Local/State News National/World News
The Catholic Herald: Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Madison Front page Most recent issue Past issues
November 22, 2001 Edition

Bishop Speaks
You are here: Spirituality
About Us

Jump to:
Fr. Stillmank -- Word of God, Word of Life
This week's readings
Pope's Prayer Intentions
Third Millennium Prayer

This week's readings
Sunday, Nov. 25, 2001
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King
Reading I: 2 Sam 5:1-3
Reading II: Col 1:12-20
Gospel: Lk 23:35-43

Monday, Nov. 26, 2001
Reading I: Dn 1, 1-6. 8-20
Gospel: Lk 21, 1-4

Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2001
Reading I: Dn 2, 31-45
Gospel: Lk 21, 5-11

Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2001
Reading I: Dn 5, 1-6. 13-14. 16-17. 23-28
Gospel: Lk 21, 12-19

Thursday, Nov. 29, 2001
Reading I: Dn 6, 12-28
Gospel: Lk 21, 20-28

Friday, Nov. 30, 2001
Reading I: Rom 10, 9-18
Gospel: Mt 4, 18-22

Saturday, Dec. 1, 2001
Reading I: Dn 7, 15-27
Gospel: Lk 21, 34-36

Pope's Prayer Intentions
November General Intention

The companionship of holy Christians emboldening us to proclaim the Gospel. To have as our companions holy and exemplary men and women boldly proclaiming with us the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

November Mission Intention

Use of the mass media for evangelization. That we Christians may use the mass media as instruments of missionary evangelization.

Jesus remember me:

Forgive and forget my sins

photo of Fr. John G. Stillmank
Word of God 
Word of Life 

Fr. John G. Stillmank 

This last Sunday of the liturgical year, before we celebrate the beginning of the season of Advent, we summarize the whole year by celebrating this special feast of Christ the King.

From creation to the summation of the world when Christ comes again, we see in our King all the history of God's saving plan.

Saint Paul's high hymn in his letter to the Colossians gives us the Church's cosmic vision of Jesus Christ: image of the invisible God, firstborn of all creation, the one in whom all was created, head of the Church, the beginning, the firstborn of the dead -- he it is who made peace "by the blood of his cross." He it is who will rule forever.

for the Solemnity
of Our Lord
Jesus Christ
the King (Nov. 25)
2 Samuel 5:1-3
Psalm 122
Colossians 1:12-20
Luke 23:35-43

All things were created through him and for him, Paul teaches us. Jesus our King is no mere puny earthling, but the Son of God. The fullness of creation comes into being through him, and is sustained through him. The earth and the heavens will be re-created when he comes again in glory.

And yet here is Jesus, the man, who emptied himself out, who was reviled on the cross, who would not use his unlimited power to save himself. "Above him there was an inscription that read, 'This is the King of the Jews.'"

These are jarring images of the all-powerful God who became a human being, the firstborn of creation who was reduced to the lowest of the low and executed with criminals, the one through whom all things exist and yet the same one they sneered and jeered at.

How can we reconcile the power of God with the weakness of the Savior? How can we ponder the God of life who seems powerless, at this moment on the cross, over sin and death? How can we understand the one who holds all things together but cannot hold together his own life?

The power of God Jesus did not use for his own good, but emptied himself out that we might be saved. Our king is truly a king, who rules not for his own glory and honor, but for the welfare and salvation of his people. Worldly kings, even the best, surely enjoy the trappings of royalty, and the worst prefer them above even the good of their subjects.

Jesus, our heavenly king, put aside all heavenly and earthly glory so that we might be saved from the power of sin and death, saved to share the glory and honor in which Jesus was once again clothed at the Resurrection.

A worldly king defends his people from foreign aggressors, and provides for their material needs. Our divine and heavenly king will protect us from evil, will provide our every material and spiritual need. He has sacrificed his very life so that death may have no hold over us.

The words of the criminal hanged with Jesus, the one who said "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom," should be on our lips and in our hearts, words recognizing Jesus' kingship over all. In bowing before our king, we tell him of our sorrow for the sins we have committed, sins which put him to death on the cross. We pray "Jesus, remember me . . ."

Remember me for the times when I have relied on your patience and forgiveness. Remember me for the times when I have truly turned away from my old life of sin toward the Gospel of Life. Remember me suffering with you on the cross. Remember me when I stand before you, my King, to be judged according to how I have lived.

Implicit in that prayer is our other prayer, that the Lord of creation, the Master of the universe, the King of the world to come, will forgive and forget our sins.

His answer to our prayer to remember us, to forgive and forget our sins? "Today you will be with me in Paradise." His obedience even unto death on the cross has purchased for us the gift of everlasting life. Our king has taken the crown from his own head and placed it on our own, so that with him we may live forever in the kingdom of light and life.

Fr. John G. Stillmank is Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Madison and pastor of St. Andrew Parish, Verona, and St. William Parish, Paoli.

Jump to:   Top of page

Third Millennium Prayer

1. Loving and gracious God,
in your providence
you have brought us to a new beginning,
a new millennium ripe for new evangelization.

2. We praise and bless you, Father.
In renewed faith, hope, and love
we give ourselves to you
that you form us in the image of Jesus,
your Son and our savior.

3. As followers of Jesus
help us to have the courage
to push out into the deep water
and lower our nets for a catch.
Teach us to listen to your voice,
to trust in your word,
to leave everything and follow
in the footsteps of Jesus.

4. By the power of your Holy Spirit
help us to work for greater solidarity
with all people throughout the world.
Enrich your Church with lasting measures
of justice, leading us to true peace.

5. May Mary, Mother of the Church,
intercede for us in our desire to say
yes to all that you, Father, ask of us.

This we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

William H. Bullock, Bishop of Madison

Jump to:   Top of page

Front page           Most recent issue           Past issues

Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald
Offices: Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, 3577 High Point Road, Madison
Mailing address: P.O. Box 44985, Madison, WI 53744-4985
Phone: 608-821-3070     Fax: 608-821-3071     E-Mail: info@madisoncatholicherald.org

Web site created by Leemark Communications.