Sunday Scripture Readings for November 23, 2014 Print E-mail
Written by Sharon K. Perkins   
Scripture Readings
November 23, Solemnity  of Our Lord Jesus Christ,  King of the Universe

Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
Psalm 23:1-3, 5-6
1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
Matthew 25:31-46

A couple of years ago, I was responsible for organizing an event at our parish that featured a well-known guest speaker.

I picked him up at the airport and was driving him to the parish hall when I noticed a most unwelcome sight in my rear view mirror: the flashing lights of a policeman’s squad car.

Chagrined and embarrassed, I realized that our conversation had distracted me from a familiar school zone and its speed limit sign. I pulled over and braced myself for a stiff (and well-deserved) penalty.

What happened next still amuses me. When the officer inquired about my hurry, my companion, a Bible teacher, explained the reason for his visit. In response, the officer asked him, “Tell me: In this situation, should I show justice or mercy?” Without missing a beat, I replied, “But of course -- mercy!” The officer laughed and waved me on with a warning to be more vigilant about my speed.

I recall that incident in light of this Sunday’s readings which illuminate the authority of Jesus Christ as King.

Many people hold an attitude that emphasizes a false dichotomy between the punitive, wrathful judge of the Old Testament and the meek, docile Lord of the 23rd Psalm.

But the Jesus of Matthew’s Gospel dispels that ancient heresy. As one with dominion over all things, Jesus exercises his authority in a rather paradoxical fashion. In his reign, justice and mercy are distinctive and yet the same.

Jesus’ judgment is not the meting out of arbitrary punishment or the imposition of penalties for breaking the rules. Rather, he judges justly by separating the sick from the self-sufficient, the injured and weak from the conceited and arrogant, the sheep from the goats.

He exposes sin and death as the destructive foes of goodness, kindness, and abundant life -- reigning until those enemies are put under his feet. He teaches us that the ultimate criterion of justice is, in fact, the demonstration of mercy toward the least of his brothers and sisters.

The patrol officer’s unexpected leniency that day brought a welcome source of relief and a reminder to be more careful in the future. It also demonstrated the exercise of authority as a vehicle of mercy despite what the traffic code warranted. But then, when is mercy ever deserved?

This column is offered in cooperation with The North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.


Daily Scripture Readings Print E-mail
Sunday, Sep. 01, 2013 -- 10:21 AM
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Scripture readings from the United States Conference
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Pope's Prayer Intentions: November Print E-mail
November General Intention

Lonely People. That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.

November Mission Intention
Mentors of Seminarians and Religious. That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.
Holy Days of Obligation Print E-mail

The following are Holy Days of Obligation for 2014.

Holy Days of Obligation Description
Wednesday, January 1
Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God
Thursday, May 29
Ascension Thursday
Friday, August 15
Solemnity of the Assumption
Saturday, November 1
All Saints (abrogated because it falls on Saturday)
Monday, December 8
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Thursday, December 25
Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
Prayer to St. Raphael Print E-mail

photo of Pilgrim Icon of St. Raphael

Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.

We beg you, assist us in all our needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the "medicine of God" we humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of our souls and the ills that afflict our bodies.

We especially ask your guidance of our diocese as we journey toward the rebuilding of a cathedral bearing your name, and the great grace of purity to prepare us to be temples of the Holy Spirit. As our intercessor, beg the Blessed Trinity to prosper the work of our hands and, above all, to bring us, face-to-face, into their Holy presence.


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