November 25, 2018 Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe Deacon Steve Whiteman

Nov 26, 2018

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Reading 1 DN 7:13-14

Responsorial Psalm PS 93:1, 1-2, 5

  1. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.

Reading 2 RV 1:5-8

Alleluia MK 11:9, 10

Gospel JN 18:33B-37

 

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Let me take you back in time for a moment to the year 1968…50 years ago. My memory of that year is not very good but Wikipedia was a great reference:

·        The Green Bay Packers beat the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II

·        Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were both assassinated.

  • 1968 was the deadliest year for Americans in Vietnam when 16,899 were killed
  • Local, State and Federal officials broke ground on the Dubuque floodwall.
  • Father Jim was discerning a vocation to the priesthood and that fall he started Loras College.

·        Pope St. Paul VI publishes the encyclical entitled Humane Vitae, about God’s design for married love…and

·        Frank Sinatra records a song called “My Way”.

“My Way” was a big hit for Frank Sinatra. The English lyrics were written by Paul Anka with Sinatra in mind. It’s a timeless classic but the words really fly in the face of our readings today. It’s an anthem for people that like to be in charge of their own destiny. They aren’t afraid to take on the struggles in life but don’t want help from anyone else.  

This mindset has many implications. Since we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King this weekend, we may want to focus on our willingness to take God’s guidance in our daily lives.

As we are in the holiday season and approaching Advent, we may want to sharpen our focus even further and consider the choices we make regarding our physical and spiritual health. These include our daily relationship with food, sleep and even our sexuality.

God has given us our incredible human bodies that we get to use during our short life on this earth. They come in all shapes, colors and sizes but for the most part we all have the same physical needs to survive. We need the right kind and amount of food to nourish our bodies, the right amount of sleep to stay healthy and if we want to survive as a species, we need to reproduce.

God loves us enough to give us free will to make our own choices in life. As adults, we make daily choices that impact our health but we also know that we will suffer the consequences of the unhealthy decisions.

Soon after God created Adam and Eve, He gave them suggestions for living a healthy life. Shortly after that, the devil came on the scene and started tempting them to ignore God and go their own way. Unfortunately they chose to do it “their way” and not “God’s way” and we have been suffering the consequences ever since.

Of course we need to find the right balance to maintain our physical health and it helps to understand the myths in our world. Our consumer culture creates an illusion that tells us we should make our daily decisions based on our physical desires: every urge in our body should be immediately satisfied with luxury and decadence because we deserve it and no one should be telling us how to live our lives.

The harsh reality of this behavior is that it weakens our will power and we can be led down a slippery slope into addiction and compulsive behavior. This robs us of the free will God has given us and we become enslaved by our passions.

God knew we would be tempted to follow this path and has given us several ways to maintain our freedom. Let’s focus on 2 this evening/morning:

The first one is fasting. Fasting may seem like a concession to our freedom but it is meant to be a healthy way to master our physical desires. Just as physical exercise is a way to condition our bodies to be stronger and healthier, fasting conditions our willpower and self-control.  The Church has given us traditional times of fasting during Lent to help us prepare for Easter but you might find informal fasting to be helpful year-round. Informal fasting doesn’t have to put you in sackcloth and ashes. It’s an opportunity to master the physical urges we have each day and overcome unhealthy behavior. Consider skipping the donut at coffee break or bowl of ice cream at night and offer up these small sacrifices up for someone you know who is struggling. The health benefits of fasting are well known but the spiritual benefits are out of this world.

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