19 Nov 2011

20th November 2011 - Solemnity of Christ the Universal King (and Reflection on the Sacrament of Reconciliation)

On this weeks show we begin a new series on the Sacraments which we are going to be doing over the next few months beginning with Reconciliation which Lorraine gives us a few thoughts and reflections on. We also go through this weeks gospel which is the last reading from Matthew in this liturgical year as well as our celestial guides and some local notices for the week.

A reminder to all our listeners and readers that next week is the first Sunday of Advent, Year B in the lectionary cycle so we will be using the gospel of Mark for Sunday readings for the next twelve months.

Of course for English speaking Catholics, next Sunday sees the full introduction of the revised translation of the Roman Missal, the third since the second Vatican Council authorised that the liturgy could be in the vernacular. For those of you that may have missed our show on the revised translation, check out our Revised Translation Page where we have resources and links for you to read and listen to.

This weeks podcast is available HERE.

Sacrament of Reconciliation

Source: Return of the Prodigal Son - Rembrandt
This week we begin a new series on the programme looking at the Sacraments as understood by the church, sources and moments of grace in our lives.

Lorraine begins the series by reflecting on the Sacrament of Reconciliation (a.k.a. Confession and Penance). The following are some notes and thoughts for reflection on the sacrament but we would encourage you to listen to the podcast.

We would encourage people to go back to the Sacrament of Reconciliation especially as part of your Advent preparation for Christmas. It doesn't matter how long it has been or even if you forget how it is done. When you go in, tell the priest it has been a while and say you might need some guidance on how to do things. No one is going to pass judgement but rather it will be a case of "Welcome home again".

If it has been a while, you might these links to the examination of conscience may be helpful in your preparation for receiving the sacrament (we will be adding more over the next couple of days if you don't find any that appeal to you check back):

What is the Sacrament called?

The Sacrament of...
  • Conversion: it “makes sacramentally present Jesus' call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father” (CCC 1423; cf. Mk 1:15; Lk 15:18)
  • Penance: it “consecrates the Christian sinner's personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction” (CCC 1423)
  • Confession: we confess our sins to the priest and in doing so we are ‘confessing’ (acknowledging and praising) our trust in God’s mercy and holiness (cf. CCC 1424)
  • Forgiveness: “since by the priest's sacramental absolution God grants the penitent ‘pardon and peace’" (CCC 1424; formula of absolution)
  • Reconciliation: it reconciles the sinner with God because it imparts the merciful love of God to the sinner (cf. CCC 1424). “He who lives by God's merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord's call: ‘Go; first be reconciled to your brother.’ (Mt 5:24)” (CCC 1424)
Why do we need the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
The Church is “at once holy and in need of purification” (LG 8 § 3). Christ calls everyone to conversion (cf. Mk 1:15). Our first or initial conversion takes place through the Sacrament of Baptism, but often we sin and turn away from God. This is why we need constant conversion through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The sacrament of reconciliation is for all those who have fallen into grave sin after baptism. When someone commits a mortal sin, it means they lose baptismal grace and their communion with the Church is wounded (cf. CCC 1446)

Why do we confess our sins to a priest?
Sin is primarily an “offense against God, a rupture of communion with him. At the same time it damages communion with the Church” (CCC 1440).
“Only God forgives sins” (CCC 1441; Cf. Mk 2:7) – then why do we confess our sins to a priest?
We confess our sins to a priest because he stands in persona Christi, in the Person of Christ. In other words, you are not confessing your sins to a mere man, but to Christ Himself.
The Priest is a servant of God’s forgiveness (cf. CCC 1466) and “is fulfilling the ministry of the Good Shepherd who seeks the lost sheep, of the Good Samaritan who binds up wounds, of the Father who awaits the prodigal son and welcomes him on his return, and of the just and impartial judge whose judgment is both just and merciful. The priest is the sign and the instrument of God's merciful love for the sinner” (CCC 1465).

Gospel - Matthew 25: 31-46

Hail Redeemer, King Divine,
Priest and Lamb the throne is thine,
King whose reign shall never cease,
Prince of ever lasting peace
Angels Saints and Nations sing
Praise be Jesus Christ our King
Lord of life, earth, sky and sea,
King of Love on Calvary.

This weeks feast celebrates the Kingship of Christ, the feast was erected at the end of the 1925 Holy Year by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Quas Primas where he sought to give due honour to the Divine Kingship of Christ.
Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP noted,"The Church's year ends with the Feast of Christ the King. Jesus is portrayed as a triumphant king reigning over all creation. This is the same Jesus, son of Mary and son of God, who has preached the Good News and declared the imminence of God's kingdom. The obedient Son suffered and died for us, rose from the dead, ascended into glory and sent his Spirit so that we may have another comforter and someone to speak for us. Creation has been restored, and we have been saved from our sins and foolishness. The cycle is now complete. Although the enormousness of God's saving work has yet to impress itself on most people, nevertheless we believe that there will be a moment at the end of time when the Son will come again in all his glory, and creation will reach fulfillment. That is why we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, we rejoice in what Jesus has done for us, yet at the same time we look forward to its completion........".

 But for many people, the idea of Kingship of Jesus is somewhat alien. Jesus was of the royal house of David born in the royal city but he was born in a stable and laid in a manager. He was a King who entered into the Holy City - Jerusalem - through the royal gate to the acclamations of the people not in a military procession or from the back of a state coach but on the back of a humble donkey. He was enthroned not on some fancy cathedra but rather on a gibbet outside the city walls in the midst of the city dump, proclaimed mockingly as King as he died opening his arms on the cross to embrace the world and all of humanity.

He came as a Servant Leader as he explained to the disciples at the Last Supper when he washed their feet. We are all called to be servants to one another, assisting and helping in fraternal love and friendship. Where leaders lord it over us in civil or religious spheres truly then we have lost our allegiance to the true king.
He redefined what it means to be a leader amongst those that dare to call themselves his followers reminding us that the first will be last and the last first.
In our lives today, do we make the effort to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned? Be it those who are in physical need but what about those hungry for a consoling word of recognition of their humanity and dignity as people; those whose very souls and minds are ripped naked and torn from the insults and humiliation they experience, the sick of mind and spirit, those imprisoned in the expectations of society as well as those incarcerated by mental illness and stigma? Have we not only assisted them, have we gone past our comfort zone to really be present to those in need, really aware of them as the face of Christ for us in this world?

 Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Other reflections on this weeks gospel:

Saints of the Week
November 22nd - St Cecilia: patroness of music and musicians
November 23rd - St Columban (aka Columbanus)
November 24th - Ss Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions (Martyrs of Vietnam)
November 25th - St Catherine of Alexandria
                             - St Coleman patron of the diocese of Cloyne.
November 26th - Blessed Hugh Taylor

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