today's 1st reading is Daniel 6: 11-28 and the canticle is from Daniel 3 About 5 years ago, at a celebration of a Burns Supper (which is held annually still to this day in many nations of the world, in honour of the great Scottish poet Robbie Burns), I volunteered, as part of the celebrations, to deliver the Immortal Memory. This is a talk which recounts the life and the impact of the poems of Burns, such as Auld Lang Syne, which is sung at the stroke of 12 am on New Year's Day. Rather than recounting the rather eventful life of Burns, I took a different tack - I decided to speak about the power of the written word and how even centuries later it can profoundly impact our lives. To emphasize this point, I used the phrase from verse 33 of today's gospel, in which Jesus says, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." How true that is. Think of the magnificence of the words of Jesus - His words of teaching, consolation and wisdom - words that inspire us, console us and challenge us. Words that have touched the minds and hearts of billions - Christians and non - Christians alike. Words of truth. Words that are eternal. And words that need to be pondered and prayed with again and again.
today's other readings are Daniel 6: 11-28 and Lk. 21: 20-28 Throughout this week in place of a responsorial psalm in our weekday masses, we have been reading parts of the canticle of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. This lengthy canticle of praise takes place in the midst of the furnace they have been thrown into by the soldiers of King Nebuchadnezzar for their refusal to give praise and worship to the Babylonian gods. For refusing to do so, we hear of how the angel of God protects them from the flames, and they then with loud voices burst into this canticle (Daniel 3: 49-51) For most of this canticle, the three begin each phrase with "Bless the Lord" and then mention part of God's creation. For example, in our first stanza today they say "Bless the Lord, winter and summer heat", which is then followed up with the command: "Sing praise to Him and highly exalt Him forever". If you pray this lengthy passage out loud, you realize that this is a repetitive litany with a continual focus on blessing, singing praise and exalting our God. This canticle also becomes hypnotic as you do so. But in a beautiful way. For what better for one to do than to bless, praise and exalt our gracious God?
today's other readings are Daniel 3 and Lk. 21: 12-19 In yesterday's first reading we were introduced to the origins of the saying, "feet of clay". Today we are introduced to the origins of another classic phrase "the writing is on the wall". King Belshazzar, King of Babylon and son of King Nebuchadnezzar of yesterday's reading, is holding a feast that basically has turned into a drunken orgy. In doing so, they use the vessels taken from the Temple in Jerusalem that his father had destroyed in 587 BC. At this point, God has had enough. A hand is seen by all writing on the wall. The king, terrified, has Daniel brought in to interpret and "the writing on the wall" is explained. And it is very, very bad news for Belshazzar and his nation. Babylon has not learned the lesson that all power is in the hands of the supreme Lord who controls history and the fate of every nation. Just as Israel was once delivered into exile for its own idolatry, so God rescue His chosen people by having Babylon destroyed by the Persians and allowing the benevolent King Cyrus of Persia to free the Israelites from their exile and return home to the Holy Land. It is easy to look at the many challenges and bad news our world faces, such as Covid-19 or climate change or the countless economic issues we face and list them under the category “The writing is on the wall.” But if that is all we do, then we have given up. Jesus in our gospel encourages us to roll up our sleeves, and trust in God and the countless gifts and talents that He has bestowed upon us so as to address these issues. Yes, the writing may be on the wall, but something can be done about it.
today's other readings are Daniel 2 and Daniel 3 The end. This final week of the church year directs our focus on the end, the final end. In our 1st reading Daniel points out to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon the reality of how kingdoms weaken and come to an end. In his interpretation of the dream of the king, Daniel describes a huge statue with a golden head, silver chest and arms, bronze waist, iron legs and feet of mixed clay and iron. Pat Marrin reminds us that while Daniel flatters Nebuchadnezzar as being the golden head, Daniel also gives him a history lesson about the nature of earthly power, which never lasts as conquest and corruption inevitably bring down the powerful. The phrase “feet of clay” that Daniel uses become part of our lexicon, reminding us that even great empires inevitably come to an end. In our gospel, St. Luke tells us how Jesus shocks his listeners with His description of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, which would happen 70 AD. For the Jewish people, this was a calamity that shocked them to the core of their very beings, just as so many in North America were terribly shocked by the event of Sept. 11, 2001. For the Jewish people, this seemed like the end had come. So what does Jesus have to say about this? Do not be afraid, or in our gospel, do not be terrified. Do not be afraid. That constant message found throughout the gospels. Even as we can be troubled and even frightened by the many challenges that have come our way at this point of human history, we are called not to flee and be overwhelmed by fear, but rather be present to the discomfort, as we heed Jesus’ instruction not to be afraid. Remember, Christ the King has conquered eternal death, and He has already ensured a happy ending. Today, ask for the faith to trust Him until we reach the end page of our story.
“The Lord is king; He is robed in majesty.” Today we solemnly celebrate the feast of “Christ the King,” a feast of God's kingdom – God's rule. Jesus Christ, the 'King of Kings' travels with us towards heaven, our ultimate destination. He is our Lord and King and in Him we live and move and have our very being. He is not just part of our life, but He is at the very center of all our living, and also the beginning and the end, 'the alpha and the omega' of our life and all life. Now, the word 'King' evokes all kinds of images, and whatever image of king comes to our mind may influence subconsciously our thoughts about this feast. But what really is this feast of “Christ the King” all about? Is it still relevant to call Christ – The King? Why is it celebrated at the end of the liturgical year? But to call Jesus Christ “King” is a paradox – and in this is the central paradox of our faith. The gospel reading from St. John does present Christ as a King, but He is “King” in a different sense. It speaks of a strange confrontation between Pilate, the Roman governor, and Jesus. An encounter between a man who feels, as the chief authority of a colonial regime, that he has unlimited power and Jesus, a traveling preacher who seems to have none. In the gospel text, Pilate asks Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answers him, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over…but as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Then Pilate asks him again, “So you are a king?” And Jesus answers, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.” Although Jesus does not explicitly respond by saying 'I am a king', He does speak very clearly about 'My kingdom' or 'My kingship'. He says it is 'NOT OF THIS WORLD'. In fact, the gospel of St. John presents him as king exactly in his HUMILIATION, standing bound and scourged before Pilate. He is king because He witnesses to the TRUTH; that God is love and that it is by the force of love that God rules the world, and that God has loved us from all eternity. Jesus as king is quite different from the conventional image. It is very different from the image that Jesus’ own people had of the Messiah-king they eagerly awaited. In front of Pilate at this moment He looks anything but a king. So, Jesus’ kingdom is not to be compared with the kingdom of the earth. His kingdom is not about ruthless power, or royal attendants, or all those things we think of when thinking of kings. He has no ministers, no servants, He has no royal mantle, no scepter. On the contrary, HIS CROWN IS OF THORNS, HIS MANTLE BLOODSTAINED. He stands alone, condemned, despised & crucified and on HIS CROSS, WHICH IS HIS THRONE, the inscription on it reads - “JESUS OF NAZARETH, KING OF THE JEWS.” We call Jesus 'king' because of His value, and because of His authenticity – and in Him we recognize a different kind of power than is normally associated with kingship. His power is from everlasting and will last forever. It will be victorious, and it often brings surprising victories against all the odds, against the principalities and powers of this world: “The lord is king; He is robed in majesty.” The passage chosen for today's second reading from the book of revelation brings together the gospel and first reading. Behold, He is coming amid the clouds, And every eye will see Him, Even those who pierced Him. All the peoples of the earth will lament Him. At that point - at the closing of history - everyone will be confronted with an eternal reality – THE ONE WHO IS THE 'ALPHA' AND THE 'OMEGA' revealed as Son of Man and Son of God. Then they will be faced with a choice - how do they react to this revelation? Will Pilate bend his knee before the one whom he condemned to death? Will Caiaphas? Herod? The soldiers who crucified Him. And what of Judas? This is the moment foretold by St Paul: “The day when every knee shall bow - every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is indeed lord.” There is no point in celebrating the Feast of Christ the King unless we bring ourselves under His kingship. It is He who rules our life with love. We await His final coming at the end of time and we have no complete understanding of what the end of time will be like. But, to know how it is to happen is of less importance than how we prepare for the moment. How will each one of us react and respond whenever He comes and CALLS US BY NAME, AND CALLS US HOME? May God bless you all
today's readings are 1 Maccabees 4: 36-37, 52-59; 1 Chronicles 29; and Lk. 19: 45-48 The Jewish people fully understand the importance of their past - remembering it, and retelling it, again and again. For they quite rightly realize that to know who they are they need to know where they came from. And our first reading today is a great example of this, with the rededication of the Temple after it had been defiled by King Antiochus and his followers, and today's story forms much of the basis of the feast of Hannukah that our Jewish brothers and sisters will celebrate next month. As Roman Catholic Christians, it is important that we too know our story as to where we came from. We also need to recognize and celebrate the efforts of those who have been fundamental in the building of the Church, even here in Toronto. Today, the teachers and staff of Michael Power St. Joseph's High School will be at the 9:30 mass and then will hear a presentation given by members of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Toronto, who founded St. Joseph's Islington High School in 1949. This all girls school eventually merged with the all boys school Michael Power HS and is now located on just north of us on Renforth Rd. The Sisters first came to Toronto at the request of Bishop Charbonnel, the 2nd Bishop of Toronto (Michael Power being the first bishop). Quickly the sisters established the Houses of Providence and St. Joseph's Academy. In their 170 years here founded numerous schools and hospitals such as St. Michael's and St. Joseph's. And in line with their original mission, they continue to run numerous ministries that serve the needs of the marginalized in our city. We all owe a great debt of thanks to the Sisters of St. Joseph, Toronto. For more information about their history and their current work here in Toronto, go to Sisters of St. Joseph - Home (csj-to.ca)
today's other readings are Psalm 50 and Lk. 19: 41-44 In today's reading we encounter a word that is often found in the Bible but is rarely used these days - zeal. A common definition of zeal is this - great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective. A person who is zealous exhibits great energy and enthusiasm for their cause, willing to undergo great suffering and persecution to promote what he/she believes in. This was certainly exhibited in the great missionaries of the Church, people such as St. Francis Xavier and the Canadian Martyrs. In today's first reading we hear of the zeal of Mattathias, who spots a fellow Jew attempting to offer sacrifice to the false gods. Mattathias is so enraged that he kills him, then kills the king's officer and tears down the altar dedicated to idols. He, his family and other followers then flee to the hill country where they then prepare for their great rebellion against their Greek overlords. In no way would I ever advocate killing others to promote our faith, but I do think today's reading requires us to consider - how zealous are we about our faith? How zealous are we for our God?
Join us for a Parish-wide Series starting Wednesday, December 1 for 4 consecutive Wednesdays of Advent at 7:45-9pm on ZOOM. "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas," or, at least that's the assumption based on that familiar holiday song. But what does that look like at your house? Most of us anticipate the great sales at the mall on the day after Thanksgiving, string lights on the outside of our house, and decorating the inside of our homes. But how exactly are we preparing our hearts for the greatest gift we've ever been given? Through an exploration of the mystery of the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth, and the events surrounding the arrival of Jesus, this Advent study offers an opportunity to experience the joy of the true meaning of Christmas. Approximate Schedule of the Wednesday ZOOM Gathering: 7:45-7:55pm: Welcome, Introduction, Opening Prayer by Fr. Michael 7:55-8:15pm: Watch Session Video 8:15-8:40pm: Small Group Time (Or quiet independent reflection for those that choose not to join a small group) 8:40-8:50pm: Large Group Sharing 8:50 - 9:00pm: Advent Wreath Lighting & Prayer To register: https://forms.gle/imdJUrzHyHtEBjgV7 Questions? Contact Courtney @ firstname.lastname@example.org ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Our Advent Series is found on FORMED which is a Catholic resource library for our parishioners. Haven't signed up for FORMED yet? It's Free! Diving into the beauty of the Faith has never been easier: at home, on the go, or from any internet connected device. Discover thousands of books, audio talks, movies, documentary, and studies ... there is something for every member of the family to help them grow closer to Christ and His Church. Nativity is providing this opportunity of FORMED to our parishioners- FREE OF CHARGE! Study, Watch, Listen & Read. The Catholic Faith. On Demand. It can be overwhelming with the endless possibilities; we want to help you make the most of this vast resource of award winning programming! It’s easy and free to start enjoying FORMED! 1. Go to www.formed.org/signup 2. Search for Nativity of Our Lord Parish by typing "M9C" 3. Register with your name and email address 4. Check your email account for a link to begin using FORMED 5. From then on, to enjoy FORMED, just go to: www.watch.formed.org/login
today's other readings are Psalm 17 and Lk. 19: 11-28 The story of the steadfastness of the mother and her 7 sons, is one that is held in high esteem to this day by Jewish women and men alike. As I reflect on this reading, the first thing that grabs my attention is the writing style of the author, a style of prose that has a strong element of certainty, a certainty that is reflected in the words of the mother and her youngest son. There is nothing to negotiate with King Antiochus. All they can and willingly do is stay true to their faith, even if it means giving up their lives, which they willing do. Second thing that strikes me is the belief in a resurrection to come, a belief that was a relatively later development in Judaism, and a belief that the mother certainly alludes to in her words. A third thing that strikes me is the mother's commitment to speak in the language of the Jewish people, Hebrew. She avoids speaking Greek as much as possible, for this the language of the King, and not of her people. In doing so, she remains true to her faith, true to her culture, true to her family's origins, true to herself. Blessed was that mother and her sons!
On Saturday, November 20th, at 1:00 pm, we will celebrate our Annual Memorial Mass in remembrance of all our parishioners who passed away this year. During the Mass, their names will be announced and they will be honoured in our own special way. Invitations were sent out to those who lost a loved one (for 6 people to attend per parishioner) and we are unable to open the mass up to others at this time. You are invited to join us via livestream: https://youtu.be/b3jT9Oic6QM Please pray for the families of those that have lost a loved one this past year.