East to west..Our God Reigns – Brief thoughts on Christ, Sovereign King and Priest

“‘As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.’ Psalms 103:12 https://www.bible.com/bible/114/PSA.103.12

I’ve always particularly been fond of the Casting Crowns song, “East to West”…  It plays off of this Psalm… and equates the immensity to the distance from one scarred hand to the other…in other words… those scars… those wounds….are a tangible reality of how much God loved us.

God. God incarnate. He Has Come…He is Here… He will come. That in essence, is the mystery of faith, and the liturgical year in a nutshell. In another week, the Latin Rite church will begin advent, a season of Preparation. The church will take on a more penitent, somber  (though not as much as lent) persona. The Priest will don purple, a color of penitence. The Gloria, will not be sung again except on the feast of the Immaculate conception, and then not again until Christmas.

The readings of tomorrow will be incredibly apocryphal, including the Gospel, which is perhaps one of the most black and white readings you can find. There will be a clear judgment. There will be the saved…and there will be the damned. The Great Judge, will judge the people.

We like to paint Jesus as this almost hippie esque person. The “Buddy Christ”… always loving…always caring…always there.  While this is true… its OUR CHOICE to accept this mercy and grace. It is a mercy and grace only he can give.

Everything in scripture, and the next 4 weeks…not only points to the first coming, but the second and final coming of Christ. We get hung up on the word  “Apocalypse”… and instantly think end of the world, but that’s not what apocalypse means at all…rather, it means a reordering, a perfection of Man, Time, Space… so that we return to the perfect order that we began with, a sovereign King, and we his sheep, the sheep of his flock.

Now, what does this have to do with a song about forgiveness of sins? Well as I was sitting there watching my children… I began to think of my very many many sins. Lets face it, if you know me..by all accounts… I’m a complete screw up. However.. the purifying, sanctifying aspect of that, is my two children.  When I stand before the throne..I hope I can weigh their witness.. against my many transgressions.  That said, one can easily think there is no hope at all.  Where is the line that was crossed… and how does one get back across it.

The simple answer is, we are all doomed. Everyone of us, if we rely on our own means, and our own understanding – Thank GOD… I can rely on him. Only the Sovereign king of the universe could fix my brokeness, and that love is as immense as the east is from the west.

When I think of Christ the King….aside from the “classic” thoughts of  a beatific glorified man, I think of someone whose benevolence can only be sized like the distance of east to west.  That thought doesn’t make me despair, but rather I find comfort.

Jesus Christ, Yesterday, Today and Forever.

All Souls Month? What the heck is the Book…

You may have noticed that book in church this week. Most churches should have a book of the deceased names from the past year.. or you can add intentions for those who you feel need praying for.

This is something that was lost in the church in the past 50 years. For whatever stupid..idiotic reason…an attempt to be more “Hip”…our Eschatology… that is.. our understanding of who we are…and where we are going, went completely to pot.

Once we prayed for our dead. Its even commanded in Scripture –  Both in the Old Testament (2 Maccabees 15: 11-16 for example), as well as in the new testament (John 11: 38-44 for example..) – In fact… one of the most overly Jewish things that carried over into Catholicism was praying for our dead.

Ironically… the Jewish people, in a so called “unenlightened” state… really have a better understanding of the Communion of Saints then most Christians. Rooted deep in Kaballah, the idea of the soul being immortal…and “wired” to return back to the Creator… but needing prayer and Supplication. We see this where Judah Macabee prayes for the fallen.  We further see this where Jesus weeps over Lazarus.  Even “the Rich Man And Lazarus”.. the Rich man from the abyss asks Lazarus to Tell his Brothers to repent, lest they share his faith.

Where it is true… once a soul has condemned itself (and to be clear..the only person that sends someone to hell is themselves..), it is beyond help…  we as mortal beings…cannot know that state. We can only implore the Mercy and Love of God.. on that person after death.  The Jewish people have done this for centuries…and it very much carried over into Christianity, even amongst the first century. There was more then security for our hiding in the catecombs.  The very first Masses were offered over and for the repose of Souls.

Where once Kad’desh was chanted by the Jews.. Later it would develop into other Sequences. In the West, there was the Great “Dies Irae”…  which calls to mind the Last Judgment.  “Day of Wrath…oh Day of Mourning…” etc..  But, even at the end… it calls to mind “Pie Jesu Domine, Dona Eis Requiem” … Oh Good Jesus… Grant them Peace.

This sequence…along with 6 others…and alot of solid theology has all been but lost. Make no mistake… while we are all on our way.. most of us will not be properly attired for the Wedding feast without the help of our whole community and their prayers.

This month, keep in mind your Absent Brothers and Sisters. That Mom or Dad.. Or Grandparent.. or mentor who no longer is in this state.. Remember your catechism…know their soul is Immortal… and that their’s and your faith in Christ..means that we all can still pray for each other

WRITE THEIR NAME IN THE BOOK at church… so that others might also offer their suplications….  in the Words of Red Green  “Remembers…Im Rooting for you..We’re all in this together”. Thats really what we can take away from this month…  We are all in this together…and we need to all pray for each other… despite how “unhip” or “unmodern” it might seem.

Be like Gandalf. Eat with hobbits 

Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.  But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,  and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Luke 14:12‭-‬14 NIV

One of the things Tolkien did best.. is he personified the best and worst of humanity. The most common folk, were represented admirably in the hobbits, the simple folk who worked the land, and weren’t overly bothered with the troubles of the rest of the world.

Gandalf, the wizard, knows there is wisdom in such people… because it forces all of us to come down a bit…and see things on a more basic, and less complex level
This gospel refers more then to people who are troubled, but invited us to go past our comfort level, whatever that might be, and invites us to start the conversation with those who may be physically, or intellectually different.
Be Like Gandalf. Embrace the everyday folk.