Sunday, November 23, 2014


Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
(23 November 2014)

Today’s liturgy invites us to fix our gaze on Christ, the King of the Universe.  The beautiful prayer of the Preface reminds us that his kingdom is “a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace”.  The readings we have listened to show us how Jesus established his kingdom; how he brings it about in history; and what he now asks of us.

First, how Jesus brought about his kingdom:  he did so through his closeness and tenderness towards us.  He is the Shepherd, of whom the Prophet Ezekiel spoke in the First Reading (cf. 34:11-12, 15-17).  These verses are interwoven with verbs which show the care and love that the Shepherd has for his flock: to search, to look over, to gather the dispersed, to lead into pasture, to bring to rest, to seek the lost sheep, to lead back the confused, to bandage the wounded, to heal the sick, to take care of, to pasture.  All of these are fulfilled in Jesus Christ:  he is truly the “great Shepherd of the sheep and the protector of our souls” (cf. Heb 13:20; 1 Pt 2:25).

Those of us who are called to be pastors in the Church cannot stray from this example, if we do not want to become hirelings.  In this regard the People of God have an unerring sense for recognizing good shepherds and in distinguishing them from hirelings.

After his victory, that is after his Resurrection, how has Jesus advanced his kingdom?  The Apostle Paul, in the First Letter to the Corinthians, says: “for he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (15:25).  The Father, little by little, subjects all to the Son and, at the same time, the Son subjects all to the Father.  Jesus is not a King according to earthly ways: for him, to reign is not to command, but to obey the Father, to give himself over to the Father, so that his plan of love and salvation may be brought to fulfillment.  In this way there is full reciprocity between the Father and the Son.  The period of Christ’s reign is the long period of subjecting everything to the Son and consigning everything to the Father.  “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor 15:26).  And in the end, when all things will be under the sovereignty of Jesus, and everything, including Jesus himself, will be subjected to the Father, God will be all in all (cf. 1 Cor 15:28).

The Gospel teaches what Jesus’ kingdom requires of us: it reminds us that closeness and tenderness are the rule of life for us also, and that on this basis we will be judged.  This is the great parable of the final judgement in Matthew 25.  The King says: “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (25:34-36).  The righteous will ask him: when did we do all this?  And he will answer them: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).

The starting point of salvation is not the confession of the sovereignty of Christ, but rather the imitation of Jesus’ works of mercy through which he brought about his kingdom.  The one who accomplishes these works shows that he has welcomed Christ’s sovereignty, because he has opened his heart to God’s charity.  In the twilight of life we will be judged on our love for, closeness to and tenderness towards our brothers and sisters.  Upon this will depend our entry into, or exclusion from, the kingdom of God: our belonging to the one side or the other.  Through his victory, Jesus has opened to us his kingdom.  But it is for us to enter into it, beginning with our life now, by being close in concrete ways to our brothers and sisters who ask for bread, clothing, acceptance, solidarity.  If we truly love them, we will be willing to share with them what is most precious to us, Jesus himself and his Gospel.

Today the Church places before us the example of these new saints.  Each in his or her own way served the kingdom of God, of which they became heirs, precisely through works of generous devotion to God and their brothers and sisters.  They responded with extraordinary creativity to the commandment of love of God and neighbour.  They dedicated themselves, without holding back, to serving the least and assisting the destitute, sick, elderly and pilgrims.  Their preference for the smallest and poorest was the reflection and measure of their unconditional love of God.  In fact, they sought and discovered love in a strong and personal relationship with God, from whence springs forth true love for one’s neighbour.  In the hour of judgement, therefore, they heard that tender invitation: “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mt 25:34).

Through the rite of canonization, we have confessed once again the mystery of God’s kingdom and we have honoured Christ the King, the Shepherd full of love for his sheep.  May our new saints, through their witness and intercession, increase within us the joy of walking in the way of the Gospel and our resolve to embrace the Gospel as the compass of our lives.  Let us follow in their footsteps, imitating their faith and love, so that our hope too may be clothed in immortality.  May we not allow ourselves to be distracted by other earthly and fleeting interests.  And may Mary, our Mother and Queen of all Saints, guide us on the way to the kingdom of heaven.  Amen.


Fr John said...

I see that Francis has reverted back to the rite of canonisation prior to Benedict's (traditionalist) modifications. I think that says a lot about his liturgy agenda and preferences.

Gene said...

I wasn't coming back on the blog, but the Pope's statement that "confession of the sovereignty of Christ is not the starting point of salvation," rather all this love and kind feeling, is absolute heresy. It is un-Biblical, directly counter to Christ's own statements, Pelagian, universalist, indifferentist, and just plain bad theology. This Pope continues to reveal himself while everyone thrusts their head deeper into the sand.
Oh, the Church in Germany is now giving its blessing to all the homo and divorced who work in the Church. The Church in this country is supporting Obama's unlawful amnesty overthrow of the Constitution in direct violation of CCC';s admonition that we must obey the laws of our country. And, you wonder why people are leaving the Church? If there was anywhere else to go, I'd leave, too. I remain because, so far, Catholic doctrine remains inviolate, even if ignored.

John Nolan said...

The fact that Pope Francis has seen fit to alter the liturgy established by his predecessor simply means that his successor need not feel himself bound by it as a result of precedent. Papal liturgies are adequate (just) but even in JP II's day I remember watching the Mass in St Peter's for Easter Sunday on TV before going to the London Oratory to experience something infinitely superior.

Tevye said...

Fr, McD. do you. or do any of the Georgia bloggers here have any opinions or comments on the statement published in the "Southern Cross" in support of President Obama's executive action regarding immigration policy?

George said...

Pope Francis todays declared Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia Eluventhinkal from India as Saints.

These two new saints are from the centuries old Syro Malabar Catholic Church.

The Syro Malabar Church, which traces its origin to the visit of Apostle St. Thomas in the first century AD, is one of the 22 Eastern Churches in Full Communion with Rome.
So for those who would like to experience Eastern Catholicism without going Orthodox and leaving Rome behind, there are options available.

Eastern Rite Catholic Churches
in the Archdiocese of Atlanta

Rt. Rev. Archimandrite John Azar, Pastor
1428 Ponce de Leon Ave., NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
Bishop Nicholas Samra
Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy (Diocese) of Newton, Mass.

Rev. Philip P. Scott, Pastor
2030 Old Alabama Road
Roswell, GA 30076-2313
(A diocese of the Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Metropolia of the United States, the metropolitan see of which is located in Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Rev. Dominique Hanna, Pastor
502 Seminole Ave., N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30307
Bishop Gregory John Mansour
Eparchy (Diocese) of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Rev. Jerry Ikalowych, pastor
2880 Highway 138, N.E.
Conyers GA 30013
Bishop John Bura, apostolic administrator
Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy (Diocese) of St. Josaphat in Parma, Ohio

Rev. Abraham Puthiaparampil, M.S.F.S., pastor
4561 Rosebud Road
Loganville GA 30052-4610
Bishop Mar Jacob Angadiath
St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago, IL

Rev. Abey Alex Vadakkekara, pastor
3885 Rosebud Road
Loganville GA 30052-4610

Anonymous said...

Gene and John....back can go on.....I'm verklempt...

Gene said...

Tevye, It is no surprise that this diocese and the Catholic Church, generally, support our incompetent, President in his effort to overthrow the Constitution and the government of laws. The Church has always taken the side of Leftists in spite of her own teachings that those ideologies and the issues they support (abortion, gay marriage, etc.) are evil and to be condemned. Follow the money…a twist on Luther, "as soon as the Mex in the Rio Grande springs, the coin in the coffers of Mother Church rings."

Tevye said...

Gene you sound like a very unhappy person. You are an American Catholic who seems to dislike both the Church and the United States. They are both very positive and important parts of my life.

Anonymous 2 said...


Welcome back! And when you’re back, you’re really back and swinging (or should I say shooting from the hip).

You have made two bold assertions on this thread: (1) The Pope is a heretic because he said "confession of the sovereignty of Christ is not the starting point of salvation” and (2) The President is overthrowing the Constitution and our government of laws through his “unlawful amnesty.”

Usually when I question your assertions or the assertions of others I seek to rebut them with argument. I do have good arguments in this case too. But my preferred approach now is often to explore what the assertion actually amounts to first. So, I would ask you to justify your assertions beyond the inflammatory rhetoric and minimal substantive hints you have provided. In doing so can you please tie your justifications to the actual facts, that is, what Pope Francis actually said (this requires putting his words back into the context of his homily not just ripping them out of that context and yelling “heretic”) and what President Obama’s Executive Order actually does (this requires putting the so-called “amnesty” into the broader legal context and not just ripping it out of that context and yelling “tyrant”).

Gene said...

There are plenty of Congressmen, Senators, legal scholars, and political commentators who agree with me about Nobama. I feel no need to justify my assertions to a lib. As far as the Pope is concerned, I am certainly qualified to make the not so bold and very obvious statement that the Pope is making statements that are counter to Catholic/Christian doctrine. That seems plainly obvious on the face of it and should need no explanation.

Gene said...

Tevye, I do not know from where you pull your assumptions about me, but I have a pretty good idea.
No, I am not unhappy, I love my country (as founded) and the Catholic Church (as founded).

Gene said...

Oh, and the "context" does not matter. The Pope's premise is false.

George said...

To be fair it must be acknowledged that the US Chamber of Commerce backs some kind of immigration reform( although not all of its members of course). There are of course people who run some of the companies and corporations in this country who tacitly support illegal immigration because of the cheap labor it supplies. One can speculate on why the president did what he did. For political reasons? To help prop up Social Security down the road? To prop up the Obamacare numbers? All of these? The two institutions that could effect the presidents actions, the Supreme Court and the Congress, have so far failed to do much of anything (whether on this issue or many others where he has taken questionable action). The Church would be criticized no matter which position it took and so it is left to deal with the situation as it is.The Church has no control over immigration policy but through its faithful members will always deal with human beings according the the religious principles it espouses.

Bi-Ritual in Augusta said...

Another Eastern Rite Catholic Church located in the Diocese of Savannah: SAINT IGNATIOS OF ANTIOCH MELKITE GREEK CATHOLIC CHURCH
Rev. Michael H. Hull, Pastor
1003 Merry St
Augusta, GA 30904
Bishop Nicholas Samra
Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy (Diocese) of Newton, Mass.

Anonymous 2 said...


Forget the Congressmen, Senators, and political commentators. They are mostly just bags of wind who sound much worse than bagpipes, and the first two groups spend most of their time campaigning so they can get elected to spend most of their time campaigning. Tell me about the legal scholars. On your side, perhaps you can start with Jonathan Turley. If so, I hope you can do better than the following seven minute interview with Megyn Kelly, in which Professor Turley basically said nothing but just sounded like another bagpipe:

As for the Pope, well, of course you are more qualified than he is. Perhaps next time the Cardinals will have the wisdom to elect you as our next Pope.

I notice, then, that you duck the hard questions by the usual, tiresome, and quite inaccurate device of calling me a lib. Yawn. Let me know when you want to have an adult conversation about these matters and we can engage on the real substantive issues.

And oh, the context does matter because you cannot understand the premise without reading it in context, which I notice you conveniently failed to do. But this is typical of a certain type of “political” discourse nowadays.

Paul said...

Would The Liar propose feeding, clothing and housing the poor? What would The Liar do for the marginalized, the discriminated, and the disenfranchised?

What wouldn't The Liar propose?

Gene said...

Anon 2, I have no desire to engage you in any conversation because I know your lib/academic biases and understand that you are living behind the sheltered walls of academia while poisoning there minds of law students with relativistic, progressivist interpretations of the law and Constitution. You are an Islamophile and an Obamanite.
As for your stupid taunt that I know more than the Pope…regarding theology, possibly. He certainly hasn't impressed me with his theological acumen. I'll let my graduate degrees in theology and Christian Doctrine stand for my "qualifications," although any Christian layman could read the Pope's words and see that the premise is wrong whatever the context. It is, at best, careless language (again) and, at worst, deliberate manipulation of NT Christology and Christ's words.
Maybe the Pope doesn't know any better…it is certainly possible since he has been in South America all these many years soaking up "Liberation Theology" BS and Third World socialist mentality. No wonder you like him.

Anonymous 2 said...


Regarding the issue of Obama’s Executive Order, I assume from your bluster that you are unable to explain to me why the President’s actions are unconstitutional. I thought as much. I suggest, then, that before you go around making assertions like that or repeating vapid “talking points” from the Republicans or Fox News that you get some facts and study the issues and relevant texts.

I do not teach Constitutional law but I do teach Immigration Law and there are very sound arguments supporting the lawfulness and constitutionality of the Executive Order. But I doubt you will hear them addressed by the Republican opposition or know nothing commentators on Fox News. But I will say no more about this now as you obviously are not interested in learning anything.

As for my taunt, you are the one who called the Pope a heretic. Perhaps you should be more careful with your language. I hope that the priests will clarify the matter for us. Ignorant though I am compared to you, I strongly suspect the Pope’s statements are in line with Catholic teaching on salvation.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon 2 - How silly of you to ask Pin/Gene for explanations of his positions!

First, ya ain't gonna get any, because they cannot be supported by facts.

Second, they are the positions of Pin/Gene and, therefore require no explanations!

I am reminded of Sir Joseph's line from HMS Pinafore, "Captain Corcoran, it is one of the happiest characteristics of this happy country that official utterances are invariably regarded as unanswerable!"

We have an official utterance from Pin/Gene, so give three cheers and one cheer more!

JusadBellum said...

The context of the Pope's homily in quoting the final judgment was to point out that declarations of allegiance to Christ as king are not what saved people but rather doing the actions of a person who has that allegiance (feeding, clothing, visiting, etc.).

In other words, it's not those who cry "Lord, Lord" but those who "do the will of my heavenly Father" to paraphrase another line in the Gospel.

Calling Jesus "Lord" but not acting as though he is in fact Our Lord is the problem of our age and perhaps of all ages.

But this cuts both ways. How are 'conservatives' conserving what matters if we glom onto the form not the function? And how are progressives actually progressing towards the New Jerusalem if they jettison function for the sake of merely new forms?

The final judgment doesn't ask about intentions but about actions, about fruits.

It's one thing to flatter oneself for having love for the poor, the immigrant, minorities, women, gays, etc. all because one has the proper politically correct OPINIONS....while not actually doing anything to improve their individual lot in life.

It's one thing to flatter oneself for loving the nation's traditions, the Church's traditions, by circling the wagons and holding on to them like a buried talent - nice and safe, but not producing fruit, not expanding.

Our Lord won't judge us based on our intention but on our actions or omissions. What we did or failed to do. And in that awful day it won't matter which "side" or tribe we belonged to. The only criteria will be whether we proved by our actions to be on Christ's side or not.

Jdj said...

Yes, Jusad, very good post. Thanks..

Anonymous 2 said...

Yes, thank you JusadBellum. In addition, of course, Gene’s charge of papal heresy completely overlooks the issue of the salvation of non-Christians, which of course the Pope’s position, being the Catholic position, does not.

And now: immigration anyone?

Anonymous 2 said...

Pater Ignotus: Yes, silly me.

Gene said...

Ah, the salvation of non-Christians…I am sure you are wringing your hands over that one! LOL! Despite our modern, universalist, egalitarian sensibilities, Scripture and the Church are pretty clear. Certainly, we cannot place any limits upon God's mercy, but the Church (pending better instruction) must take seriously the words of Christ and the Apostles. It is really a non-issue, in my opinion, because I believe that all you libs like Anon 2 should be far more concerned with those who say they are believers but who continue to defiantly support and pursue ideologies and social constructs that are diametrically opposed to Church teaching and the words of Christ and the Apostles. God in His mercy and righteous judgement will deal with non-believers and those of other religions. We have no control over that, but it is fun to watch all the libs and progressives worrying and whining about it, thinking the coming of the Kingdom should be like Woodstock or your typical OF Mass.
Now, I am much more excited to envision how Christ in His Glory might deal with un-believers…those who have lost their faith but who remain in the Church to agitate, whine, and pervert the beliefs of other Catholics…what was that about a millstone…LOL!

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene: It’s all in the Catechism and relevant documents of Vatican II, as has been discussed exhaustively and exhaustingly on this Blog already. If taking these sources seriously makes me a “lib” in your eyes, well, so be it. To me, it seems that someone who takes these sources seriously is simply trying to be Catholic.

George said...

JusadBellum said...
The context of the Pope's homily in quoting the final judgment was to point out that declarations of allegiance to Christ as king are not what saved people but rather doing the actions of a person who has that allegiance (feeding, clothing, visiting, etc.).

One of the saints canonized yesterday by the Holy Father was Sister Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception

Her is what was written about her;
She constantly accepted all her sufferings with serenity and trust in God, being firmly convinced that they would purify her motives, help her to overcome all selfishness, and unite her more closely with her beloved divine Spouse. She wrote to her spiritual director: “Dear Father, as my good Lord Jesus loves me so very much, I sincerely desire to remain on this sick bed and suffer not only this, but anything else besides, even to the end of the world. I feel now that God has intended my life to be an oblation, a sacrifice of suffering” (20 November 1944). She came to love suffering because she loved the suffering Christ. She learned to love the Cross through her love of the crucified Lord. Sister Alphonsa knew that by her sufferings she shared in the Church’s apostolate; she found joy in them by offering them all to Christ.'She did not feed cloth or visit, yet did her life not conform Will of God? Did she not accept what He required of her?

Therese of Lisieux entered the convent at fifteen and never left until her death at 24. She is the Patron saint to of missionaries(of all things) and a Doctor of the Church. Did she not likewise do what the Will of God expected of her?

Jdj said...

Sometime/somewhere I heard "Intolerance is usually based in ignorance"; it made total sense at the time (probably in my young adult college years when I was so intolerant of intolerance). It still makes sense although a far bigger challenge each year I live.
As I look back, I realize that we are born totally ignorant, spend our lives trying to improve our ignorance, then die pretty much still fighting (hopefully) ignorance of some sort or another. I will continue to fight with God's help.
At the end of this life I don't think I'll be giving much if any thought to these earthly nuanced battles of form vs substance. I'm guessing I'll be trying to answer God's simple question: "What have you done with your life?" It really is ALL about love of God and neighbor.

Gene said...

Where did I say I did not take these sources seriously?
I am quite familiar with them. They do not contradict what I wrote. Oh, and that is not what makes you a lib in my eyes. LOL!

Gene said...

Love of God can only come through belief in God; proper love of neighbor only comes through belief in Christ and a desire to follow Him. Belief is primary everywhere in Scripture and Christ confirms this again and again. You cannot start with man (i.e. good works, love of neighbor) and get to God. Good works follow from right belief and right worship. This order cannot be reversed and maintain a Biblical Christology. Belief is primary and the necessary condition for salvation. Works are secondary although essential. Salvation is not predicated upon any work of man.

Anonymous 2 said...


You really do seem to make it up as you go along, don’t you? So, let’s try something else given that you are so familiar with those sources. This is what you wrote:

“As far as the Pope is concerned, I am certainly qualified to make the not so bold and very obvious statement that the Pope is making statements that are counter to Catholic/Christian doctrine. That seems plainly obvious on the face of it and should need no explanation.”

Logically, then, you must be asserting either that what the Pope is saying in his homily is contrary to those sources or, if consistent with those sources, that these sources must be contrary to Catholic/Christian doctrine. Please explain which you are asserting and why. And don’t try to wriggle out of it again by ad hominem comments directed at me, the Pope, Obama, or whoever else takes your fancy, or by saying the matter is self-evident. You called the Pope a heretic and you should be accountable for that. If he is a heretic, then show us why.

Gene said...

The Pope made a heretical statement with Pelagian, universalist, indifferentist implications. Perhaps it was merely more careless language, or perhaps he just doesn't know any better. So, he may not be a "heretic," but he certainly does sow confusion.
I make nothing up as I go along. These are theological/doctrinal issues that have long been studied, debated, and with which every theology student, protestant or Catholic, should be familiar.

Anonymous 2 said...

Thank you for the explanation, Gene. It seems that my comment at 9:29 p.m. is partly moot because you have now provided a clear statement of your position. It is still unclear to me, however, what you think about the relevant statements in the Catechism and the documents of Vatican II regarding non-Christian religions and about the Pope. So, can you please tie the clear statement of your position to your assertion that the Pope is a heretic? A related question, of course, is whether your position is in accord with Catholic teaching.

Gene said...

Anon 2, It seems to me my statements at 6:53 and 8:52 are pretty clear. We can place no limits upon God's mercy, but Scripture and the Church are pretty clear that Salvation is through the Church and that non-believers, especially those who have access to Christian truth and worship, are in danger of being lost. Are you implying that the Magisterium is incorrect about this?