Solidarity Week 4

(Homily for Christ the King, Year A)

Message: We join Copernicus in recognizing the true center, not only of the solar system, but of human history and of the universe. And like Blessed Mother Teresa we want Jesus to be the center of our lives.

Today is the Feast of Christ the King - the final Sunday of the liturgical year. Next week we begin a new year with the First Sunday of Advent.

For us at St. Mary of the Valley today's Feast - Christ the King - brings together our homily series on solidarity. We have seen three dimensions of solidarity: prayer, financial resources and talents. I am pleased with your response. To date 313 have made the pledge to become Parish Intercessors, 152 have returned the Stewardship of Treasure card and last Sunday 54 cards for Stewardship of Time & Talent.

This Sunday I am providing a Solidarity Checklist. You will find it inserted in a small book by Archbishop Sartain - An Advent Pilgrimage: Preparing Our Hearts for Jesus. The book is a gift. Along with the Solidarity Checklist, it will help you answer the question: What am I living for? What is the center of my life?

To illustrate this question I'd like to tell you about a Polish astronomer: Niclas Kopernik, better known as Copernicus. When we go to World Youth Day 2016 we will see the university in Krakow where Copernicus studied. His studies led him to discover the true relationship of the earth to the sun. Contrary to appearances, the sun does not revolve around the earth. The earth revolves around the sun.

So Copernicus knew the correct relationship of the earth to the sun. He also knew something much more important - the correct relationship of man to God. By all we know about Copernicus, he was a devout Christian. As a young man he came to Rome in order to participate in the Holy Year of 1500. There is evidence that he prayed the office, the Liturgy of Hours, every day of his adult life. On his deathbed his admirers brought him the astronomy books he had written, asking him to point out the most significant passages. He brushed them aside and instead asked a friend to write this epitaph:

O Lord, I cannot ask for the faith that you gave to Paul;
the mercy that you showed to Peter I dare not ask.
But the grace that you showed to the dying robber, that, Lord, show to me.

So what does this epitaph tells us? For sure, Copernicus knew the correct relation of planet earth to the sun. He also understood man’s proper relationship to the Lord. Before Him we are fallen creatures in need of grace. In today's epistle St. Paul tells us that Christ is the exact center of the universe and that human history revolves around his death on the cross.

Just as Copernicus saw that the earth is not the center, he knew that man is not the center. We find ourselves in relation to Christ. Jesus is the center.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta expressed this truth in a beautiful, simple manner. Someone asked her why she does her work - caring for people that others consider useless and repulsive: people with terrible sores that give off foul odors. Why do you care for them? Blessed Mother Teresa raised one hand and began to touch the top of each finger: "You did it for me." Those words which Jesus speaks in today's Gospel sum up our motivation for investing our time, talent and treasure: "You did it for me."

These past weeks I have asked you to share time by becoming a parish intercessor, to share your financial resources by making a Stewardship pledge and to share your talents - to reflect on the gifts God has given you. How will you use those gifts in your family, in the community and in our parish?

Some people say, "I don't have any gifts." That's not true. Think about Thanksgiving. It requires family members sharing gifts of organizing, communicating, planning, hospitality, cooking, listening, good manners, etc. And every family has people who do not naturally attract.* That's what family means: We don't choose our family. We're just thrown together. When you want to flee some family member, hold up your hand and remember, "You did it for me."

That kind of sharing requires a revolution. It's like the Copernican revolution. Just as Copernicus recognized the earth is not the center, I have to recognize that I am not the center. Jesus is. Copernicus knew that as surely as he knew about the earth and the sun. You and I need to acknowledge Jesus is the center, the king.

Next week I will begin a new four week series. I take the title from Archbishop Sartain's book: "Preparing Our Hearts." It will be a darn good series. Don't miss it.

For today as we conclude our liturgical year, we join Copernicus in recognizing the true center, not only of the solar system, but of human history and of the universe. And like Blessed Mother Teresa we want Jesus to be the center of our lives. You did it for me. Amen.


*With apologies to families who get along perfectly. I hear about them in funeral eulogies, but not so much in the confessional. ;)

Solidarity Week 1:
Solidarity Week 2:
Solidarity Week 3:
Solidarity Week 4:

Spanish Version

From Archives (Christ the King, Year A):

2011: A New Missal and a New Look at the Works of Mercy
2008: The First Fruits
2005: The Last Enemy
2002: Judgment of the Gentiles
1999: The Final Judgment

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Sunday Homilies

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Fr. Brad's Homilies (well worth listening)

Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)

Parish Picture Album

(November 2014)

MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru