23rd November - Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of The Universe (A)
This Sunday's Mass Readings
Canon Luke writes...
The Church’s year comes to an end this week; it finishes, just as it begins, contemplating the last days and Christ’s return in glory, when he will come as both Lord and Judge. The Feast of Christ the Universal King is not a celebration of mere temporal power or position, for His ‘kingdom is not of this world’ (John 18:36); rather ‘everything is subjected to him’ as St Paul declares in our second reading today.
Christ is the Universal King, enthroned over all nations and peoples of every language; he is also the divine shepherd Ezekiel speaks of in the First Reading; who has gathered, led and nourished his flock. We are called to follow him and imitate his example; the works of mercy He expounds in the Gospel reading are the measuring stick of our love and service of him, the grounds on which will be ultimately judged.
Let us never forget that what Christ asks of us, he has already done for us; He comes to heals us of our sicknesses; He welcomes us who were once outside the covenant of God’s love into his fold; He releases us from the prison of sin and death; He clothes us in the garments of eternal life in baptism; and He gives us food and drink in the sacrament of His Body and Blood. In carrying out these simple works of mercy we grow in the love and life we have already received. The Gospel is challenging, yet it is also comforting; the Lord does not ask us to do the impossible, simply to look beyond the end of our own nose, to acknowledge, accept, live, and share the love he so readily offers us.
Today’s Gospel is echoed in other passages in the New Testament: St James states that our faith is dead, unless it is expressed in good works (James 2:20) and St John reminds us that we cannot say we truly love God, whom we cannot see, if we don’t love our neighbour, whom we can
(1 John 4:20).
Today’s feast therefore faces us with fundamental questions: Who or what do we enthrone at the centre of our lives? Ourselves? Material things? Where is God? Do we expect the universe to revolve around us? Christ’s kingship is based on genuine love, giving of self rather than seeking for self!
There is a fundamental connection between our day-to-day choices and the end of the world. Mother Teresa of Calcutta was once asked: “How do you do it day in and day out? How do you deal with the crowds of people coming to you.” She raised her hand and shook her five fingers. “Five words,” she said; “five words: You did it to me"
"...JESUS CHRIST, THE BEGINNING AND THE END...
ALL TIME BELONGS TO HIM... AND ALL THE AGES..."
These words on the doors of the Church porch express perfectly the purpose of our parish. We are
a community centred round the Lord Jesus.
Saint Francis' Parish in the heart of Maidstone was founded in 1859 and since then has been the heart of the Catholic community in the Maidstone area. From it was founded the parishes of Saint Thomas More, West Malling; Holy Family, Park Wood; and Saint Peter's Bearsted. In addition to the mother church there are Mass Centres at St Luke's, Preston Hall, and at St Mary's Anglican Church at Nettlestead.
Today the faith which inspired its foundation almost 150 years ago continues to find its expression in a lively community bringing together people of many races all united by their love of God. It is this love which calls us all to work together to build up our community and to care for all in need.
I would like to welcome all who visit our website and hope you share something of our vision for the future of the church and parish.
Canon Luke - Parish Priest
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