We celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe this weekend. The Scripture Readings assigned for the day remind us that Christ is the universal ruler, that he is the only one who should have influence and power over nations, peoples, and hearts. From the Gospel we learn that the Kingdom Jesus rules “does not belong to this world.” Some people, before and at the time that Jesus lived, expected that the Messiah’s kingdom would be civil or military. In contrast, the kingdom of Christ transcends geography and history. It exists in human hearts and calls forth allegiance to God and to the principles of justice, love, and peace. This kingdom belongs to the heavenly arena where life, love, and peace are experienced fully. It also has the dimension of the earthly realm, because Christ is present to us at all times, and, in miniature ways, through the Body of Christ, we experience God’s goodness, love, and mercy through one another. The Kingdom is both present and yet to come in its fullness, when all will belong to God completely. As we reflect upon this week’s Gospel, let us ask ourselves how we pledge our allegiance to Christ the King? How does Jesus Christ rule our lives?
I would like to extend a special thank you to all who helped out in any way with the Parish Thanksgiving Dinner. As I write this article, 280 people have signed up to be present for the meal. My hope, and that of our parish leaders, is that we take the opportunity to get to know each other a little better this year, with the help of name tags. Hopefully, this past Saturday (November 21) you were able to reach out to someone you hadn’t previously met before and maybe even took the opportunity to sit at table with them.
Our Parish Thanksgiving Mass will take place on Wednesday, November 25, at 6:30 PM, at the main parish Church. Please remember to bring items for the food pantry to church that evening with you. There will be baskets in which to place the food at the entrances to church. Please note that there will be no morning Mass on Wednesday. Due to the holiday, the Parish Offices will be closed on both Thursday and Friday this week. Thus, there will be no rosary or liturgy scheduled on those days.
This coming Saturday, November 28, there are meetings for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion at 10:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 3:00 PM in Church. Please come at the time that best fits your schedule. There are a few new procedures that take effect the First Sunday of Advent that Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion need to be aware of in terms of: Communion Stations, those who need Holy Communion taken to them in their seats, returning to the sacristy after Communion, and the Dismissal of those taking Holy Communion to the Sick and Homebound.
Beginning the First Sunday of Advent, all individuals in the assembly will be receiving Holy Communion in the front of the Church. Those who have experienced distributing or receiving Holy Communion in the back of the Church are most concerned about reverence for the Holy Eucharist, and I must say that I am as well. Weekly, there are several individuals who, for one reason or another, leave Mass immediately after receiving Communion. They try to pass through the doors where Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are standing, with little awareness that they are interfering with the Communion Procession and even bumping into individuals holding the precious Body and Blood of Christ. I have received comments from many who asked if there was a way to remedy the situation so that greater reverence might be given to the Eucharist. So, beginning next Sunday, all will receive Communion in the front of Church. If you are unable to walk the distance, please let a Minister of Hospitality know so that Eucharist may be brought to you at your place.
Advent begins next Sunday. Please note the information in today’s bulletin regarding opportunities for prayer, community, and faith sharing. Little Blue Books will be available at each of the Church entrances this weekend. Next weekend, you may want to check out the pamphlet rack in the front entrance of the church for supplementary reading materials. I would like to highlight the family Advent Wreath making that will take place next Sunday after 9:30 AM Mass. Please make a reservation with Amy by Monday, November 23, so that she may have enough materials available. I would also like to highlight the opportunity for private prayer before the Blessed Sacrament the four Sundays of Advent. The objective of providing some time throughout the year for Adoration and Prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament came about through the Parish Leadership Goal Setting Sessions. At their last meeting, the Finance Council proposed offering some times when people are not at work for this experience to take place and the Worship Commission concurred; the Sundays of Advent were suggested. The first three Sundays of Advent, church will remain open after 9:30 AM Mass until 3:00 PM and the last Sunday of Advent, it will remain open until 1:00 PM for prayer (after which time, decorating the church and enhancing the environment for Christmas will take place).
May you and your families have a blessed Thanksgiving! (Safe travels if you are leaving your home).
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ