Meeting Christ in the Liturgy

Ordinary Time, Sundays 32-33, Year A

Select liturgy here



Wisdom 6, 12-16; Psalm 63; 1 Thes 4: 13-18; Matthew 25: 1-13

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The peace of Christ be with you!
As the ordinary time of the year draws to a close, and we look forward to the beginning of a new year at Advent, we contemplate the end of the world and the second coming of our Lord in glory, with all the saints, to judge the living and the dead.

Jesus' parables about "the reign of God" are his word to prepare us well for that great day, when we shall "see him face to face". Our Catholic faith and life are the means by which we anticipate that day without fear. "Fear is useless, what is needed is trust." Only the Christian can truly live the motto, "No Fear". Only the authentic Christian, afforded the fullness of truth in the Catholic faith, can face that most terrible of days without trepidation.

We are responsible, in the first place, for our own salvation. The ten bridesmaids, equipped with their torches alight and waiting for the bridegroom, are a lesson by which we examine our own lives. The five foolish virgins did not prepare adequately, did not bring oil along with them. They could not predict how long the waiting period might be: "...keep your eyes open, for you know not the day or the hour." To go out without a reserve of oil was imprudence of the worst sort. The bridegroom arrived while the five foolish virgins were rushing out to buy the oil which they neglected to bring with them. The five wise virgins were prudent, not only to bring sufficient oil in order to keep their lamps alight until the master returned, but also to refuse to give away the oil they needed for themselves in order to undergo the trial of waiting and watching in darkness.

The Catechism speaks of the present time of trial.
"Though already present in his Church, Christ's reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled 'with power and great glory' by the king's return to earth. (Lk 21:27) This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ's Passover. (2 Thes 2:7) Until everything is subject to him, 'until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God.' (Lumen Gentium 48) That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ's return by saying to him: Marana tha! 'Our Lord, come!' (1 Cor 16:22; Rev 22:17, 20)" (CCC 671)

"According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by 'distress' and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church (Acts 1:8) and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching. (Mt 25:1, 13)" (CCC 672)

This present age is imbued with a spirit of instant gratification, which does not foster the virtue of patient waiting for the good things of eternity to come. Many fall away from the Spirit of the Lord out of infatuation with the false Gospel of materialism and pleasure-seeking. We are a chosen people, chosen from the world but not taken out of the world. We await "the revelation of the Sons of God" in faith, hope and love. We persevere in the worship of the community, or "communio", the communion of the faithful baptized. In this present time we await the full reward in prayer, wait and watch with ardent hope and love for our Redeemer.

Not content only with watching and waiting, however, we are also called to be servants according to the model of Jesus the suffering servant. In the poor, the unwanted, the lonely and the suffering we compassionate the suffering Christ. There are no brothers or sisters who are more vulnerable or poor than the "little ones" in the womb and the elderly who are judged no longer useful.

The agents of the culture of death sacrifice unborn children, the elderly, and the unwanted on the bloody altars of selfishness, greed and lust. Perseverance for the members of the kingdom of God involves using every available recourse, including the vote, to unseat from power those who serve the false gods who demand the butchering of the unborn in partial-birth abortion or any means of directly terminating human life in all its stages. To refuse one's responsibility to uphold human life, to cooperate in moral evil by voting for the agents of death, is a sin. Our faith teaches us that "one may never do evil that good may come of it." There are no exceptions whatsoever to the laws of God.

Mark the hours of the day according to the ancient Christian custom of praying the Angelus, the pro-life prayer in which the incarnation of Our Lord in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary is remembered. Extend the graces of the Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the day with this prayer at the hours of six in the morning, noon and six in the evening. Grow in your reverence for all human life through this prayer in which we worship the Lord: "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Let's pray for each other until, again next week, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Fr. Cusick
(Publish with permission.)


Proverbs Ch 31, vv 10-13.19-20.30-31; Psalm 128; 1 Thessalonians Ch 5, vv 1-6; Matthew Ch 25, vv 14-30

Brothers and Sisters in Christ

The peace of Christ be with you!

In our Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapter twenty-five, verses fourteen to thirty, we have a lesson on the kingdom of God, and the judgment that will come with the end of all things. A man going on a journey prepares for it by giving to one of his servants five thousand silver pieces, to another two thousand, and to a third one thousand. One of the servants responded to his gift by burying it. He was punished. The servants who put their gifts to use and bore fruit were rewarded with greater gifts. If we are to receive the greatest gift of grace in the kingdom, it must begin for us right here and now as we seek the kingdom by putting ourselves and our talents to work for God and others.

We are the servants of God, and are responsible to God for the way we use the abilities he has given us. How we use our abilities to enrich and help others is our fulfillment of Christ's command to love others as we love ourselves. On the natural level, God equips each one of us with unique talents, abilities, and aptitudes. No one person will ever be exactly like another or have the ability to excel in every discipline. All the plastic surgery, diets, workout programs, steroids or makeup in the world cannot change this fact. Happiness lies not in changing our physical appearance to be like someone else; it lies in fully realizing our God-given identity of talents and gifts through a virtuous and generous life. Recognizing and accepting God's plan for each of us is essential for our happiness. C.S. Lewis wisely wrote, in The Problem of Pain, "When we want to be something other than the thing God wants us to be, we must be wanting what, in fact, will not make us happy."

"On coming into the world, man is not equipped with everything he needs for developing his bodily and spiritual life. He needs others. Differences appear tied to age, physical abilities, commerce, and the distribution of wealth. The 'talents' are not distributed equally." (CCC 1936)

Note that when the Catechism acknowledges that every single human being is "needy", the first solution to this need is "others" and not "things." The most effective way that every human being will satisfy his or her needs in this life is, by God's plan, through the other members of the human community. True wealth, riches and gifts are found first of all in other human beings, not in the material things or monetary wealth they can bring us

The myth of "overpopulation" is accepted as truth by many today. The steady barrage of media reports on the latest aspects of this burgeoning "crisis" only serve as nails in the coffins of the children yet to be born, the handicapped and the sick or debilitated elderly. An authentic demographic recognizes that there is no overpopulation problem. Mother Teresa once said, "Saying there are too many babies is like saying there are too many flowers." The only people we have too many of in the world today are people who think there are too many people. There is enough land, water and food for everyone. It is the selfishness of man and his lust for money or power that prevent the just distribution of the world's wealth among mankind.

The answer to man's material needs has been provided by the Creator. What is needed now is cooperation with the Creator's wisdom to ensure that the "universal destination of goods" comes about.

"These differences belong to God's plan, who wills that each receive what he needs from others, and that those endowed with particular 'talents' share the benefits with those who need them. These differences encourage and often oblige persons to practice generosity, kindness, and sharing of goods; they foster the mutual enrichment of cultures:
'I distribute the virtues quite diversely; I do not give all of them to each person, but some to one, some to others...I shall give principally charity to one; justice to another; humility to this one, a living faith to that one...And so I have given many gifts and graces, both spiritual and temporal, with such diversity that I have not given everything to one single person, so that you may be constrained to practice charity towards one another...I have willed that one should need another and that all should be my ministers in distributing the graces and gifts they have received from me.' " (St. Catherine of Siena, Dialogues) (CCC 1937)

The kingdom is brought about not only at that moment when we answer to God for our use of the talents he has given us, either selfishly or generously. The kingdom has already begun among those who share the good things of this world, their talents and energies, generously for the betterment of their fellow men and women. "Well done! You are an industrious and reliable servant. Since you were dependable in a small matter I will put you in charge of larger affairs. Come, share your master's joy!"

Let's pray for each other until, again next week, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Fr. Cusick
(Publish with permission.)