Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of The Universe (B)
National Youth Sunday 2015
In England and Wales, the Feast of Christ the King, 22 November, each year is dedicated to welcoming, involving and empowering young Catholics. At a time in their lives when so many things demand to be ‘king’ of their hearts, we make the most of this feast day in our efforts to introduce them to Jesus Christ, our King. Click the banner for more information.
Sunday Mass Readings
An invitation to receive and proclaim God’s Mercy!
On 8 December 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis will open a Holy Year of Mercy; he desires that this year ‘will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God! Click here or the banner above to learn more.
Canon Luke writes...
Our Lord states that he has come to ‘bear witness to the truth, and all who are on the side of truth listen to’ Him. What is this truth? In the context of the readings for today’s Feast, it is God’s constant love and fidelity to the Covenant; this finds its ultimate expression and fulfilment in Christ. The reading from the Apocalypse proclaims Our Lord as ‘the faithful witness.’ thus fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy that the longed for Messiah would “witness to the peoples” that God is renewing His “everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 55:3-5).
This is not the restoration of a temporal monarchy, or political power; in the Apocalypse reading, Jesus refers to Himself as ‘the Alpha and the Omega’ (first and last letters of the Greek alphabet), applying to Himself a description used of God and his universal rule in the Old Testament: the first and the last, the One Who calls forth all generations (Isaiah 41:4; 44:6; 48:12). Similarly, in the reading from Daniel, the Son of Man comes on ‘the clouds of heaven’ (another sign of His divinity) in order to be given ‘glory and kingship’ forever over all nations and peoples.
The gospel reading is from St John’s account of our Lord’s trial before Pontius Pilate; in essence it is a debate about kingship, whether Christ is really a king or not. Pilate misses the point of what our Lord is really saying. Only capable of understanding terms of worldly power, authority and political bargaining, Pilate’s heart is closed. Ironically, St John portrays Pilate as the one really on trial ... can he accept truth? and defend it?
Truth is the all pervading theme in St John's Gospel and it comes to a head in this dialogue. Pilate asks a further question after the last line we hear in the gospel: ‘Truth! What is that?' I am moved by the observation that in Latin this is rendered: Quid est veritas? the same letters also spell out Est vir qui adest (it is the man who stands before you). We, like Pilate, can so easily miss what is staring us in the face! We like Pilate are on trial; do we accept Him who is the Truth, or do we give way to the powers which seek to limit, stifle and destroy the truth? Ultimately such attitudes limit our horizons and leave us clinging to a kingdom that will inevitably crumble and fall.
Pope Benedict XVI expresses the point so eloquently: ‘Today's Gospel proposes to us anew part of the dramatic questioning to which Pontius Pilate subjected Jesus when he was handed over to him, accused of usurping the title, ‘King of the Jews’. Jesus answered the Roman governor's questions by declaring that he was a king, but not of this world. He did not come to rule over peoples and territories but to set people free from the slavery of sin and to reconcile them with God. And he added: ‘For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.’
But what is the "truth" that Christ came into the world to witness to? The whole of his life reveals that God is love: so this is the truth to which he witnessed to the full with the sacrifice of his own life on Calvary. The Cross is the "throne" where he manifested his sublime kingship as God’s Love: by offering himself in expiation for the sin of the world, he defeated the "ruler of this world" and established the Kingdom of God once and for all.
The way to reach this goal is long and admits of no short cuts: indeed, every person must freely accept the truth of God's love. He is Love and Truth, and neither Love nor Truth are ever imposed: they come knocking at the doors of the heart and the mind and where they can enter they bring peace and joy. This is how God reigns; this is his project of salvation.’
Angelus Address of 26th November 2006
Let us renew our encounter with him who is TRUTH, listening to Him telling us that the only truly effective and lasting power in the world is that of unselfish love. He stands before us a bound prisoner because he loves others and he gives his very life for love of them. This love of Jesus will conquer the hearts of millions, whilst the power of Pilate and the Roman Empire crumbles to dust.
"...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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