30 Nov 2015

The best moments of joy from Kenya, Uganda and CAR during Pope Francis visits

Pope Francis congratulates Patriarch Bartholomew on Saint Andrew's Feast Day

Advent has barely begun yet today the Church asks us to reflect on the call of Andrew. Matthew’s account is laconic (Matthew 4. 18-22). Jesus walks by the Sea of Galilee, sees two brothers casting their nets and calls them; he goes on a little further, sees two more brothers mending their nets together with their father, calls them, too; and in a twinkling of an eye, Peter, Andrew, James and John are no longer fishermen but fishers of men. We are so used to the story that it no longer shocks, but we should be shocked. Who is this Jesus whose call is so irresistible; who are these men who are ready to drop everything in order to answer? Why does it matter? 
The call of Andrew, like that of the other disciples, is both individual and communal, with consequences that stretch far beyond the time and place of first-century Roman Palestine, but without Andrew’s personal response, his own commitment, it would be meaningless — a call unanswered, a path not taken. Advent is rather like that. The Church sets before us the rich treasures of the Old Testament and the Messianic hope of the Jewish people, but unless we are prepared to respond personally, to welcome Jesus as Lord and Saviour, what does it profit us? According to Matthew, Andrew wasn’t doing anything particularly ‘religious’ when Jesus’ call came but his mind and heart were open to the invitation the Word would speak. May our hearts and minds be open also.

Peter's brother - Dominica
 Scripture doesn’t shine the spotlight on him like the three that have all the fun. Peter, James, and John are invited into houses when the Lord heals the sick or raises the dead; they get to go up to the mountain to witness the Transfiguration; they’re closer to him during the agony in the garden, and later it’s especially their acts that are recorded and their letters included in the canonical Scriptures. 
Andrew gets his fifteen minutes at the beginning of John’s Gospel. Upon meeting Jesus, he immediately goes to his brother Simon Peter to tell him the Messiah has been found. After introducing the future first Pope to his savior, he sinks into the background. Even the few mentions Andrew gets afterward are almost always in reference to his brother. But instead of going on an emotive rant about his superior sibling, Andrew simply takes his place among the other Apostles, following Jesus and spreading the Gospel until his martyrdom some years later. Indeed, if Andrew had constantly compared himself with Peter, he might have become unthankful for his own gifts and ended up looking on his brother with envy or disdain.
Continue reading here


AsiaNews - Pope tells Bartholomew I that the necessary conditions for the restoration of unity between Catholics and Orthodox existFrancis issues a message for the feast day of Saint Andrew, patron of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Although not all the differences have been overcome, "there is no longer any impediment to Eucharistic communion" between Catholics and Orthodox, “which cannot be overcome through prayer, the purification of hearts, dialogue and the affirmation of truth."

Reflections on the Pope in CAR

Pope Francis is on his way back to Rome after an exciting and successful visit to the Central African Republic (CAR), the last stop on his Africa tour. 

Reka Sztopa , Concern’s interim Country Director in CAR, reflects on his two day visit.

Pilgrim of peace

There was much anticipation and hope for what Pope Francis’ visit would bring to CAR. Arriving in country over the weekend, his Holiness said “I come to the Central African Republic as a pilgrim of peace and as an apostle of hope.”

After several years of inter-community conflict here, his message of forgiveness, reconciliation, peace and hope was well received by cheering crowds everywhere. Pope Francis conducted two Holy masses in front of large crowds and opened the Holy Door for the first time in history outside of Rome, launching the Jubilee Year of Mercy. He met with imams and prayed at the Koudoukou Mosque in PK5 area, visited internally displaced person (IDP) camps, and met with religious leaders, political leaders and representatives of the international community.

People from all over the country watched live coverage on TV, online, or followed the visit closely on Twitter with hashtags #PopeinCAR and #PopeinAfrica. Distance from the events did not make them any less moving. Some of the most touching moments of his visit were his off-the-cuff remarks to the youth of CAR, his unplanned visits to an IDP site and school in the Muslim area of PK5, and when he stopped the Pope-mobile to speak with a young man in a wheelchair who had been injured in a grenade attack and who wants reconciliation. Also on route towards the stadium where he held the last event of his visit, the area of PK5 opened up for the first time in months, and Christians and Muslims alike took to the streets, visiting friends and family and celebrating together.


Continue reading Reka's blog post about the Pope's visit to CAR but also about Concern's ongoing work helping those affected by the conflict in CAR HERE.

Pope Francis in Central African Republic - Rome Reports

Advent Reflections 2015 - Patrick Kavanagh "Advent"


We have tested and tasted too much, lover –
Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder.
But here in the Advent-darkened room
Where the dry black bread and the sugarless tea
Of penance will charm back the luxury
Of a child's soul, we'll return to Doom
The knowledge we stole but could not use.

And the newness that was in every stale thing
When we looked at it as children: the spirit-shocking
Wonder in a black slanting Ulster hill
Or the prophetic astonishment in the tedious talking
Of an old fool will awake for us and bring
You and me to the yard gate to watch the whins
And the bog-holes, cart-tracks, old stables where Time begins.

O after Christmas we'll have no need to go searching
For the difference that sets an old phrase burning –
We'll hear it in the whispered argument of a churning
Or in the streets where the village boys are lurching.
And we'll hear it among decent men too
Who barrow dung in gardens under trees,
Wherever life pours ordinary plenty.
Won't we be rich, my love and I, and please
God we shall not ask for reason's payment,
The why of heart-breaking strangeness in dreeping hedges
Nor analyse God's breath in common statement.
We have thrown into the dust-bin the clay-minted wages
Of pleasure, knowledge and the conscious hour –
And Christ comes with a January flower.

- Patrick Kavanagh


For some reflections and analysis about the poem have a look here, here and here.

29 Nov 2015

Advent Reflections 2015

For the last number of years we have asked various contributors to consider sharing reflections with us on the blog from the beginning of Advent up until December 16th when we move our reflections to the great O’ Antiphons. This year people have offered us some thoughts and reflections around the theme of “Advent – a time to begin again”

Advent of course is the beginning of the new liturgical year and like its secular counterpart in January some people may take the opportunity to take up new-year resolutions. Brendan Kennelly the great Kerry poet has a wonderful poem called "Begin" which may inspire you to think about new beginnings during this preparatory season.

Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of the light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.
Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing though with us still.
Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.
Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.
Advent is especially a time for us to look and see about our prayer lives and how well we are doing making time and encounters with God. 

In his book “Patterns of Prayer” Fr Eugene McCaffery OCD makes the point that “perhaps encouragement is what we all need most in prayer. Most people want to pray and are, in fact, praying far better and more often then they realise. But what is happening in their lives does not seem to fit in to the standard definitions of prayer!” 

For Roman Catholics the new liturgical year will also be an extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis to remind us that God is Love and from that love there is mercy to be had no matter what once we turn back to him. But sometimes people aren’t quite sure how to turn back to God in prayer, how to begin again. 

Advent offers us the opportunity to 'begin again,' whether that is to begin praying again if we have lapsed, or to begin again with new vigour, or to begin perhaps a new way of praying or a new prayer resource.We hope that these reflections over Advent will help and encourage you in prayer or beginning to pray.

St. Bonaventure tells us in his Life of St. Francis, that towards the end of his life, St Francis would say to the friars, “Let us begin again, brothers. For up till now we have done little or nothing.” What a wonderful and renewing phrase that is, “Let us begin again.” It speaks of renewal; it speaks of resurrection; it speaks of new beginnings and a newness of life and it is a reminder that we are part and parcel of the remarkable cycle of renewal that our God offers us; that the Paschal Mystery is not something we observe from the outside, but something we participate in from within. That today, and every day, we continually have that opportunity before us to begin again.

So as we head into Advent 2016, you are invited to join in the preparations with SS102fm and invited to "begin again"

Pope Francis in the Central African Republic - and he inaugurates the Holy Year by opening the Holy Door in Bangui - "the spiritual capital of the world"

Despite all the concerns about security, Pope Francis went ahead with his visit to the Central African Republic today in what must have been an extremely stressful day for the Swiss Guard and those charged with the safety of the Holy Father.

To watch it as it happens and see pictures and reports from during the day, click into #PopeinCAR on Twitter.

Crux - Pope arrives as ‘Pilgrim of Peace’ in war-torn Central African Republic
BBC - Pope Francis tells CAR to 'arm themselves with justice'
WSJ - Pope Francis Calls for Harmony in Central African Republic
MailOnline - 'Bienvenue Pape Francois': Thousands welcome the Pope to Central African Republic which has been torn apart by violence between Christians and Muslims 
Catholic Herald - Counter violence with love, Pope tells Central African Republic faithful
CNA - 'Can I go' to them? Pope Francis' stunning response to alleged murders and follow up to this story from Crux - Africans believed killed in area pope is to visit turn up safe

Currently the only Irish NGO on the ground in CAR is Concern Worldwide. If you want to find out more check out Concern Worldwide's page about their work HERE.

To understand the conflict in CAR check out these reports here and here.

The team over at Rome Reports however have some excellent summary reports already filed!


According to the United Nations, 25 percent of the Central African Republic's five million residents have been internally displaced since 2013. While in the country, Pope Francis visited with a group of refugees at the San Salvador parish in Bangui. But before that, these children showed their excitement with dancing and singing. Pope Francis entered by foot and began by first greeting the sick and the youngest refugees. One of the parish's women thanked him for his visit and hoped that it would be the seed of reconciliation. Afterward, Pope Francis made improvised remarks and asked them to repeat a message in the future: "We are all brothers.”

The Jubilee of Mercy began here, in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. It's the third poorest country in the world. And this is how Pope Francis arrived in the Popemobile at the Cathedral of Our Immaculate Conception in Bangui. There he celebrated Mass for the first Sunday of Advent. But before, he delivered some improvised remarks. He called Bangui the spiritual capital of the world.

"Bangui is the spiritual capital of the prayer for God's mercy. Together let us pray for peace, mercy, reconciliation, forgiveness, love. For Bangui, for all of the Central African Republic and for the entire world and everyone who suffers from war, we ask for us peace. Together we ask for love and peace. Love and peace. Now, with this prayer, we begin the Holy Year, here in this spiritual capital of the world.”

And with that prayer and gesture, Pope Francis began the Jubilee of Mercy, opening the Holy Door in the Cathedral of Bangui.

In his homily, the Pope spoke about reconciliation and forgiveness. The Central African Republic has been faced with a civil war since 2013, in which two rival factions have pitted Muslims against Christians and other ethnicities and religions.

"One of the essential characteristics of this vocation to perfection is the love of our enemies, which protects us from the temptation to seek revenge and from the spiral of endless retaliation.”

He also spoke about hope and justice for all people who may not see positive signs on the horizon. He reminded them that God is justice and love.

"God is stronger than all else. This conviction gives to the believer serenity, courage and the strength to persevere in good amid the greatest hardships. Even when the powers of Hell are unleashed, Christians must rise to the summons, their heads held high, and be ready to brave blows in this battle over which God will have the last word. And that word will be love!”

And before finishing, he delivered a powerful message to all of those who take up arms against each other.

"Lay down these instruments of death! Arm yourselves instead with righteousness, with love and mercy, the authentic guarantors of peace.”

The final words of the Pope's homily were familiar ones: reconciliation, love, forgiveness, and peace. They received a thunderous applause. Some 2,500 people attended the Mass, including Imam Kobina Layama, from Bangui's central mosque. He was joined by local leaders and hundreds of pilgrims just outside the cathedral.

28 Nov 2015

29th November 2015 - Reflection on Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament - 1st Sunday of Advent (Year C)

It is a wild and wet weekend in west Limerick, a night to take shelter around the fire and close the curtains against the storm of the night. Some how it seems appropriate that Advent begins in darkness and storm, a reminder to us that we live buffeted by the storms of life as we await the coming of the Lord at Christmas, the darkness of the world, of humanity in history we remember the light that broke through with the coming of Emmanuel into the world.

Advent is at our throats! Keep the season, but keep it simple.

On this weeks programme, we take a time out, a prayer moment as John and Lorraine lead us through a reflection this morning. Advent is often lost in the maelstrom that is the rush to Christmas which seems to begin earlier and earlier every year, but on the programme this morning we would like to provide a prayerful start to the holy season of Advent.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

The podcast of this weeks programme is available HERE.

Gospel - Lk 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”
 Reflections on this weeks gospel

Word on Fire
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - week 1, 1st week of Advent

Saints of the Week

November 30th - St Andrew (apostle)
December 1st - Blessed Charles de Foucauld
December 2nd - Blessed Ivan Sleziuk
December 3rd - St Francis Xavier
December 4th - Blessed Adolph Kolping (First Friday)
December 5th - Blessed Philip Rinaldi

Popes Intentions for December
  • Universal: That all may experience the mercy of God, who never tires of forgiving.
  • Evangelization: That families, especially those who suffer, may find in the birth of Jesus a sign of certain hope.

Pope Francis to Head to War Zone in Central African Republic

From WSJ:

Pope Francis will fly Sunday to the war-torn capital of the Central African Republic, making a trip that has been in doubt for security reasons until practically the last minute, the Vatican spokesman said Saturday evening.

“We will the take the plane and fly to Bangui” according to schedule, Father Federico Lombardi said. The confirmation came at the end of a day in which the pope honored Christian martyrs in Uganda, met with young people there and greeted local clergy.

The Central African Republic has been beset since 2013 by civil war that has taken on a religious profile, with armed groups divided between Muslims and Christians. Bangui’s Muslim quarter has been especially hard hit, under siege from Christian militias and effectively off-limits to non-Muslims since September.

The pope plans to visit a mosque in the Muslim neighborhood as part of his effort to promote reconciliation, which will also include a meeting with local Christian and Muslim dialogue partners.

“I want to go to Central Africa,” the pope told the pilot of his flight to Africa last Wednesday, according to the Vatican newspaper, “and if you’re not able to take me, give me a parachute.”
Barring “extraordinary surprises,” the pope’s schedule remains unchanged, including an outdoor Mass on Monday, Father Lombardi said.

Pope Francis’ stay in the country, scheduled to last little more than 24 hours, will be one of the rare cases of a pope traveling to a war zone. Pope John Paul II traveled to Nicaragua in 1983, when Sandinista government forces were battling Contra rebels there. In 1994, John Paul called off a visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia, because of fighting there; he finally made the trip in 1997. Pope Francis’ trip to the Central African Republic is the last leg of a three-country African tour, the pope’s first visit to the continent, which started Wednesday in Kenya and took in Uganda.

The Vatican sent the head of papal security on a special reconnaissance mission just before the pope traveled to Africa. Father Lombardi said the official, Domenico Giani, had been in touch with the various forces keeping order in Bangui, but the spokesman declined to comment further on security issues.

France has about 900 troops in Bangui but says primary responsibility for security there lies with a multinational force of U.N. peacekeepers. That force has reportedly been expanded in recent days to as many as 4,000.

Father Lombardi spoke to journalists after a full day of papal events in the capital of Uganda. The day started when Pope Francis honored a group of Catholic and Anglican martyrs who were burned alive after refusing to renounce their faith in the late 19th century. Earlier in the day, the fourth in a six-day trip, he visited sanctuaries honoring the Catholic and Anglican martyrs in the city of Namugongo and celebrated Mass to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their canonization.

The martyrs’ stories show that “fidelity to God, honesty and integrity of life, and genuine concern for the good of others bring us that peace that the world cannot give,” the pope said.

Continue reading HERE.

Pope Francis in Uganda

Pope arrives in Uganda, calls Africa ‘continent of hope’

In Uganda, Francis calls for Christians to build just societies, transform suffering

Pope visits poor and sick at Kampala's House of Charity

Pope to young: Jesus can transform walls into a path

26 Nov 2015

The End Times - iBenedictine

From iBenedictine, a timely reflection:

This last week before Advent is full of sombre warnings about the end times and the coming reign of God. With the mounting tension between Russia and Turkey and the seemingly inescapable rise of Wahabist violence and religious intolerance, it would be easy to identify world events with Armageddon. Easy, but wrong. What scripture refers to as the end times is actually the beginning of something new, something infinitely better. However gloomy we may feel about the international situation, however worried we may be that we are on the brink of yet another war, we must hold fast to our hope and prepare ourselves for what is to come. This is a time for prayer, for the reformation of our lives, for hastening the coming day of the Lord by the purity and zeal with which we live. We are not helpless puppets. God has dignified us with an essential role in his plan of salvation, but it is not something we can put off to a tomorrow that never comes. It is today that we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling. He who has neither beginning nor end is also at work, and what he wills must eventually come to pass. Our deliverance is at hand!

25 Nov 2015

Pope Francis visit to Kenya - UPDATED

From The Guardian:
Pope Francis has brushed off security concerns as he arrived in Kenya for his first visit to Africa, a whirlwind tour of three countries that will mark the first time a reigning pontiff has flown into an active armed conflict.

His Alitalia aeroplane arrived at Jomo Kenyatta airport in Nairobi on Wednesday for the first stage of the pope’s visit, which will also take in Uganda and Central African Republic (CAR).

The latter country, which has a majority Christian population, has been in the grip of violence since Muslim rebels seized power in March 2013. More than one in five people have been forced to flee their homes.

When asked if he was concerned about security risks, the pope quipped: “To tell you the truth, the only thing I’m concerned about is the mosquitoes. Did you bring your spray?”

So what will the Pope wear to celebrate Mass?

Vatican Radio - A well-researched article in the Kenyan daily press gives an accurate “dress-down” of some of the garments you would find in Pope Francis’ wardrobe.
What it doesn’t mention is that here in Kenya all of his vestments and a beautiful rosary made of beads have been prepared by a group of sisters and women who work in an income-generating facility in Kangemi slum called “Dolly Craft”.

Listen to the report from Vatican Radio HERE.

Also over at Global Sisters you can see a report from the women involved in the vestments project.


Rome Reports - Kenya, Uganda and CAR - Who are the countries the Pope will visit in Africa

24 Nov 2015

Some web browsing....

In silence, magic can happen - If you’re looking for God but can’t find Him here, you might as well give up. “Here” is a magical place, an otherworldly, holy place. Big sky. Big mountains. Big questions. “Here” is St. Benedict’s Monastery and its Retreat House, 8,000 feet up in an as-far-as-you-can-see valley at the foot of the snow-capped Rockies, more than 3,000 acres of pasture with elk, deer, coyotes, bunnies, magpies, and, sometimes, horses and bears.

The monks of St. Benedict’s

After Paris, we rushed to pray. Why is that?

Africa awaits the Pope 

Ideology or theology? Is it time for Western journalists to start taking ISIS at its word?

First Things - A Jubilee Year of Mercy

12 Beautiful Pieces of Modern Catholic Art

What Happens to Nuns After They Retire? absolutely touching and thought provoking pictures here.

The Mass of the Very Old Men - Their whispered prayers have risen from foxholes and scaffolds; from assembly lines and car pits and miles of commuter rails

Flannery O’Connor: Finding God in human messiness

Did Pope Francis Invite Lutherans into the Communion Line?

Mary Kenny: eat your crusts! We should each do our part in reducing food waste this Christmas

France’s Catholic Revolution - While Mass-attendance rates have steeply declined over the last 30 years, today France is witnessing the rise of an increasingly self-confident—and dynamically orthodox—Catholicism.


Europe and Islam: A clash of failures

Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It

Can Muslims and Christians coexist? ‘Of Gods and Men’ offers an answer

23 Nov 2015

November 23rd - St Columban (Colmbanus)

With apologies to our readers and a H/t to Phil over at Ennis Blue for the reminder, but November 23rd is the feast day of St Columban or St Colmbanus and this year we are celebrating the 1400th anniversary of his death. 

The bishops of Ireland have designated 2015 as a celebratory year to mark the 1400th anniversary of the death in Bobbio, Italy, of the extraordinary Saint Columban, also known as Saint Columbanus.
Born around 543AD in Leinster, Saint Columbanus studied in the monastery on Cleenish Island, Co Fermanagh, after which he then entered the monastery in Bangor, Co Down. He became a monk at Bangor and later principal teacher there. In 591, desiring to go on a pilgrimage for Christ, he set out with twelve companions and came to Burgundy. He established monasteries at Annegray, Luxeuil and Fontaine. Later he worked in Bregenz in Austria. 
His greatest foundation is at Bobbio, near Genoa, where he died in 615. He is remembered as one of the greatest of all Irish missionaries who dedicated his life to preaching the Gospel and to establishing monasteries in Europe. 
This anniversary will be celebrated in Ireland with liturgies and events on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 June 2015, in Bangor and in Armagh respectively

Phil has a fabulous round up of links and reflections here, here, here and here.

Continue reading about the national celebrations here

Check out the page of the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference for events here.

Celebrating St Columban

- Fr Seán McDonagh discusses the significance of the celebrations of the 1,400th anniversary of the death of St Columban

22 Nov 2015

Homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King

Homily for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Fr Martin Browne OSB
Glenstal Abbey

In the days since the terrorist attacks in Paris just over a week ago, the principles on which the French Republics were built have been spoken about a lot – Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Values which imply a rejection of monarchy and royalty. Principles which the revolutionaries believed were the opposite of the values of kingly rule.

In a few months from now, Ireland will mark the centenary of the Easter Rising of 1916. There will be many solemn ceremonies, parades, exhibitions and commemorating. Members of the Defence Forces are currently visiting every school in the country, presenting copies of the 1916 Proclamation and of our national flag – the tricolour of green, white and orange – itself modelled on the French tricolour. The Easter Rising and the raising of the tricolour over the GPO in Dublin marked the proclamation of the Irish Republic. The language of the proclamation was lofty:

We hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State. … The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irish woman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities of all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally.

And yet, while public discourse this week is echoing the French revolutionary values of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, and as the Irish nation is preparing to mark the centenary of the proclamation of our Republic, here we are, celebrating a feast that honours Jesus as a King. And not just any old king either. The full title of the feast is ‘Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe’. The Church certainly wasn’t understating the case when it thought up that title. I can’t help finding it a bit ironic….

Soon and very soone, we are going to see the King

Holy is His Name

21 Nov 2015

21st November 2015 - Solemnity of Christ the Universal King

Technical issues have bedevilled West Limerick 102fm over the last number of weeks and sadly following the effects of Storm Barney during the week,WL102fm is still off air due to damage to the transmitters of the radio station and right now it is not clear when the radio station will be back on air.

This week we had planned to repeat our interview with Alice Taylor which was originally broadcast on 8th November. On that date, due to human error, the 10am broadcast didn't go out. You can listen back to Alice's wonderful interview and reflection HERE

Solemnity of Christ the Universal King

Book of Kells - Christ Enthroned

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.

Reflections on this weeks feast and gospel reading

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours: psalter week 2; 34th week in ordinary time

November 23rd - St Columbanus (abbot and missionary)
November 24th - St Andrew Dung Lac and Companions (martyrs)
November 25th - St Colman of Cloyne ; also St Catherine of Alexandria
November 26th - Blessed James Alberione
November 27th - St Fergal
November 28th - Saint Catherine Laboure