Sunday, November 24, 2013


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered the homily at Mass on Sunday to mark the Solemnity of Christ the King and close the Year of Faith proclaimed by his predecessor, emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. Below, please find the official English translation of Pope Francis' prepared remarks.


Today’s solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, the crowning of the liturgical year, also marks the conclusion of the Year of Faith opened by Pope Benedict XVI, to whom our thoughts now turn with affection and gratitude. By this providential initiative, he gave us an opportunity to rediscover the beauty of the journey of faith begun on the day of our Baptism, which made us children of God and brothers and sisters in the Church. A journey which has as its ultimate end our full encounter with God, and throughout which the Holy Spirit purifies us, lifts us up and sanctifies us, so that we may enter into the happiness for which our hearts long. 
I offer a cordial greeting to the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches present. The exchange of peace which I will share with them is above all a sign of the appreciation of the Bishop of Rome for these communities which have confessed the name of Christ with exemplary faithfulness, often at a high price. 
With this gesture, through them, I would like to reach all those Christians living in the Holy Land, in Syria and in the entire East, and obtain for them the gift of peace and concord. 
The Scripture readings proclaimed to us have as their common theme the centrality of Christ. Christ as the centre of creation, the centre of his people and the centre of history. 
1. The apostle Paul, in the second reading, taken from the letter to the Colossians, offers us a profound vision of the centrality of Jesus. He presents Christ to us as the first-born of all creation: in him, through him and for him all things were created. He is the centre of all things, he is the beginning. God has given him the fullness, the totality, so that in him all things might be reconciled (cf. Col 1:12-20). 
This image enables to see that Jesus is the centre of creation; and so the attitude demanded of us as true believers is that of recognizing and accepting in our lives the centrality of Jesus Christ, in our thoughts, in our words and in our works. When this centre is lost, when it is replaced by something else, only harm can result for everything around us and for ourselves. 
2. Besides being the centre of creation, Christ is the centre of the people of God. We see this in the first reading which describes the time when the tribes of Israel came to look for David and anointed him king of Israel before the Lord (cf. 2 Sam 5:1-3). In searching for an ideal king, the people were seeking God himself: a God who would be close to them, who would accompany them on their journey, who would be a brother to them. 
Christ, the descendant of King David, is the “brother” around whom God’s people come together. It is he who cares for his people, for all of us, even at the price of his life. In him we are all one; united with him, we share a single journey, a single destiny. 
3. Finally, Christ is the centre of the history of the human race and of every man and woman. To him we can bring the joys and the hopes, the sorrows and troubles which are part of our lives. When Jesus is the centre, light shines even amid the darkest times of our lives; he gives us hope, as he does to the good thief in today’s Gospel. 
While all the others treat Jesus with disdain – “If you are the Christ, the Messiah King, save yourself by coming down from the cross!” – the thief who went astray in his life but now repents, clinging to the crucified Jesus, begs him: “Remember me, when you come into your kingdom” (Lk 23:42). And Jesus promises him: “Today you will be with me in paradise” (v. 43). Jesus speaks only a word of forgiveness, not of condemnation; whenever anyone finds the courage to ask for this forgiveness, the Lord does not let such a petition go unheard. 
Jesus’ promise to the good thief gives us great hope: it tells us that God’s grace is always greater than the prayer which sought it. The Lord always grants more than what he has been asked: you ask him to remember you, and he brings you into his Kingdom!
Let us ask the Lord to remember us, in the certainty that by his mercy we will be able to share his glory in paradise. 


FEAST OF : Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Lectionary: 162

Reading 1                       2 SM 5:1-3

In those days, all the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said:
"Here we are, your bone and your flesh.
In days past, when Saul was our king,
it was you who led the Israelites out and brought them back.
And the LORD said to you,
'You shall shepherd my people Israel
and shall be commander of Israel.'"
When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron,
King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD,
and they anointed him king of Israel.

Responsorial Psalm                            PS 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5

R. (cf. 1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
"We will go up to the house of the LORD."
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Reading 2                                          COL 1:12-20

Brothers and sisters:
Let us give thanks to the Father,
who has made you fit to share
in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.
He delivered us from the power of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.
For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;
all things were created through him and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
that in all things he himself might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile all things for him,
making peace by the blood of his cross
through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.

Gospel                                LK 23:35-43

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said,
"He saved others, let him save himself
if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God."
Even the soldiers jeered at him.
As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
"If you are King of the Jews, save yourself."
Above him there was an inscription that read,
"This is the King of the Jews."

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,
"Are you not the Christ?
Save yourself and us."
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
"Have you no fear of God,
for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,
but this man has done nothing criminal."
Then he said,
"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
He replied to him,
"Amen, I say to you,
today you will be with me in Paradise."


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass and prayed the Angelus on Sunday, to mark the Solemnity of Christ the King and the close of the Year of Faith, proclaimed by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in the last year of his reign. Thousands of pilgrims braved the late November chill in the morning air to gather for the Mass in St Peter’s Square under an overcast, threatening sky. 

A highlight of the celebration was the presentation, at the end of the Mass, of the Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii gaudium – The Joy of the Gospel – to a select group of faithful representing each state of life in the Church, and a broad array of vocations, including a bishop, a priest, a deacon, religious men and women, novices, a family, catechists, artists, journalists, young people, the elderly and the sick. The Exhortation is the concluding document of last year’s Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which focused on ‘The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith’. The official presentation of the document is scheduled for this coming Tuesday, November 26th.

In his homily, Pope Francis focused on the centrality of Christ in creation, in history and in the life of every human person. He said, “To him we can bring the joys and the hopes, the sorrows and troubles which are part of our lives. When Jesus is the centre, light shines even amid the darkest times of our lives.” The Holy Father went on to say, “God’s grace is always greater than the prayer which sought it. The Lord always grants more than what he has been asked,” adding, “you ask him to remember you, and he brings you into his Kingdom!”

At the end of the Mass, the Holy Father led the faithful in the recitation of the Angelus, dedicating the traditional prayer of Marian devotion to all Christians suffering persecution because of their faith in Jesus. “With this prayer,” he said, “we invoke the protection of Mary, especially for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted because of their faith – and there are many of them.”


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday evening presided over a gathering of Catechumens in Saint Peter’s Basilica, in one of the final events of the Year of Faith.
At the beginning of the gathering, the Holy Father welcomed some 35 men and women by presiding over the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens. This was followed by a celebration of the Liturgy of the Word.
In his catechesis, which followed the reading of the Gospel of John 1:35-42, the Pope emphasized “how important it is to keep this desire [for God] alive, this yearning to encounter the Lord and experience him, his love, his mercy!”“The faith,” he continued, “gives us the certainty of Jesus’ constant presence in every situation, also the most painful or difficult to understand. We are called to journey, to enter always more deeply into the mystery of God’s love, who is above us and enables us to live with serenity and hope.” 

In an interview with Vatican, Fr Geno Sylva, an official of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, explained the significance of this gathering.
As the Year of Faith comes to a close, he said, “what continues is the commitment of every Christian to respond daily to the Lord Jesus who calls us to be his disciples, sent out into the world to announce the Gospel, and to bear witness to the joy of a life lived in faith.”
The Year of Faith officially ends on Sunday with Mass, the presentation of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, followed by the veneration of the relics of St Peter the Apostle, which are being shown for the first time in history.
Presenting the relics of St. Peter, Fr Sylva said, is a “powerfully symbolic way to end the Year of Faith.”
“The whole purpose of the Year of Faith was to reawaken the faith of the first Christians in the hearts of present-day and contemporary Christians.”
“This final, culminating sign,” he continued, “will confirm once again that the door for the encounter with Christ is always open and awaits to be crossed with that very same passion and enthusiasm, and the very same conviction of the very first believers.”


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the members of the European Olympic Committees on Saturday in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. The Committee members are in Rome this week for the 42nd  European Olympic Committees General Assembly. Pope Francis spoke to the committee members about the role of sport in forming the whole human person for life. “As Olympic officials,” he said, “you are called to foster the educational function of sport.” The Holy Father went on to say, “We are all aware of the great need to form athletes animated by rectitude, moral rigor and a keen sense of responsibility.” 
Pope Francis also spoke of the dangers of reducing sport to mere business and unbridled competition. “Whenever sport is considered only according to economic parameters or to achieve victory at all costs,” he said, “we run the risk of reducing the athletes to mere merchandise from which to profit.” Pope Francis added that when this happens, athletes themselves are put through a mechanism that overwhelms them. “They lose the true meaning of their activities, the joy of playing that attracted them [when they were young], and that has led them to make so many sacrifices and become champions.” Pope Francis concluded saying that sport is harmony, but if the excessive pursuit of money and success prevails, this harmony is broken.



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the XXVIII International Conference organised by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers on Saturday in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican. For three days starting on Thursday of this week, experts, professionals and pastoral workers gathered to discuss ways for the Church to serve elderly people who suffer illness and disease, specifically neurodegenerative pathologies. 

In remarks to the gathered participants, Pope Francis spoke of the need to commit to a kind of care, which, alongside traditional models of medical assistance, is enriched by spaces of dignity and freedom, far from the closures and silences that too often surround people in the field of care. It was in this perspective that Pope Francis underlined the importance of the religious and spiritual dimension of life. 

“Indeed,” he said, “this is a dimension that remains viable even when cognitive abilities are reduced or lost,” explaining that what is at issue is, “implementing a particular pastoral approach to accompany the religious life of older people with serious degenerative diseases, with diverse forms and content, so that in any case, their minds and their hearts do not break off their dialogue and relationship with God.” 

Pope Francis concluded with greetings to elderly people, saying, “Every day, you can live as witnesses of the Lord, in your families, in parishes and in other environs you frequent, making Christ and His Gospel known, especially to the younger [generations].”


St. Andrew Dung-Lac

Feast: November 24
Feast Day:November 24
1785 in Vietnam
21 December 1839 in Hanoi, Vietnam
19 June 1988 by Pope John Paul II

Vietnamese priest and martyr and companion of St. Peter Thi. Andrew was arrested and beheaded on Dcember 21, 1839, with Peter Thi during the harsh anti-Christian persecutions. He was canonized in 1988. SOURCE: