Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Our parish just had a wonderful Christmas Concert this past Friday! Together with Father Bao Thai, we want to express our deepest appreciation to Thuy Nga Productions director, Mrs. Mong Thuy and Mr. Hoang Thi, who graciously supported us in our fundraising efforts. Our special thanks also go out to the Vietnamese Pastoral Council, the Hispanic community and all volunteers who worked very hard to help prepare this memorable event. May God, through the intercession of Our Lady of La Vang, bless every one of you with love, peace, and joy! This Thursday, America will celebrate Thanksgiving Day! In the spirit of gratitude, please, join us for a trilingual mass that morning at 9 a.m. — we will have a piece of bread for everyone.
Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday (34th Sunday) of her liturgical year. It was Pope Pius XI who, in 1925, instituted this feast in the liturgy. Although Emperors and Kings now exist mostly in history books, we still honor Christ as the King of the Universe by enthroning him in our hearts and allowing him to take control of our lives. Today, the Church presents Jesus as our King and Lord who was, and is, the visible presence of God in our midst. The readings uncover how we can find him.
The first reading introduces God as a Shepherd as it reminds us of Christ’s claim that he is the true shepherd. In the second reading, St. Paul presents Christ as the all-powerful ruler who raises the dead and to whom every other power and authority must eventually give way. Today’s Gospel describes Christ the King coming in his Heavenly glory to judge us, based on how we share our love and blessings with others through genuine acts of charity in our lives. Jesus is present to us now, not only as our good shepherd leading, feeding, and healing his sheep, but he is also dwelling in those for whom we care. In the parable of the separation of the sheep from the goats at the Last Judgment, every person to whom we give ourselves, "whether hungry, thirsty, or a stranger, naked, sick, or in prison", is revealed to be the risen Jesus. At the Last Judgment, our reward or punishment depends upon our treatment of the need, of this risen Jesus.
The message for us today as we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King is that we need to discover our hidden King and God in the suffering millions. Christ the King is a hidden God who hides himself and who goes incognito wearing a mask, so to speak. He is hidden in the lost, strayed, injured, and sick. To find him, we must embrace a suffering humanity just as St. Francis of Assisi did and just as Blessed Mother Teresa did. The perquisite for doing so is to possess the love of Christ inside of us. We cannot embrace hurting people unless the love of God prompts us from within. That embrace begins at home, in unselfconscious acts of generosity toward one’s husband, wife, and family. Then this love of God, welling inside of us, can begin to reach out to all kinds of people due precisely to our awareness that the same God who lives in us is living in them. Let us give thanks to our Lord and King who shepherds us and who freely gives us everlasting love. Happy Thanksgiving to all, and may God bless America!
Sincerely yours in Jesus Christ and Our Lady of La Vang!
Reverend Joseph Luan Nguyen - Pastor