November 21, 2021
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
“His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.”
~ Daniel 7:14b
Brothers and Sisters,
Toast, popcorn, pretzels, and jellybeans! Despite these unorthodox ingredients provided by his sidekicks, Charlie Brown does his best to pull together a Thanksgiving feast for them to enjoy. If a meal like the Peanuts characters whipped up was served to me, I certainly hope I could hide my honest reaction (blech!). Yes, I prefer turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, apple, and pumpkin pies. Still, if given a choice to enjoy either a thanksgiving gourmet meal alone or an unappetizing holiday spread surrounded by family and friends, I’d choose the abundant table every time – that is, the one surrounded by people.
Thanksgiving allows us a chance to gather around a meal together, encouraging thanks offered up to God. Which is an excellent opportunity to remember, the Eucharist is the gold standard by which all meals should be measured. Our host, Christ the King, extends us an invitation at his table, not because of our merits, but his desire to be with us. The food, the Body of Christ, satisfies our deepest hunger. It is at his table, we the guests, who come broken, in need of healing and forgiveness, are united through the Holy Spirit, forming the Body of Christ.
This past Saturday, Fr. Nixon Mullah, a Josephite priest, celebrated the funeral Mass for a wonderful and clearly exceptional Cameroonian matriarch, Christina Mekehni Wambo. The Mass, lasting over 2½ hours, was a beautiful expression of faith. In his homily, Fr. Nixon asked, “Did you learn how to live well? If your answer is no, then what are you doing here? Those who are here are those who have learned to live well.” His examples for living well might seem quite ordinary, but they become extraordinary when practiced with great love. He encouraged the faithful to practice eating – because, in heaven, you eat well. And to practice singing because the angels like good music!
As a side note, if you are looking to practice singing, consider joining the OLPH music ministry. Ben-David, our Director of Music, (Ben-David.Warner@archbalt.org), would love to add your talents to our outstanding musicians, cantors, and choir members. In gratitude for our musicians, we petition St. Cecilia, the patroness of music and musicians, to pray for them on her feast day, Nov. 22.!
So this Thanksgiving, as you’re practicing eating (and loosening your belts), be sure to offer prayers of gratitude for a God that loves us and guides us by sending his only Son so we can live our lives to the fullest. I welcome you to start your Thanksgiving holiday by joining us for Mass at 9 am, along with the traditional blessing of holiday food; you can even bring popcorn, jellybeans, and pretzels. And as we look forward to Advent beginning Sunday, November 28, please be sure to bring home an Advent Gospel Reflection book by Bishop Barron this weekend and an OLPH Advent packet. Both provide many opportunities to enter into discernment together as a parish: where the Lord offers us healing, nourishment, and love to his family.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Rev. Michael S. Triplett