of feasts of rich food and well-aged wines, of a Good Shepherd who prepares for us a table of plenty. Images that are familiar to us as we sit down to roast turkey and pumpkin pie – or whatever special food and drink we enjoy when feasting with family and friends. And yet, not all will sit down this weekend to a bountiful table, surrounded by family and friends: the sick, the lonely, the poor, the homeless. What will they have to be thankful for?
At our Masses this weekend, we highlight a beautiful sign of the Lord’s healing power: the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. Here at St. Monica’s, we have a significant number of seniors and other homebound individuals who are ministered to by their fellow parishioners. Many of them have made a special effort to be here this weekend, and we are pleased to welcome them. They belong to us and are tremendous intercessors on behalf of the many needs of the parish.
In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus describes two kinds of people: those who initially say “no”, but then follow through on what they were asked; and those who say “yes” immediately, but fail to follow through. Which of these descriptions fits you more accurately? With which of these people would you rather work, or serve on a parish committee? Obviously, it isn’t enough just to say “yes”; we have to really mean it, and follow through on it. If we can’t do something, we save ourselves and others a lot of grief if we admit that up front, without raising false expectations. We need to “walk the talk!”