Last evening, I attended the 5:00PM Mass at St. Peter’s. Bulletin_2014-11-23
According to my missal and every source imaginable, including the USCCB Website, this was supposed to be The Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
And what is a “solemnity”? It has been my understanding from the Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the Calendar: “Solemnities are counted among the most important days, whose celebration begins with First Vespers (Evening Prayer I) on the preceding day.”
First, how Jesus brought about his kingdom: he did so through his closeness and tenderness towards us. He is the Shepherd, of whom the Prophet Ezekiel spoke in the First Reading (cf. 34:11-12, 15-17). These verses are interwoven with verbs which show the care and love that the Shepherd has for his flock: to search, to look over, to gather the dispersed, to lead into pasture, to bring to rest, to seek the lost sheep, to lead back the confused, to bandage the wounded, to heal the sick, to take care of, to pasture. All of these are fulfilled in Jesus Christ: he is truly the “great Shepherd of the sheep and the protector of our souls” (cf. Heb 13:20; 1 Pt 2:25).
Those of us who are called to be pastors in the Church cannot stray from this example, if we do not want to become hirelings. In this regard the People of God have an unerring sense for recognizing good shepherds and in distinguishing them from hirelings.
There is more that needs to be said about the contents in the bulletin, but two of my granddaughters are visiting and I need to spend time with them. My wife and I recently moved 2,000 miles so that we could be with them and our other eight grandchildren. God has blessed us so greatly!
Today, we will attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Patrick’s with our family. It will be the Mass for the 24th Sunday after Pentecost. Although it will not be a “solemnity” in the same sense as The Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, at least it will be celebrated with great reverence and awe.