What Dreams May Come / Los Sueños Que Pueden Venir

My family and close friends sometimes ask me to interpret their dreams, and I have become good at it, even doing research into dream analysis to improve my skills. My own dreams frequently include symbolic representations of what is going on in my life, especially when I am experiencing a lot of anxiety. And on occasion I have even had dreams that gave me insight into what course to follow when faced with a difficult decision.

Modern dream interpretation is based on psychology and our understanding of the unconscious mind. If I were going to take a shot at interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as Daniel does in today’s first reading, I would suggest that he fears the loss of his power, that no matter how big he builds himself up to be, he could lose it all in an unexpected way. Daniel interprets the dream as a prophetic vision of the eventual downfall of human kingdoms in favor of the Kingdom of God.

God’s Kingdom, Daniel says, will start with a small stone but will grow into a mountain that fills the whole earth. This reminds me that King David defeated the powerful giant Goliath with a small stone. And of course I think of the spread of Christianity from Jesus and his small group of followers throughout the whole world.

In the Gospel Jesus foretells the destruction of another man made edifice, the temple: “All that you see here–the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

But Jesus cautions his listeners about thinking that they themselves are prophetic visionaries who can predict the end of the world, and he warns them strongly against following anyone else who claims to be. Time and again I see people declaring that we must be in the end times, citing as evidence “wars and insurrections . . . nation [rising] against nation, and kingdom against kingdom . . . powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues.” But I ask you when in recorded history have we ever been free of these things? 

That’s why whenever I hear a claim about the upcoming end of the world I assert with confidence that it must be wrong because of what Jesus said in Matthew 25:13: “You know neither the day nor the hour.”

What we do know and can believe with assurance is that our faith must not be in the works of man but in the works of the Lord, to whom we owe glory and eternal praise.

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Mi familia y mis amigos cercanos a veces me piden que interprete sus sueños, y me he vuelto buena en eso, incluso investigando sobre el análisis de los sueños para mejorar mis habilidades. Mis propios sueños frecuentemente incluyen representaciones simbólicas de lo que está pasando en mi vida, especialmente cuando estoy experimentando mucha ansiedad. Y en ocasiones incluso he tenido sueños que me dieron una idea de cual camino seguir cuando me enfrentaba con una decisión difícil.

La interpretación moderna de los sueños se basa en la psicología y la comprensión de la mente inconsciente. Si intentara interpretar el sueño de Nabucodonosor como lo hace Daniel en la primera lectura de hoy, sugeriría que él teme la pérdida de su poder, que no importa cuán grande sea, podría perderlo todo de una manera inesperada. Daniel interpreta el sueño como una visión profética de la eventual caída de los reinos humanos a favor del Reino de Dios.

El Reino de Dios, dice Daniel, comenzará con una piedra pequeña pero crecerá hasta convertirse en una montaña que llene toda la tierra. Esto me recuerda que el rey David derrotó al poderoso gigante Goliat con una pequeña piedra. Y, por supuesto, pienso en la difusión del cristianismo desde Jesús y su pequeño grupo de seguidores al mundo entero.

En el Evangelio, Jesús predice la destrucción de otro edificio hecho por el hombre, el templo: “Días vendrán en que no quedará piedra sobre piedra de todo esto que están admirando; todo será destruido”.

Pero Jesús advierte a sus oyentes que no piensen que ellos mismos son visionarios proféticos que pueden predecir el fin del mundo, y les advierte enfáticamente que no sigan a nadie que diga que lo puede hacer. Una y otra vez veo personas que declaran que debemos estar en los últimos tiempos, citando como evidencia “guerras y revoluciones… una nación contra otra y un reino contra otro. En diferentes lugares habrá grandes terremotos, epidemias y hambre”. Pero les pregunto, ¿cuándo en la historia registrada hemos estado alguna vez libres de estas cosas?

Por eso que cada vez que escucho una afirmación sobre el próximo fin del mundo, afirmo con confianza que debe estar mal debido a lo que dijo Jesús en Mateo 25,13: “No sabes ni el día ni la hora”.

Lo que sí sabemos y podemos creer con certeza es que nuestra fe no debe estar en las obras de los hombres sino en las obras del Señor, a quien debemos la gloria y la alabanza para siempre.

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Leslie Sholly is a Catholic, Southern wife and mother of five, living in her hometown, Knoxville, Tennessee. She graduated from Georgetown University with an English major and Theology minor. She blogs at Life in Every Limb, where for 11 years she has covered all kinds of topics, more recently focusing on the intersection of faith, politics, and social justice.

Feature Image Credit: Levi Meir Clancy, unsplash.com/photos/LheHIV3XpGM

Tuesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Dn 2:31-45

Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar:
“In your vision, O king, you saw a statue,
very large and exceedingly bright,
terrifying in appearance as it stood before you.
The head of the statue was pure gold,
its chest and arms were silver,
its belly and thighs bronze, the legs iron,
its feet partly iron and partly tile.
While you looked at the statue,
a stone which was hewn from a mountain
without a hand being put to it,
struck its iron and tile feet, breaking them in pieces.
The iron, tile, bronze, silver, and gold all crumbled at once,
fine as the chaff on the threshing floor in summer,
and the wind blew them away without leaving a trace.
But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain
and filled the whole earth.

“This was the dream;
the interpretation we shall also give in the king’s presence.
You, O king, are the king of kings;
to you the God of heaven
has given dominion and strength, power and glory;
men, wild beasts, and birds of the air, wherever they may dwell,
he has handed over to you, making you ruler over them all;
you are the head of gold.
Another kingdom shall take your place, inferior to yours,
then a third kingdom, of bronze,
which shall rule over the whole earth.
There shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron;
it shall break in pieces and subdue all these others,
just as iron breaks in pieces and crushes everything else.
The feet and toes you saw, partly of potter’s tile and partly of iron,
mean that it shall be a divided kingdom,
but yet have some of the hardness of iron.
As you saw the iron mixed with clay tile,
and the toes partly iron and partly tile,
the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.
The iron mixed with clay tile
means that they shall seal their alliances by intermarriage,
but they shall not stay united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
In the lifetime of those kings
the God of heaven will set up a kingdom
that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people;
rather, it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms
and put an end to them, and it shall stand forever.
That is the meaning of the stone you saw hewn from the mountain
without a hand being put to it,
which broke in pieces the tile, iron, bronze, silver, and gold.
The great God has revealed to the king what shall be in the future;
this is exactly what you dreamed, and its meaning is sure.”

Responsorial Psalm Dn 3:57, 58, 59, 60, 61

R. (59b) Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“You heavens, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.

Alleluia Rev 2:10c

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain faithful until death,
And I will give you the crown of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 21:5-11

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

St. James of the Marches

St. James of the Marches

Feast date: Nov 28

St. James of the Marches was a Franciscan priest in the 15th century. He was born into a poor family in Monteprandone, Italy in 1391 and was educated by his uncle who was a priest. He continued his education, eventually achieving the degree of Doctor in Canon and Civil Law from the University of Perugia. He worked for some time as a tutor in a noble family, but on July 26, 1416, he was received into the order of Friars Minor in the Chapel of the Portiuncula in Assisi.

After completing his novitiate, he studied theology under St. Bernardine of Siena. On June 13, 1420, St. James was ordained a priest, and soon began to preach in Tuscany, in the Marches, and in Umbria. For half a century, he continued as a missionary and preacher. St James of the Marches preached penance, combated heretics, and was on legations in Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Bohemia, Poland, Hungary, and Bosnia. He was also appointed inquisitor against the Fratelli, a heretic sect that dissented from the Franciscans on the vow of poverty, among other things. He was offered the See of Milan in 1460, but he refused it.

Inspired by St. Jame’s apostolic example, more than 200 young men of Germany were impelled to enter the Franciscan Order. The crowds who came to hear him were so great that the churches were not large enough to accommodate them, and it became imperative for him to preach in the public squares. At Milan he was instrumental in converting 36 women of bad repute by a single sermon on St. Mary Magdalen. It is said that he brought 50,000 heretics into the Church and led 200,000 nonbelievers to baptism. In addition, God granted St James such wisdom that popes and princes sought counsel from him. He possessed the gifts or miracles and of prophesy in great measure, yet his humility surpassed all those distinctions. On Easter Monday, 1462, St. James, while preaching at Brescia, repeated the ideas of some theologians that the Precious Blood shed during the Passion was not united with the Divinity of Christ during the three days of His burial. He was accused of heresy for saying that, but no discussion or resolution was ever granted to his case, and the matter was ignored or forgotten. James spent the last three years of his life at Naples, and was buried there in the Franciscan church of St. Maria la Nuova, where his body can be seen today.

He was beatified by Urban VIII in 1624 and was canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726. Naples venerates him as one of its patron saints.

Saint Catherine Laboure

Saint Catherine Laboure

Feast date: Nov 28

On November 28, the Church honors St. Catherine Labouré, the humble Daughter of Charity to whom Mary appeared, requesting that the Miraculous Medal be stamped so that all who wear it would receive great graces.

Saint Catherine Labouré was born in France on May 2, 1806. She was the ninth of 11 children. Upon her mother’s death, when Catherine was eight years old, the young girl assumed the responsibilities of the household. It was said of her that she was a very quiet and practical child.

Eventually she became a Daughter of Charity, and when she was still a novice at the age of 24, the Virgin Mary appeared to her for the first time. Later, Mary appeared once again and requested that Catherine have a medal made portraying Mary just as she appeared.

It took two years before Catherine was able to convince her spiritual director to have the medal created, but eventually, he listened to her and 2,000 medals were made. Their dispersal was so rapid and effective that it was said to be miraculous itself.

After the visions ceased, St. Catherine Labouré spent the rest of her life in humble and obedient service as the portress, and worked with the sick in a convent outside of Paris. She spent that time in silence, not telling her superior that she was the one to whom Mary appeared and gave the medal until 45 years after.

She died in Paris on December 31, 1876 and was canonized in 1947 by Pope Pius XII. Her incorrupt body lies in the crypt of the convent.

What is the Lord Asking of Us? / ¿Qué Nos Pide el Señor?

Today we hear the story of the widow’s mite. Jesus watches the wealthy put their gifts in the basket and then observes the poor widow putting her two coins into the basket also. He is struck by the fact that the wealthier are putting in gifts that come out of their surplus. The poor widow gives all she has with two small coins. 

Many years ago I had a few little mites. They were supposedly copies of what one actually  looked like. They would be easy to lose. They were about the size of 1/3 of a nickel.

Jesus was looking at the hearts of the wealthy and that of the poor widow. He saw a big difference between the two. One seemed to be giving out of duty whereas the widow gave from her heart. The collections at that time were used to help the poor. But wait! The widow was already poor and she was giving. In fact, Jesus says that she gave all she had. 

I saw this happen with one of my friends. He knew an Afro-American preacher in Ohio. He was serving the poor and barely had enough to provide for his family. My friend cleaned out his life savings and gave it to the preacher. I was shocked! His faith in God was over the top! He had no savings for backup. He was basically working from paycheck to paycheck at the time. Guess what? The Lord took care of him and his family! It was a great lesson for me!

Perhaps, we need to ask ourselves at certain times in our lives could we have been more generous to help those in need? I am sure I have failed in that area more than once. I don’t like that feeling. So looking back at that poor widow and my friend, what can we do to be more generous in our lives to those that need help in one area or another. It’s not always about money, it also includes reaching out and helping others in their need. Could we be the first one to lend a helping hand? 

Serving with joy!

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Hoy escuchamos la historia del óbolo de la viuda. Jesús observa a los ricos poner sus ofrendas en la canasta y luego observa a la viuda pobre que también pone sus dos monedas en la canasta. Le llama la atención el hecho de que los más ricos están poniendo ofrendas de lo que les sobra. La viuda pobre da todo lo que tiene con dos moneditas.

Hace muchos años tuve unas pequeñas mitas. Supuestamente eran copias de como realmente eran. Serían fáciles de perder. Eran del tamaño de 1/3 de una moneda de cinco centavos.

Jesús miraba el corazón de los ricos y el de la viuda pobre. Vio una gran diferencia entre los dos. Uno parecía estar dando por deber mientras que la viuda dio de corazón. Las colectas en ese momento se usaron para ayudar a los pobres. ¡Un momento! La viuda ya era pobre y estaba dando. De hecho, Jesús dice que ella dio todo lo que tenía. 

Vi que esto sucedió con uno de mis amigos. Conocía a un predicador afroamericano en Ohio. Estaba sirviendo a los pobres y apenas tenía lo suficiente para mantener a su familia. Mi amigo vació los ahorros de toda su vida y se los dio al predicador. ¡Me quedé impactado! ¡Su fe en Dios era exagerada! No tenía ahorros como respaldo. Básicamente estaba trabajando de cheque en cheque en ese momento. ¿Adivina qué pasó? ¡El Señor cuidó de él y su familia! ¡Fue una gran lección para mí!

Quizás, debemos preguntarnos en ciertos momentos de nuestras vidas, ¿podríamos haber sido más generosos para ayudar a los necesitados? Estoy seguro de que he fallado en esa área más de una vez. No me gusta ese sentimiento. Mirando hacia atrás a esa pobre viuda y a mi amigo, ¿qué podemos hacer para ser más generosos en nuestras vidas con aquellos que necesitan ayuda en un área u otra? No siempre se trata de dinero, también incluye extender la mano y ayudar a otros en sus necesidades. ¿Podríamos ser los primeros en echar una mano?

¡Sirviendo con alegría!

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Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Rosie Sun, unsplash.com/photos/rTwhmFSoXC8

Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Dn 1:1-6, 8-20

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah,
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came
and laid siege to Jerusalem.
The Lord handed over to him Jehoiakim, king of Judah,
and some of the vessels of the temple of God;
he carried them off to the land of Shinar,
and placed the vessels in the temple treasury of his god.

The king told Ashpenaz, his chief chamberlain,
to bring in some of the children of Israel of royal blood
and of the nobility, young men without any defect,
handsome, intelligent and wise,
quick to learn, and prudent in judgment,
such as could take their place in the king’s palace;
they were to be taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans;
after three years’ training they were to enter the king’s service.
The king allotted them a daily portion of food and wine
from the royal table.
Among these were men of Judah: Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah.

But Daniel was resolved not to defile himself
with the king’s food or wine;
so he begged the chief chamberlain to spare him this defilement.
Though God had given Daniel the favor and sympathy
of the chief chamberlain, he nevertheless said to Daniel,
“I am afraid of my lord the king;
it is he who allotted your food and drink.
If he sees that you look wretched
by comparison with the other young men of your age,
you will endanger my life with the king.”
Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief chamberlain
had put in charge of Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah,
“Please test your servants for ten days.
Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.
Then see how we look in comparison with the other young men
who eat from the royal table,
and treat your servants according to what you see.”
He acceded to this request, and tested them for ten days;
after ten days they looked healthier and better fed
than any of the young men who ate from the royal table.
So the steward continued to take away
the food and wine they were to receive, and gave them vegetables.
To these four young men God gave knowledge and proficiency
in all literature and science,
and to Daniel the understanding of all visions and dreams.
At the end of the time the king had specified for their preparation,
the chief chamberlain brought them before Nebuchadnezzar.
When the king had spoken with all of them,
none was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah;
and so they entered the king’s service.
In any question of wisdom or prudence which the king put to them,
he found them ten times better
than all the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom.

Responsorial Psalm Dn 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56

R. (52b) Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
praiseworthy and glorious above all forever.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you on the throne of your Kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you who look into the depths
from your throne upon the cherubim,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,
praiseworthy and glorious forever.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!

Alleluia Mt 24:42a, 44

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stay awake!
For you do not know when the Son of Man will come.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 21:1-4

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people
putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, “I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

St. James Intercisus

St. James Intercisus

Feast date: Nov 27

A soldier and courtier to King Yezdigerd I of Persia in the early fifth century, James was a Christian who, during Yezdigerd’s persecution of Christians, renounced his faith for fear of death.

His family, who had not apostacized, contacted James upon the death of the king, and thus the end of the persecution, and chastised him for having renounced his Heavenly King before the worldy king of Persia.

Upon hearing the rebukes of his family for the denial of his faith, James was thrown into a deep crisis of conscience, and he went through a true, deep conversion, uniting and conforming himself to the living God. Wanting to make amends, he professed his faith before the new king, Bahram and was condemned to death.

He is referred to as ‘Intercisus’ because the name literally means ‘hacked to pieces,’ and this name was given to him documenting the manner of his death. He was hung from a beam and slowly cut into 28 pieces, beginning with his fingers and then his toes, hands, and so forth until his beheading, the final cut.

Even though the crowd, made up of many Christians, urged him to renounce his faith and worship the sun because they could not bear to see him suffer such excruciating torture, he never renounced his faith. Instead, he made every piece cut from his body an offering to the Living God, and won the crown of martyrdom.

James Intercisus is the patron saint of lost vocations and torture victims.

St. Sechnall of Ireland

Feast date: Nov 27

St. Sechnall was born in 375, and around the year 439 was sent from Gaul to assist his uncle, Saint Patrick, in Ireland, together with Auxilius and Iserninus in thier missionary work there. He became the first bishop of Dunslaughlin in Meath, and then auxiliary bishop of Armagh.

He wrote several hymns, notably the alphabetical hymn Audites, omnes amantes Deum (the oldest known Latin hymn written in Ireland) in honor of Patrick and the earliest Latin hymn in Ireland, and Sancti, venite, Christi corpus sumite.

He died in 447, and his feast day is November 27.

Printed with permission from Catholic-Defense.

St. Francesco Antonio Fasani

St. Francesco Antonio Fasani

Feast date: Nov 27

St. Francesco (Francis) Antonio Fasani was born as Giovanneillo in Lucera, Italy in 1681, the son of Giuseppe Fasani and Isabella Della Monaca. He entered the Conventual Franciscans in 1695 and took the names of St. Francis and St. Anthony. He spent much of his time studying, and was ordained a priest 10 years after entering the order. He then taught philosophy to younger friars, served as the guardian of his friary, and later became provincial of his order. When his term of office as provincial ended, Francesco became a novice-master, and eventually pastor in his hometown. In all his various ministries, he was loving, devout and penitential. He was a sought-after confessor and preacher. One witness at the canonical hearings regarding Francesco’s holiness testified, “In his preaching he spoke in a familiar way, filled as he was with the love of God and neighbor; fired by the Spirit, he made use of the words and deed of Holy Scripture, stirring his listeners and moving them to do penance.” Francesco showed himself a loyal friend of the poor, never hesitating to seek from benefactors what was needed. He was also a mystic, known for his deep prayer life and supernatural gifts, and was known to levitate while praying. The people of Lucera were known to compare him with St. Francis of Assisi, from whom he derived his name. He died in 1742 and was canonized in 1986.

Christ Our King / Cristo Rey Nuestro

It seems that only when our lives are turned upside down do we realize what is truly important. Only when what we deemed important is no longer there, do we understand that so many things are actually rather unimportant. So what IS important? While the answer may vary somewhat, a few things should not falter to us as Christians. 

First and foremost, God is important. He is so important that we wouldn’t exist without Him and our lives would be void of meaning. Secondly, people are important. Lately I have been reminded again and again about the importance of hospitality. It does not matter if someone breaks one of my kids’ toys or spills on my carpet. What matters is that I am spending time with loved ones and welcoming them into my home. I am showing them that they matter to me and are not forgotten. Thirdly, what we do for/with God and for/with people is important. God has given us a set of Commandments to follow and Christ as a solid example to imitate. He has also given us people to interact with and share with. What is it that we share? How do we interact? 

It all comes down to the importance we place on living for God alone. Is Christ truly my King? If He is my King then that implies that a whole lot of other people (and things) are not my king. There can only be one King. If devotedness is divided, chaos ensues and perhaps even betrayal. 

Today’s readings portray these thoughts so well. In the first reading, God promises to look after, tend, rescue, pasture, give rest to, seek out, bring back, bind up and heal his sheep. All of these words evoke tenderness and care, love and compassion. Then he says: “but the sleek and the strong I will destroy, shepherding them rightly.” He lets us know that if we humble ourselves and allow Him to be King, He will care for us, but if we choose pride, he will discipline us. 

The second reading similarly speaks of proper order, Christ first and then those who belong to Him. It also speaks of destroying every sovereignty, authority and power, and everything being subjected to Him, “so that God may be all in all”. Once again, we are asked to step down from our soap boxes, our makeshift thrones, and allow Christ to govern us and guide us. 

And lastly, the Gospel is the parable of the sheep and the goats, reminding us that whatsoever we do to others, we do it to God. “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”

May the Holy Spirit remind us loud and clear today, as we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King, that God seeks humble vessels to carry out His work and that He is the one and only true King, no matter how much we might (inadvertently) convince ourselves otherwise. Christ My King, reign in my heart today and always. May You be what is truly important to me, my All!

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Parece que solo cuando nuestras vidas se ponen patas arriba nos damos cuenta de lo que es verdaderamente importante. Solo cuando lo que considerábamos importante ya no está, comprendemos que tantas cosas son en realidad poco importantes. Entonces, ¿qué ES importante? Si bien la respuesta puede variar un poco, algunas cosas no deberían faltar para nosotros como cristianos.

En primer lugar, Dios es importante. Es tan importante que no existiríamos sin Él y nuestras vidas no tendrían significado. En segundo lugar, las personas son importantes. Últimamente me he acordado una y otra vez de la importancia de la hospitalidad. No importa si alguien rompe uno de los juguetes de mis hijos o se cae algo que mancha mi alfombra. Lo importante es pasar tiempo con los seres queridos y darles la bienvenida.  Les estoy mostrando que me importan y que no me olvido de ellos. En tercer lugar, es importante lo que hacemos por/con Dios y por/con las personas. Dios nos ha dado un conjunto de Mandamientos a seguir y Cristo como un sólido ejemplo a imitar. También nos ha dado personas con las que interactuamos y compartimos. ¿Qué es lo que compartimos? ¿Cómo interactuamos?

Todo se trata de la importancia que le damos a vivir solo para Dios. ¿Cristo verdaderamente es mi Rey? Si es mi Rey, eso implica que muchas otras personas (y cosas) no son mi rey. Puede haber un solo Rey. Si la devoción se divide, sobreviene el caos y tal vez incluso la traición.

Las lecturas de hoy demuestran muy bien estos pensamientos. En la primera lectura, Dios promete ir a buscar, velar, apacentar, hacer reposar, buscar, hacer volver, curar y robustecer a sus ovejas. Todas estas palabras evocan ternura y cuidado, amor y compasión. Luego dice: “a la que está gorda y fuerte, la cuidaré. Yo las apacentaré con justicia.” Nos hace saber que si nos humillamos y le permitimos ser Rey, nos guardará, pero si elegimos el orgullo, nos disciplinará.

La segunda lectura también habla del orden propio, primero Cristo y luego los que le pertenecen. Tiene que destruir toda soberanía, autoridad y potestad, para que todo esté sujeto a Él, “así Dios será todo en todas las cosas”. Una vez más, se nos pide que dejemos nuestro orgullo, nuestros tronos improvisados, y permitamos que Cristo nos gobierne y nos guíe.

Y por último, el Evangelio es la parábola de las ovejas y las cabras, recordándonos que todo lo que hacemos a los demás, se lo hacemos a Dios. “[E]stuve hambriento y me dieron de comer, sediento y me dieron de beber, era forastero y me hospedaron, estuve desnudo y me vistieron, enfermo y me visitaron, encarcelado y fueron a verme”.

Que el Espíritu Santo nos recuerde en voz alto hoy, mientras celebramos la Solemnidad de Cristo Rey, que Dios busca vasos humildes para llevar a cabo Su obra y que Él es el único y verdadero Rey, por mucho que podamos (sin darnos cuenta) ) convencernos de lo contrario. Cristo Mi Rey, reina en mi corazón hoy y siempre. ¡Que Tú seas lo verdaderamente importante para mí, mi Todo!

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Feature Image Credit: Angie Menes, cathopic.com/photo/7940-jesucristo-rey-del-universo

Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works full time, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.