Homily, Christ the King

Homily: Christ the King, Deacon Lowell

This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Here is a short history of today’s feast:

Pope Pius the Eleventh instituted the feast of Christ the King in 1925 as his response to what he called: “this deluge of evils submerging humankind.”  

Pope Pious lamented people who had banished Christ from both their individual lives and from public life resulting in an increasingly atheistic and divided society.

Pope Pious believed there could be no lasting peace between individuals or nations without humankind affirming the authority of Christ: We must look for the peace of Christ in the reign of Christ.”

Considering the current state of affairs in our world and in our own nation, I believe celebrating Christ the King is every bit as significant today as it was 95 years ago.

“He will sit upon his glorious throne.”

What image comes to mind when you hear these words?

Do you see an Egyptian Pharaoh with the nemes headdress, pleated kilt, and broad gold necklace.  Perhaps a Roman emperor; white tunic, purple toga, and a gold wreath for a crown. Or a medieval king, with his velvet hat, silk tunic, and fur outer garment.

When I think of Christ the King one of the images that come to mind; Is the Blessed Sacrament on exposition during adoration.

His crown, the rays of the sun radiating from the monstrance, signifying Jesus is the Sun of God, the light of the world.

Christ seated on His glorious throne; the altar, a throne of sacrifice, signifying the sacrifice He made so we may be invited into the Kingdom of Heaven.

“And he will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats”.

Do the goats get a bad rap?

People in Jesus’ time would have immediately recognized the significance of the characteristics of sheep and goats. In several ancient mythologies, some gods are depicted with goat heads or goats’ legs and hooves.

“Goats like sheep are herd animals. However, they are much more independent and need more work to herd. Goats are also curious and love to climb, which makes it hard to keep them penned in or behind fences. Also, while you can push a sheep around, you cannot push a goat.”

The goats are an appropriate image of our individualistic culture.

“Sheep’s main characteristic is that they flock: they group together, stay together and follow a leader well. This instinct makes sheep easy to herd and very social in nature. Sheep are so programmed to follow and stay together, in fact, that they can’t do anything else. This usually works in their favor; a predator will not attack a flock, preferring to pick off stragglers.”

Think of the flock of sheep as analogous to our standing in solidarity as a faith community with the most vulnerable in our society: We are called to surround them; to protect the unborn, the immigrant, the elderly,                                                                  the refugee, and the poor.

“Come, you who are blessed by my Father.”

It is obvious from this reading that Jesus is calling us to serve the vulnerable in society as our response to the grace God has bestowed on us. But then comes the question, what is more important; serving the poor or keeping the commandments and observing proper religious practice?

In his column in last weeks Catholic messenger Ronald Rolheiser answers that question:

“For Jesus, we are true disciples when we have compassionate hearts out of which keep the commandments, humbly worship our God, but make it a religious priority to reach out to the most vulnerable groups in our society. Jesus makes a strong point of this: How we treat the most vulnerable is how we treat God.”

The Kingdom of God is built through conversion of one mind and one heart at a time, one kindness extended to our sisters and brothers at a time. I would like to close with this prayer from praymorenovenas.com:

“Christ, our Savior and our King, renew in me allegiance to Your Kingship. I pray for the grace to place You above the powers of this world in all things.  I pray for the grace to obey You before any civic authority. I pray for the grace to fervently bring about Your Kingdom in my family and community. I pray that You will reign in my mind. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

 

Sources:

Patricia Kastan; The Final Judgement Gets The Goats; wwwthecompassnews.org>2017/11>the final judgement

Ronald Rolheiser; Anchoring Love, Prayer, and Service; The Catholic Messenger Volume 138 Number 45 11/12/2020

Dianne Bergant with Richard Fragomeni: Preaching the New Lectionary, Year A:  LTP Collegeville, MN.                         ISBN 978-0-8146-2: Pg 402-408

Thanksgiving Mass

Mass will be celebrated on Thanksgiving Day at 8 am.

St. Mary’s will be live streaming Mass on YouTube & broadcasting on 98.5 with communion in the courtyard. There is no sign up for Thanksgiving Mass. 

Psalm 136 – Give Thanks to the Lord!

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. To him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. Who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. Who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. Who made the great lights— His love endures forever. 
8 the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. The moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever. To him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, His love endures forever. And brought Israel out from among them His love endures forever. With a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever. To him who divided the Red Sea asunder His love endures forever. And brought Israel through the midst of it, His love endures forever. But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; His love endures forever. To him who led his people through the wilderness; His love endures forever. To him who struck down great kings, His love endures forever. And killed mighty kings— His love endures forever. Sihon king of the Amorites His love endures forever. And Og king of Bashan— His love endures forever. And gave their land as an inheritance, His love endures forever. An inheritance to his servant Israel. His love endures forever. He remembered us in our low estate His love endures forever. And freed us from our enemies. His love endures forever. He gives food to every creature. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.

The Giving Tree

This year many families can use our support more than ever.

We are making things much easier this year by only collecting money for gift cards to local stores like Hy-Vee, Fareway, Walmart, etc.

The giving tree will be up in the back of the Church for this weekend’s Mass (November 21st & 22nd). If you are able, please pick up a tag or two and return by December 3rd.

You can either mail, drop off at the Parish Office, or put it in the collection at Mass.

If you would rather not pick up a tag but want to donate, you can certainly mail or drop off your donation to the Parish Office.

Your donation will brighten a Christmas for a family in need within our parish and community.

Thank you for your generosity!

Social Action & Justice Commission

Fr. Troy’s Homily: Sunday, November 15, 2020

“Well done.”  These are words we all desire to hear.  As a trumpet player, there was nothing more satisfying than hearing my professor say, “Troy, well done,” after I had satisfactorily performed an assigned etude.  In today’s Gospel, we hear the parable of the talents and the Lord’s words to the one who bore fruit, “Well done good and faithful servant.”  As a music major, these words of affirmation only served to inflate my ego.  However, as a committed disciple, we long to hear these words affirming how we used our God-given gifts to build up His Kingdom and make His name known to all.

Many years ago, St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta was visiting her Religious Sisters in Australia who had a mission to serve the local Aborigines.  One day, Mother Theresa visited a man living in a small hut.  She noticed that his humble abode was in shambles and asked his permission to do some cleaning.  As she was cleaning his home, Mother Theresa noticed a lamp that was covered in layers of dust.  She asked the man whose home she was cleaning, “Sir, this lamp was covered in dust.  Have you not had an opportunity to light it?  He replied, “Not in a long time…you see, I have not had a visitor for ages.  I’ve had no reason to turn it on.”  Mother Theresa promised him that if we would light the lamp, she would send a Sister to visit him daily.  A few years later, back in Calcutta, Mother Theresa received a letter from this gentleman whose home she had spruced up.  He wrote, “Mother Theresa, I can’t thank you enough for coming to visit me and giving me new hope.  A day has not gone by that my lamp has not been lit.”

The Lord is asking us to light our lamps, to let the gifts he has given us shine.  Perhaps, in these times, we might need to find new ways to share our gifts and talents.  Those who enjoy cooking might consider dropping off some chicken noodle soup to a friend in quarantine.  Those who enjoy writing may wish to send a letter to a homebound parishioner or someone in the nursing home.  The important thing is that we use our unique God-given gifts not for our own gain, but rather in service to the Lord and our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Amen.

Bishop Zinkula offers update regarding governor’s recent proclamation

Given the sharp increase in COVID cases and hospitalizations throughout the state in recent weeks and the latest proclamation from Governor Kim Reynolds, some people are wondering how the Diocese will respond. At this point, the regulations and protocols we already have in place are already more strict than what the Governor has implemented. However, as we know, this remains a serious public health crisis. We urge you again to “double down” on all current protocols regarding hygiene, masks, cleaning of churches, distancing and duration of in-person gatherings. Any meetings or events that can be held virtually should be. Discretion is left to local pastors regarding discontinuing in-person Mass where they determine that case numbers are high enough locally to warrant this.

Article is taken from The Catholic Messenger, the full article can be found here.

All Saints and All Souls Day

In November, the Church has two traditional means of obtaining a plenary indulgence for the souls in Purgatory. The first is to visit a cemetery and pray for the dead during the Octave of All Saints’ Day, Nov. 1-8. 

A plenary indulgence can remove all the temporal punishment due to forgiven sin. In order to obtain it, the faithful must be in a state of grace as well as meet the following 4 conditions: 

    1. have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin;
    2. have confessed their sins within 7 days through the sacrament of Penance;
    3. receive the Holy Eucharist within 7 days;
    4. pray for the intentions of the Pope.

Please join us on All Saints Day Sunday, November 1, 2020, at 3 pm at the Altar at St. Mary’s Cemetery (Forest ) to pray for the dead.  Masks and Social distancing will be required.  

The second plenary indulgence is connected to the Feast of All Souls’ Day on Nov. 2 and can be received by those who piously visit a church on that day and recite the Our Father and the Creed.  Please join us on Monday, November 2nd, for All Souls Day Mass at 6 pm.  Following Mass, we will pray the Apostles Creed and the Our Father to obtain the Plenary Indulgence.  

Then be sure to join us for the sacrament of reconciliation on Saturday, November 7th, from 10:30-11:30 am and Mass Saturday evening in Oskaloosa at 6 pm.  Be sure to make reservations online to attend Mass, or feel free to listen in your car and receive communion in the courtyard.  

 

Turkey Dinner

Annual Turkey Dinner, Thursday, November 5th from 4:30-7 pm!

This year the Turkey Dinner will be drive-through only, east to west through the alley or Hight Ave East. $10 per ticket, children age 6 and under free. Tickets can be purchased from a Knight or at the Parish Office.

 

2020 Election Letter from Bishop Zinkula

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Pope Francis encourages us: “Good Catholics meddle in politics, offering the best of themselves.” Election Day, November 3, is drawing close. As mentioned in Faithful Citizenship, we are called to exercise the right to vote, bringing our best selves to the public square. Being our “best selves” means taking the time to form our consciences, drawing from the rich tradition of Catholic social teaching that impels us to affirm the dignity of every human person and to work for the common good. Being our “best selves” also means engaging in politics with civility, clarity and compassion, as my brother bishops and I call for in our Civilize It campaign. As we “meddle in politics,” we must love our neighbor in spite of divisions and disagreements, listen respectfully to one another, and work for a unity that transcends partisanship.

There has been great interest in the 2020 elections. This is evident in many ways, most notably in the number of people who have already voted. As a reminder, if you have a ballot, it must be postmarked by November 2nd and received by November 9th to be counted. Just about everything is different in 2020, and the election will be no exception. Because of the pandemic, more people than usual will be voting using absentee ballots, which take longer to process. Following protocols to prevent spreading COVID-19 among election workers also takes extra time. It may very well be that final results will not be known on the night of the election. Some of you may recall that Congress did not certify a winner in the 2000 Presidential elections until January 6th. We will need to be patient as the process unfolds; every vote needs to be counted. A delay means that our democracy is working, that votes are being counted and verified.

As faithful citizens, our politics ought to be rooted in prayer. Therefore, in addition to voting, I am asking each parish to consider opening their doors on Election Day for those who wish to pray prior to voting, for those who have already voted, and for all of us who hope that this democratic process may be completed peacefully and civilly. I ask that this prayer be made available to those who spend time in prayer that day:

Gracious and loving God, let your spirit be with us today.
Hear our prayers and increase in us the will to follow your Son Jesus.
Help us to draw on the resources of our faith as we use the opportunities of our democracy to shape a society more respectful of the life, dignity and rights of the human person, especially the poor and vulnerable.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Finally, I wish to stress that although there may be relief on November 4th that the political campaigns are over, our responsibility as faithful citizens merely enters a new chapter. I encourage you to stay involved and in contact with elected officials in order that the legislation they enact reflects our deep commitment to the dignity of life and protecting the poor and vulnerable.

Blessings,
Most Rev. Thomas R. Zinkula
Bishop of Davenport

Bishop Zinkula, 2020 Election Letter