We had a great gathering of parishioners for the Holy Hour this past Wednesday at the Saint Matthew Church site with Bishop Cistone (even in spite of the weather). I was so pleased at the number of people that came for prayer. As you were leaving, many told me of what a wonderful prayer experience it was for them. When I said good-bye to Bishop Cistone as he was leaving Wednesday evening, he told me that he thought this was one of the best showing of parishioners at the Holy Hours he has been leading. Thank you so much for keeping in prayer the Church of Saginaw during this implementation and transition phase of Planning Tomorrow’s Parishes. Please continue to keep our bishop, our parish, and the parishes of the diocese in prayer as we look to A Future filled with Hope.
Saturday, November 22 was (or is depending upon when you are reading this article) the Memorial feast of Saint Cecilia, patroness of Musicians. Each year the Diocesan Music Committee in conjunction with NPM (the National Association of Pastoral Musicians) presents Saint Cecilia Sing. It has taken a variety of forms in the context of prayer. This year, as last, we are celebrating it in the context of Evening Prayer on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. If you are able, please come celebrate with us at 3:00 pm (today, November 23) at Saint Bridgid Church in Midland for Musical Vespers II in which Pastoral Musicians will engage musical compositions combined with prayer and congregational singing to celebrate the annual Saint Cecilia Sing.
Please join us for our Thanksgiving liturgy Wednesday evening. Eucharist will take place at 7:00 p.m. at the Saint John the Baptist Church site. We have much for which to be grateful, so let us celebrate the great sacrament of thanksgiving, the Eucharist, and give God praise and thanks for all he has given us and for all he has done for us. Please remember to bring canned goods or other items for the food pantry. I do hope you and your families have a blessed Thanksgiving. If you are traveling on the holiday, may the Lord guard your goings and comings and keep you safe.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This solemnity was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925. It makes us stop and think of the difference between our conventional understanding of kingship and power and the understanding of kingship and power we have received through the person of Jesus, robed in glory as king. The Gospel proclaims Jesus as king by the sign over his head on the throne of a cross: INRI, which means Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Think back of the Passion narrative of Luke, when one of the criminals crucified with him acknowledged him as king. He said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” The kingship of Jesus is directly related to his passion, death, and resurrection, the Paschal Mystery we celebrate each week. He is the Lamb that was slain who is worthy “to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever.” (Revelation 5: 12). Handel’s magnificent Oratorio, the Messiah, culminates with a wonderful anthem which begins “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain and hath redeemed us to God by his blood” and then goes into a fugue-like section, “Blessing and honor and glory be unto him,” and then swells into a great “Amen” which concludes the Messiah. It is a glorious piece of music. I just listened to this section as I was preparing to write my article. If you have the music (or if you are able to access You-tube and listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), I encourage you to listen to this section of the Messiah which is such a fitting way in which to give praise to Christ our King in song. We don’t have the capability of singing it today, but we can certainly participate in the song by listening to it.
Today’s Gospel passage presents us with the final judgment when the Son of Man will set upon his glorious throne and separate the sheep from the goats. It is then that he will say to some of us: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” He will continue affirming us by saying how we were there for him when he was hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, ill, and in prison. In the Gospel, Jesus is asked when did this happen. In the Gospel, we are told that when the righteous ask when this happened, the king will say to them, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for the least brothers of mine, you did for me.” As we reflect upon the Gospel this week, let us ask ourselves how we have met Christ this past week, and what we have to offer him.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ