Daily Archives: November 19, 2016

20 November, Sunday – Leader by Example

Nov 20 – Solemnity of Christ The King

Christ the King is a title of Jesus based on several passages of scripture and used by all Christians. The name is found in various forms in scripture: King Eternal (1 Timothy 1:17), King of Israel (John 1:49), King of the Jews (Matthew 27:11), King of kings (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16), King of the Ages (Revelation 15:3), and Ruler of the Kings of the Earth (Revelation 1:5).

Many denominations including Catholics, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and some Lutherans and Methodists celebrate the Feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday of the liturgical year.

The ideological movement of Christ’s Kingship was addressed in Pope Pius XI’s encyclical Quas Primas (“In The First”). In it, he quotes with approval St. Cyril of Alexandria, noting that Jesus’ Kingship is not obtained by violence: “Christ has dominion over all creatures, a dominion not seized by violence nor usurped, but his by essence and by nature.”

Pope Benedict XVI has remarked that Christ’s Kingship is not based on “human power” but on loving and serving others. The perfect exemplar of that acceptance is the Virgin Mary, he pointed out. Her humble and unconditional acceptance of God’s will in her life, the Pope noted, was the reason that “God exalted her over all other creatures, and Christ crowned her Queen of heaven and earth”.

  • Wikipedia

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2 Samuel 5:1-3

All the tribes of Israel then came to David at Hebron. ‘Look’ they said ‘we are your own flesh and blood. In days past when Saul was our king, it was you who led Israel in all their exploits; and the Lord said to you, “You are the man who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you shall be the leader of Israel.”’

So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a pact with them at Hebron in the presence of the Lord, and they anointed David king of Israel.

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Colossians 1:12-20

We give thanks to the Father who has made it possible for you to join the saints and with them to inherit the light.
Because that is what he has done: he has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that he loves, and in him, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.

He is the image of the unseen God
and the first-born of all creation,
for in him were created
all things in heaven and on earth:
everything visible and everything invisible,
Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers –
all things were created through him and for him.
Before anything was created, he existed,
and he holds all things in unity.
Now the Church is his body,
he is its head.

As he is the Beginning,
he was first to be born from the dead,
so that he should be first in every way;
because God wanted all perfection
to be found in him
and all things to be reconciled through him and for him,
everything in heaven and everything on earth,
when he made peace
by his death on the cross.

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Luke 23:35-43

The people stayed there before the cross watching Jesus. As for the leaders, they jeered at him. ‘He saved others,’ they said ‘let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.’ The soldiers mocked him too, and when they approached to offer vinegar they said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’ Above him there was an inscription: ‘This is the King of the Jews.’

One of the criminals hanging there abused him. ‘Are you not the Christ?’ he said. ‘Save yourself and us as well.’ But the other spoke up and rebuked him. ‘Have you no fear of God at all?’ he said. ‘You got the same sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it: we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus,’ he said ‘remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ ‘Indeed, I promise you,’ he replied ‘today you will be with me in paradise.’

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Indeed I promise you today you will be with me in paradise.

People often think of kings as monarchs who are of royal blood and who are responsible for the lives of many people. The same image was expected of Jesus which resulted in him being mocked at the Cross as they were expecting a king like David in the first reading. However, if we reflect into the first reading, it is not what it seems.

The tribes of Israel acknowledged the kingship of David because God had appointed Him. They were clearly aware of the anointing David had received from Samuel and this was borne in the many military exploits which David had won. It was not the military exploits that legitimized David as a rule but the fact that he had been anointed by God. Jesus did not need any anointing because He was already the anointed one; in fact Christ is Greek for “anointed”. Jesus had received the anointing from God the Father himself.

When we make the decision to be a Christian, we choose to accept Jesus as the Head of our lives. This means we have to acknowledge His teachings and direction in our lives. Whilst it may seem futile for us at the moment, we need to remember that not all of us can have the same fortune as the repentant thief to acknowledge our sins to Jesus. Jesus is not a military commander who will dictate and force us to behave in a particular manner. Instead, He gently leads us towards Him and reminds us of the great love He has shown us by dying on the Cross for us. That act is the ultimate act a King can do i.e. to lay down his life for his friends. Let us take time to acknowledge Jesus as our King who leads us by example and not by command.

 (Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)

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Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray for obedience to listen to you.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who struggle to lead a good Christian life.

19 November, Saturday – From the depths of my heart

19 November

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Apocalypse 11: 4-12

I, John, heard a voice saying: ‘These, my two witnesses, are the two olive trees and the two lamps that stand before the Lord of the world. Fire can come from their mouths and consume their enemies if anyone tries to harm them; and if anybody does try to harm them he will certainly be killed in this way. They are able to lock up the sky so that it does not rain as long as they are prophesying; they are able to turn water into blood and strike the whole world with any plague as often as they like. When they have completed their witnessing, the beast that comes out of the Abyss is going to make war on them and overcome them and kill them.
Their corpses will lie in the main street of the Great City known by the symbolic names Sodom and Egypt, in which their Lord was crucified. Men out of every people, race, language and nation will stare at their corpses, for three-and-a-half days, not letting them be buried, and the people of the world will be glad about it and celebrate the event by giving presents to each other, because these two prophets have been a plague to the people of the world.’
After the three-and-a-half days, God breathed life into them and they stood up, and everybody who saw it happen was terrified; then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, ‘Come up here’, and while their enemies were watching, they went up to heaven in a cloud.

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Some Sadducees – those who say that there is no resurrection – approached him and they put this question to him, ‘Master, we have it from Moses in writing, that if a man’s married brother dies childless, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother. Well then, there were seven brothers. The first, having married a wife, died childless. The second and then the third married the widow. And the same with all seven, they died leaving no children. Finally the woman herself died Now, at the resurrection, to which of them will she be wife since she had been married to all seven?’
Jesus replied, ‘The children of this world take wives and husbands, but those who are judged worthy of a place in the other world and in the resurrection from the dead do not marry because they can no longer die, for they are the same as the angels, and being children of the resurrection they are sons of God. And Moses himself implies that the dead rise again, in the passage about the bush where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is God, not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all men are in fact alive.’
Some scribes then spoke up. ‘Well put, Master’ they said – because they would not dare to ask him any more questions.

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Jesus withdrew… to keep… from being crushed.

As I write this today, the depths of my heart echo a silent exhausted plea. Still, I will write – even as clarity evades me. My efforts are my offering that the first reading of Hebrews describes the high priests carrying out. More often than not, our present sacrifices and efforts may not bring swift reward or make sense. But it is possible to keep on offering ourselves upon the altar for a higher purpose. How can we keep on trusting in this greater reality?

The Gospel of Mark relates Jesus doing just this. Exhausted from offering himself to the multitudes by ministering to them, he withdraws to the lakeside. Despite his retreat, the crowds pursued him. So persistent were they, that he had to request a boat to float out to the lake’s heart – to create real physical distance between them and keep himself from being crushed. ‘Crushed’ by the needs and expectations of others. I can relate to this and Jesus feels so real in this picture. He created distance to seek communion and peace with God and within himself first, before reaching out to others. His reality was his divine Sonship. Even Jesus was humble enough to not have a Messiah complex. How about me?

Today, as you read this, I will be getting married. My sombre tone as I write this now, two weeks before, does not do my inner joy justice. Exhaustion does this to people. I had envisioned myself to be jubilant two weeks before the wedding, with smooth-sailing gears falling into precision pace. Yet plans seem cranking. I am excited about the day and our life ahead. Yet I am in need of a spiritual oasis to replenish my confidence, purpose, and ground my reality in discipleship.

I am learning something new every moment — about myself, and this vocation I am blessed with. Marriage is partnership and teamwork, a mutual self-giving. Just as man and wife give to each other, each must first encounter this Holy exchange with the Lord Himself. How does Jesus do this, spent as He was? Psalm 39 is where the puzzle of the three readings begin to fall into place.

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.
You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings,
but an open ear.
You do not ask for holocaust and victim.
Instead, here am I […]
My God, I delight in your law
in the depth of my heart.

Whose will do we think we carry out in our lives? The high priests of the Old Testament offered sacrifices and oblation day after day after day. Sounds about right for husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers the world over, doesn’t it? But these could never be perfect and complete – save for the redemptive ultimate sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. Do I open my ears and heart? Do I seek to unite my will to that of our Lord?

As a single person, it is easier to steer the wheel of my will and wish others to get onboard. At comfortable points when flexibility is required of me, it is easier to ‘bend’ my will. But in being enjoined with another, the sacrifices for simplicity and harmony can be a painful flesh-struggle. It is humbling and bittersweet to be refined this way. As I approach my husband-to-be and our day of Holy Matrimony, I pray for the courage to keep on choosing to die to the false selves hidden within. I ask the Holy Spirit to clothe me in true wisdom and grace. May our Blessed Mother’s fiat and generosity inspire my open ears and heart to accept this priestly ministry of being a faithful Christian and wife. It will be hard work, but “nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37)

(Today’s OXYGEN by Debbie Loo)

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Prayer: We pray, in this last day of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, that our marriages and families be awash with mutual mercy and healing tenderness. With our wills united to Christ, may we never tire of trying again.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for your ultimate sacrifice in love. With the living proof of your Eucharist, I beseech you for the strength to love others with a prodigal generosity without seeking reward, save that of knowing I do your most holy will.