• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Saturday, 21 November 2020 11:52

Feast of Christ the King - 2020

Written by Fr Larry Nemer SVD

 

Fr Larry Nemer SVD 150Every time I read today’s Gospel I am reminded of an experience I had when I was a young priest.  I was helping out in a neighbouring parish and really did not know much about them.  So I based my homily on the conversation that some of us priests had at breakfast about how easy it is for us to “sanitize” this Gospel text and how easily we lose the sense of shock and surprise that Jesus’ listeners must have felt.  Therefore in my homily I suggested that if Jesus were telling the same parable today He probably would have used different language and different images.  He might have said something like: I was hungry and you wanted to take my food stamps away, I was thirsty but you would not give me any money because you presumed I would just go out and buy more alcohol, I had nothing decent to wear and you would not help me but just told me to get off the streets and get a decent job, and I was in prison for rape and you would not come to visit me.

As I was speaking, I was confused as a number of people were getting up and leaving the Church.  That night the Rector told me that he had received several angry phone calls from people who said I was preaching politics and not the Gospel and they suggested that the Rector not send me again to their parish.  When I told him what I had said, he remarked: “That sounds like the Gospel to me.”  So he continued to send me there.  

Fortunately, I was “rescued” by a man in the parish. He was a very successful businessman.  He had finished first in his class in business at Harvard and third in his class in law.  One Sunday after Mass he came into the sacristy and said: “Father, you have a great message but it is not coming across.”  I told him that I really didn’t know how to speak to the congregation.  It was a wealthy parish with some of the wealthiest people in Chicago in it.  I told him I came from a lower middle-class family in Chicago.  So I asked him: “Can you help me?”  He said he would be delighted to do so.  For six months he came to our seminary every Saturday afternoon to go over my homily with me.  He would sharpen the expression of what I wanted to say.  And a number of times he would say: “If you say it that way the people will not hear it.”  I am happy to report that in the next five years no one walked out on my sermon.

The other “”shocking””  aspect of the story is when the people ask: when did I give you food or drink, when did I clothe you or visit you in prison, and Jesus will say: as long as you did it to one of the least of my brothers or sisters, you did it to me. 

Over the years I have been inspired by the many kind acts that my friends do, everything from serving in food kitchens for the homeless to alcoholic friends staying up all night with an alcoholic who is coming off the drink.  Sometimes these acts are done with a real sense of serving Christ.  A priest I lived with had served as a missionary in India for many years.  He had spent some time also working with the Sisters of Charity in Calcutta.  He told me that once he went with a Sister on a “house call”.  They entered a poor dirty hut with a dying man in it, wrapped in dirty bandages.  The Sister bathed him, and then wrapped him in clean bandages. All the time she kept talking with him.  After they left, my friend said to the Sister: “I was very impressed with the way you talked with the man, treating him with respect and care.”  The Sister replied: “What man?  I was talking with Jesus.”

I have also many friends who have served Jesus without explicitly knowing it.  I met a Returned missionary in Melbourne who would go every Sunday afternoon to dance with men who were in wheelchairs.  “It is so much fun,” she said.  It probably was fun also for Jesus.

I think we may all be surprised when we find on entering heaven how Jesus will remind us of how we served Him, and we didn’t even know it!!!