Thursday, November 21
LITURGY






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vol, 8
no. 36

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GOSPEL Reading and Reflections for the Mass of the day


FRIDAY, November 21, 1997

Friday, November 21:
The Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

      First Reading: 1 Maccabees 4: 36-37
      Psalms: 1 Chronicles 29: 10-13
      Gospel Reading: Luke 19: 45-48

    PRESENTATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
    This feast, established by Pope Gregory XI in 1372 honors the Blessed Virgin Mary, the "daughter of Zion" who was so faithful to the Jewish faith she was raised in. This feast commemorates when Mary's parents Saint Anne and Saint Joachim presented their precious daughter at the age of three in the temple of Jerusalem where she studied for several years. Even at the tender age of three Our Lady was expressing her fiat to God by her obedience to her parents and submitting totally to the tutelage of priests of the temple. This special chosen one who would become the New Covenant "temple of the Lord" first had to learn the Old Covenant temple of the Lord. All these things prepared her better for her role as the Mother of God, Mediatrix of all graces, Co-redemptrix and Advocate. It was vital for her first to be a willing pupil so she could, as a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, teach the Father's Divine Son all the Almighty wanted imparted. This feast was first celebrated in 543 by the Eastern Church on the occasion of the dedication of the basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary built in Jerusalem. This was subsequently destroyed by the Turks (Persians) about seventy years in 614. Exactly a century after Pope Gregory XI declared it a feast, Pope Sixtus IV extended it to the universal Church in 1472 to be celebrated on the twenty first of November each year.

SATURDAY, November 22, 1997

Saturday, November 22:
The Feast of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr

      First Reading: 1 Maccabees 6: 1-13
      Psalms: Psalm 9: 2-4, 6, 16, 19
      Gospel Reading: Luke 20: 27-40

    SAINT CECILIA
    Born into a Patrician family in Rome and raised a Christian, Saint Cecilia still was afforded all the luxury of a family of wealth in pagan Rome. Though she had disgarded this way of life,l vowing herself to virginity, her father thought otherwise and forced her to marry a young pagan man by the name of Valerian. During the pagan nuptial ceremony songs of merriment and sensuality were played, but Cecilia didn't hear it for her heart was dedicated to God alone and that was her song as the Acts of of St. Cecilia proclaim, "While instruments were playing (at her wedding feast) profane music, Cecilia sang rather to God in her heart." Because of this she has been chosen patron saint of music and musicians. On their wedding night Cecilia disclosed her vow to her new husband and rather than going into a rage, Valerian, who loved her dearly, was converted by a vision of St. Cecilia's guardian angel and forever honored her vow of virginity, not consummating their marriage. He became so enraptured with Christianity that he converted his brother Tiburtius. Both dedicated their lives to carrying for the survivors of loved ones who had been martyred as well as burying the martyrs. Caught by the Roman guards burying the martyrs they were arrested by the prefect Almachius who ordered them to sacrifice to the gods. When they refused both Valerian and Tiburtius were beheaded along with Saint Maximus who was converted on the spot, so impressed by their faith and determination. When Cecilia brought the three bodies back to her villa along the Appian Way to be buried there, she, too, was arrested. The guards tried to suffocate her in her room, but she miraculously survived. When brought before the prefect, Almachius tried to dissuade her from her ideals as he did with her husband, but Cecilia would have nothing to do with the world, the flesh and the devil. He then ordered that she also be decapitated, but the executioner bungled the job and Cecilia was not killed instantly, but rather lingered in pain for three days before expiring around September 16, 235. Dates vary among historians, some placing it as early as 230, others 250 but research shows Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus died during the end of the reign of the Roman Emperor Alexander who ruled between 222 and 235. Therefore the most accurate date would be 235. Commemoration of St. Cecilia began in the 600's after they discovered facts about her inscribed on the walls of the catacomb of Saint Callistus. Pope Paschal I dedicated the basilica of St. Cecilia in Trastevere in Rome in 824 where he transfered her relics and commissioned a mosaic depicting Cecilia standing between Valerian and Tiburtius.

SUNDAY, November 23, 1997

SUNDAY, November 23:
THE SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING

      First Reading: Daniel 7: 13-14
      Psalms: Psalm 93: 1-2, 5
      Second Reading: Revelation/Apocalypse 1: 5-8
      Gospel Reading: Mark 11: 9-10

    SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING
    This feast fittingly climaxes the Church's liturgical year on the last Sunday before Advent. A relatively new feast, Pope Pius XI established it be celebrated on the last Sunday in October. It was changed after Vatican II to transplant the 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time, a fitting time to celebrate the apex of all we strive for - Jesus Christ, our Spiritual King - the Lord and Giver of life, Maker of law, the supreme judge and ruling Authority in the minds, wills and hearts of all mankind. Jesus began His public ministry by announcing in Mark 1: 14, "the kingdom of God is at hand" and just before His crucifixion affirmed to the high priests His rightful title as King of Heaven and earth, "you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of Heaven." By celebrating this feast on the final Sunday of the liturgical year we are paying homage to our Sovereign King as His subjects in fulfilling the words of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary in Luke 1:32-33, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of David His father, and He shall be King over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end." The cycle is completed with this feast which leads into a new year with the First Sunday of Advent and preparation for His coming. A time to prepare for Christ the King, Whom as a little child the three kings bowed down to, as we should always as His loyal, humble and obedient servants.
    November 21, 1997 volume 8, no. 36    LITURGY



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