Christ the King

Surprisingly I love this Feast! It is surprising because I am a feminist and in no way a Royalist. It also goes against my Irish roots and my liberal tendencies.

But perhaps it is because of the line that ‘My Kingdom is not of this world’ that I can so easily buy into the image.

Christ as King is so counter to the world’s idea of Royalty that the sense of other, the rule breaker, the questioner, inside of me can rejoice.

I also have a deep seated need to belong, to be known, to be loved in my entirety, which it is not something to be shouted from the rooftops in today’s society: a society that prides itself on privacy and independence, and values individuality most highly.  This was brought in to sharp relief this week at work.

Over the last week my work has enabled me to connect with just under 90 families as the Sacramental preparation programmes all begin.

For many of these families an extra ‘activity'(which is often how catechesis is viewed) causes a dilemma: what to give up, how to make room in an already overcrowded schedule. Our families buy into the ‘having it all’ ideology. The parents’ want their children to ‘belong’ to all forms of clubs and groups. They gladly pay into the demands and constraints that this brings in belief that these activities will enable their children to be all they can be. Yet the preparation for the Sacraments of Communion and Confirmation, which lead to full initiation into being part of the family of God, do not hold the same weight in decision making. Many of these parents implicitly question the need for catechesis…why so many sessions? Do we have to go to all of them? How many can we miss? My child can’t do that evening, can you move the sessions?

The understanding that of all the activities we could sign our children up for, nothing is more essential than Catechesis is lost. Catechesis reminds us that it is through Christ that we become the fullness of who we are called to be. That we are nothing if we do not depend on the Lord, on the God who created us. We are to centre our life on Christ our King. And therein lies the rub.

Christ the King Tapestry

Naming Christ as my King means that I willingly everyday offer my life for Him. As His citizen I answer the call to work for His Kingdom: to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned. And when I fail to get it right being able to claim Christ as King means I can bow before the One who loves me. One, who as King does not force my allegiance through fear or coercion, but to whom I can give willingly my respect and reverence simply because of all that He has done for me, as a response to the way that I am loved, because I belong.

Catechesis does not yield worldly benefits which is difficult to justify to busy parents who want the best for their children. The catechist, modelling Jesus can not force attendance. Catechists desire the community to want to come closer to the Lord. But like Jesus, sometimes we have to watch as they walk away, as they are not ready to fully choose Christ, to allow Him to answer the need to belong to Him.

As catechists there is much work to be done because of course Christ is not MY King but the Universal King. We do not worship in isolation. As the Universal King, we are reminded that we are all children of God and there is nothing or no one that does not belong to Him. After the events of last week in Beirut, Kenya, Paris and Syria it is easy to encompass the victims into that idea.

Harder to see that those instigating the attacks are also loved by God, known to Him in their entirety, just as we are.

 

P.S.

I am listening to the radio as I write and the singer sings…

‘And I don’t want the world to see me,

Because I don’t think that they’d understand.

But when everything seems to be broken

I just want you to know wh0 I am’

Add to fade…

(Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls)

Living the Word
  • Where does Christ’s kingship make a difference to you this week?
  • What, for you, is the reason Jesus was handed over to Pilot?
  • Where does your life ‘testify to the truth’ this week?
For Children
  • Jesus says that His Kingdom is not of this world. What do you imagine His Kingdom to be like?
  • How might you show reverence to Christ your King this week?
For Families
  • When we pray the Our Father we pray for Christ’s Kingdom to become a reality on earth. What does that mean to you?
  • If you choose not to bow down before the Lord – what or who has your allegiance?
 

‘It is absolute fidelity to the principle defined in his own preaching that condemns Jesus. There is no other cause for his death than the love of one’s neighbour lived to the very end.’ (Rene Girard, Theologian)

Prayer

Our Father, Who art in heaven…

 

 

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Ordinary time…again

I have resolved to start blogging again and to try to keep it going for a little longer this time! Therefore I offer once again this post from last year to start me off…

This is my daughter, the beloved, my favour rests on  you.

And with that wonderfully scary affirmation Ordinary Time begins.

I love Ordinary Time. There is a comfort in the rhythm, the same-ness; time to go deeper, to bed down, once more in routine; seeing God in the everyday, a time to hone our Sacramental Imagination.

Ordinary Time is where we live who we are, a time to live baptismally. This week I came across the following poem (with my slight adaptation!) which I loved immediately. I loved the way it challenged me to move out of Christmas, not leaving it behind but taking it with me.

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:                                                                                 

To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers and sisters,
To make music in the heart.

You are my daughter, my beloved, on whom my favour rests.

How can I not work for the Kingdom knowing that? How can my baptism be in the past, something that was done to me when I was a baby?

When the Godparents have returned home,

When the white robe has been cleaned and put away

When the candle is back in its box,

The work of baptism begins:

It  is said that Martin Luther, every morning on waking said ‘I am baptised’. When I imagine this he says it incredulously for when we begin to recognise what it means to be baptised it is awe filled. We  have been named for Christ, invited to to work for Him in bringing about the Kingdom because

Rebekah, you are mine, whom I love beyond measure and my favour* rests on you.

Happy Ordinary Time everyone.

Poem: Dr. Howard Thurman was an influential author, philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader. He was Dean of Theology and the chapels at Howard University and Boston University for more than two decades, wrote 20 books, and in 1944 helped found the first racially integrated, multicultural church in the United States.

*Some translations read ‘well pleased’ for favour. I prefer favour to ‘well pleased’, if God is well pleased, God can also be not well pleased. God’s pleasure is somehow to do with me. Whereas God’s favour is freely given, to all and that includes me regardless of what I do.

Picture by HeQi

Reclaiming the F word

‘Mum, what are you doing?’

‘Writing a post for my blog.’

‘YOU HAVE A BLOG?  What is it about?’

‘Faith, Family and Feminism’

‘You’ve gotta loose that F word mum, no one will read it otherwise,’ he said laughing.

And I wondered… Was he right? No of course not, but he did have a point. Mention Feminism and people roll their eyes and assume that they know all about you. What you are going to say, what you think, what you believe, what your responses are.

Couple that with being a Christian and all sorts of land-mines go off in people’s heads. Other Christians, or more specifically other Catholics think that as a feminist I only want Ordination opened to women. Secularists, question why I remain part of one of the most anti female religions on the planet.

Neither will engage in dialogue. Yes they listen politely but they don’t really want to know what I think, what I bring to the conversation or any insights I might have. Because they already know. And they are too busy telling me why I am wrong.

Which is why I have put off this post since day 1. Maybe it is still too soon, it doesn’t read as well, it is more emotional, not as clear as I would like, but I have to get it out there and this is the beginning…

Feminism is  neuralgic issue. It polarises people.

For me I am a feminist precisely because I am a Christian. For me feminism goes hand in hand with Justice. It’s about God gifting each one of us regardless of our gender. God’s gifts are limitless not limiting. Feminism, like Christianity calls us to build a place where all can call home, where all are valued, where all are respected and where all have choice. And ‘all’ includes both female and male, for men are bound by sexism too.

Yes we have come a long way since our grandmothers and great grandmothers fought for and won the vote. But there is still along way to go before the Kingdom is a reality. We can not say we are building the Kingdom, or that we live by Gospel values if we turn a blind eye to oppression. And that includes oppression of women which includes oppression of men too.

Every time we allow comments such as ‘she was asking for it’, ‘what was she wearing?’ to go unchallenged we are colluding with sexism.

And we all need feminism.

 

Every time we allow the same traits to be described in positive ways for men and negative ways for women we collude with sexism

And we all need feminism.

Every time we work to end poverty but do not see that women make up the largest section of the poor we collude with sexism.

And we all need feminism.

Every time we allow figures of speech which gender objects or situations negatively as female to go unchallenged we collude with sexism.

And we all need feminism.

Every time we allow language, dress, actions to keep women (and men) in their place we collude with sexism.

And we need feminism.

Every time we do not hear that the story is being told from the standpoint of patriarchy we collude with sexism.

And we all need feminism.

For me feminism is not about women being or seeing themselves as better than men. It is about not being humiliated, made to take the blame, being patronised because of gender, made to feel ashamed because I am a women. It is about equality, about having choices, about having the right to education, healthcare, of being valued because we are all born in the image and likeness of God, ‘female and male God created them’.

And I haven’t even started on the issues of gender and church…

But I will.

Ordinary time

This is my daughter, the beloved, my favour rests on  you.

And with that wonderfully scary affirmation Ordinary Time begins.

I love Ordinary Time. There is a comfort in the rhythm, the same-ness; time to go deeper, to bed down, once more in routine; seeing God in the everyday, a time to hone our Sacramental Imagination.

Ordinary Time is where we live who we are, a time to live baptismally. This week I came across the following poem (with my slight adaptation!) which I loved immediately. I loved the way it challenged me to move out of Christmas, not leaving it behind but taking it with me.

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:                                                                                 

To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers and sisters,
To make music in the heart.

You are my daughter, my beloved, on whom my favour rests.

How can I not work for the Kingdom knowing that? How can my baptism be in the past, something that was done to me when I was a baby?

When the Godparents have returned home,

When the white robe has been cleaned and put away

When the candle is back in its box,

The work of baptism begins:

It  is said that Martin Luther, every morning on waking said ‘I am baptised’. When I imagine this he says it incredulously for when we begin to recognise what it means to be baptised it is awe filled. We  have been named for Christ, invited to to work for Him in bringing about the Kingdom because

Rebekah, you are mine, whom I love beyond measure and my favour* rests on you.

Happy Ordinary Time everyone.

Poem: Dr. Howard Thurman was an influential author, philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader. He was Dean of Theology and the chapels at Howard University and Boston University for more than two decades, wrote 20 books, and in 1944 helped found the first racially integrated, multicultural church in the United States.

*Some translations read ‘well pleased’ for favour. I prefer favour to ‘well pleased’, if God is well pleased, God can also be not well pleased. God’s pleasure is somehow to do with me. Whereas God’s favour is freely given, to all and that includes me regardless of what I do.

Picture by HeQi