Saturday, November 19, 2016

Christ the King




Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King; the final Sunday of the liturgical year. 

A few weeks ago I described this day as a hinge connecting the last Sundays of ordinary time with the coming liturgical year. 

(You can find all past articles at brucemauro1.blogspot.com.)

Today, I'd like to speak a little more about the idea of the church or liturgical year.  As in the calendar year we travel somewhat cyclically in that we  revisit various days and seasons.  The difference is that in the church year we also journey outward moving closer to the fulfillment of God's kingdom.  If you're a visual learner; the calendar year would be a circle and the church year a spiral.  

As we get ready (God willing) to  take another trip around this spiral, may we:

*  Look at the past with gratitude

Let us be grateful even for our struggles as they have helped create the person we are today.

*  Look at our present with gratitude.     

Eckhart Tolle writes "Acknowledging the good that is already in your life is the foundation for all abundance."

* Look towards the future with gratitude

Jesus tells the repentant thief that he will be with Him in paradise.  Let us be grateful that we have a God who looks at us through the eyes of mercy.

See you around in the new year,

Bruce

PS
I am grateful to have spent this past year and the coming year serving at St. Mary's.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Lo, the day is coming      or         The Big Reveal

On October 23rd I began writing a series of articles focused on the coming last Sundays in ordinary time.  This first article spoke of the apocalypse as more than just an end but as a revealing.  Today’s readings offer two images to make this point.

In the first reading the Prophet Malachi speaks of a fire that will leave neither root nor branch from which will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.

In the gospel Jesus uses an image that will resonate with the Jewish people to whom he was preaching.  He speaks of the destruction of the temple so complete that each ornamental stone will be separated from the next.

So……    If the apocalypse is a (sort of) ending; what does it reveal?

The answer can be found in next week’s gospel.  Luke 23:35-43

Take a look by clicking the link.  Go ahead, you’re allowed.  (I’ll wait.)

The sort of ending is the story of Jesus’ crucifixion.  The big reveal is that Jesus’ death, the death of the repentant thief and you and me is not the end. 

***
Todays music attempt to capture the multiple threads of the readings and the time of the liturgical year.  Several songs have been repeated throughout these last Sunday to help build our parish repertoire.

One new song; Refiner’s Fire Purify My Heart  relates directly to the words of the prophet Malachi and Jesus.   May we all strive for holiness and readiness to do the will of God.

In gratitude,

Bruce

p.s.

On Monday November 21 at 7:30 St. Mary’s hosts the Nutley/Belleville Ecumenical Service.  Leave the turkey to defrost and start Thanksgiving Week off on a great note. (pun, somewhat intended)


Saturday, November 5, 2016

We Give (You) Thanks


Let's begin with a quick recap: 

Today is the second of three “Last Sundays of Ordinary Time.” These Sundays are connected by the Solemnity of Christ the King to the new liturgical year which begins on the first Sunday of Advent. 

During this time we are pointed in a particular way to Christ’s promised return and the fulfillment of the kingdom. 

Two recent days highlight this focus. 

On All Saints day we celebrated those who the church has officially named as saints. 

On All Souls Day we remembered and prayed for our faithful departed. 

So how does Thanksgiving fit in? 

For starters what we do in worship is an act of Thanksgiving. Let me explain. Our liturgy (what we often refer to as the mass) is made up of the Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist. The word Eucharist means “thanksgiving.” 

During this month of November I’ve chosen Marty Haugen’s “We Give You Thanks” as a gathering song. The text lifts up many things for which we can and should be thankful. The last two phrases of the first verse for the faith of those around us, for the dead and all those here captures the focus of All Saints and All Souls: 

My hope is that our praying these words as we gather will transition us from the cares, needs and anxiety of our daily lives to a spirit of gratitude. 

Grateful to be making music here at St. Mary’s, 

Bruce

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