THE KINGDOM OF THE SHEPHERD KING
As we celebrate the feast of Christ the King and conclude our Sunday readings from St Matthew’s Gospel, we remember that Jesus came as the shepherd king, to establish the kingdom of God, a kingdom of love and service of others. The signs of the kingdom of God are acts of compassion to the vulnerable and hurting, love for one another and a realisation that the king identifies himself completely with the least in his kingdom. Christ’s call for universal compassion can be uncomfortable for those of us who are comfortable. In our natural self-centred state, we are not ready for his kingdom, so we are called to repent, to renew our attitudes.
Jesus says he is the Good Shepherd, the one described by Isaiah, who would rescue, heal, feed and give rest to his sheep, and who would judge them. Time will come to an end for each of us and for all, and there will be judgement. Our judgement will be based on whether we were good, kind, welcoming and giving to other people, whether we had time for those in distress, time for God’s little ones.
May the Virgin Mary help us to encounter Our Lord and receive him in his Word and in the Eucharist, and at the same time in brothers and sisters who suffer from hunger, disease, oppression or injustice. May we have a heart for all who suffer, especially those accounted as unimportant in the eyes of the world. May we help them from our material posessions and may give our time, as loving and generous followers of Christ. We pray that at the resurrection, by God’s mercy, we will be called to life
PRAYER AND REMEMBRANCE IN NOVEMBER
We continue to pray for our beloved dead in this month of November, and perhaps visit the burial places of our loved ones to pray there alone or with others from our household.
Pope Francis for this year has extended the time during which November Plenary Indulgences for the dead may be gained. A plenary indulgence may be gained by visiting and praying in a church or oratory on any day in November, and a plenary indulgences to be gained once per day for visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead on any eight days in November, which need not be consecutive. We should also pray for the Pope’s intentions.
Those who are elderly, sick or otherwise vulnerable and unable to leave home due to Covid-19 restrictions, may gain these indulgences by praying for the dead before an image of Jesus or of the Blessed Virgin Mary, appropriate prayers include the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet or prayers from the Office of the Dead.
The usual conditions (Sacramental Confession and reception of Holy Communion) should be completed when this becomes possible again.
Sincere thanks for the very generous response to the Autumn Dues appeal.
We have experienced difficulties with our live-streamed Mass transmissions from time to time, in particular occasional time lags of up to several minutes, we hope to have these issues resolved soon.
Existing arrangements to comply with COVID-19 restrictions continue as follows as follows.
Church Open for Private Prayer
11.00 am – 6.00 pm Monday-Saturday
Live Streamed Masses:
10.00 am Monday-Saturday
6.00 pm Saturday (vigil)
10.00 am and 12.00 noon on Sunday
Permitted, subject to a limit of twenty-five people in the church, including the priest.
Permitted, subject to a limit of twenty-five people in the church, including the bride, groom, witnesses and the priest.
No baptisms for the time being.
REFLECTION from Fr Donal Neary SJ
On the Solemnity of Christ the King
Words connected with king may be power, authority, distance, homage and many more. The king presented in Jesus is very different, as in our readings this week.
The king is more a shepherd and often called a shepherd-king. The one who looks after all the sheep, looks for the lost and is loved by the sheep.
In the gospel Jesus presents us with a representative list of those who need the most looking after in the world then and now: like the hungry and thirsty, who will die if help is not given. He highlights people who are often neglected as not worth our time – the stranger, the prisoner and the sick. He looks out for the least ones.
A challenge today in trying to care for the millions who starve and lack good water; the people confined in nursing homes and those in mourning because of the dangerous virus; the prisoner, locked and hidden away. They are ones Jesus remembers every day himself. Can we do the same, and put our remembrance into action?
Let me notice this week, O Lord, the needy ones on my doorstep.