By Fr. Brendan Duggan
|Feast of Christ the King
Feast of Christ
Last Sunday was the Feast of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the Church's year. The gospel is a continuation of John's Passion narrative that we hear on Good Friday. Jesus is arraigned before Pilate and finds himself in a face-to-face struggle with secular political power. In answer to Pilate's many questions regarding Jesus' claim of kingship, Jesus simply tells Pilot that his kingdom is not of this world, and that everyone who is committed to the truth hears the voice of Jesus. Even though Pilate had the truth in front of him, he failed to recognize this truth in the person of Jesus, as he feared Caesar and the Roman government.
It was a great relief to Pilate when Jesus admitted he was not a king in the political sense, and so not a rival to Caesar. Jesus was a king in that he bore witness to the truth. “I am the way; I am the truth and life" he had said on another occasion, "no one can come to the Father except through me" (John 14.6). What he is telling Pilate and us is: I am the truth from God- I am God's revelation of himself. I am God's word. God is speaking to the world through me. The essence of the Kingship of Christ is that he testifies to God's truth. Jesus throws the challenge: "All who are on the side of truth listen to my voice" (John 18:37). But do we listen?
In today's world there are many voices competing for our allegiance. The Feast of Christ the King was established to combat unbridled secularism in the world. Today our society is embroiled in sensuality, in the contemporary call to a secular self-sufficiency, and the daily distracting calls to the trivial and the transitory. The idea of kingship is no longer relevant to us citizens of a republic. Christ is calling us to follow him. He is telling us emphatically about the uniqueness of his authority and the reliability of his claim to be the Son of God. He is asking us to be loyal to his message and to place our trust in his words and message.
Ms. Eileen Cronin sent me greetings for thanksgiving and hoped I would have a good feed of turnip and creamed onions side by side with a nice turkey. Thanks Eileen and I had an excellent meal to celebrate the great feast of thanksgiving, cooked by an excellent chef, who shall remain anonymous.
Eileen is a member of the CILL CAIS PLAYERS, a group of actors founded in 1980 to provide New York and its environs with good Irish theater. The group has received and won awards at a lot of Feisanna and Theater Festivals. This year they have a One Act Comedy by Seamus Burke called Cassidy’s Chair, and they are doing excerpts acted out, from short stories, by various authors such as Sean O'Casey, and J.B. Keane.
Performances will take place as follows : Friday Nov. 30, at 8pm in the Irish Center Mineola; Sat. Dec.1, at 8pm, in St. Gregory the Great Hall, Bellerose; Sunday Dec. 2, at 4pm, in the Kerry Hall, Yonkers. For more information please contact Pat Browne at 917-847-3779.
I can recommend this show to you all as it is very good entertainment by a talented group.
Thanksgiving is a great American feast which this year I find even more memorable. On last Wednesday night I watched a children's cartoon account of the story of the Pilgrim Fathers voyage to America, their landing at Plymouth and subsequent adventures and mishaps when they finally reached the "New Promised Land". Seemingly they were a rather simple group of people who needed help to settle and colonize the area. They were on the edge of starvation, with a lot of sickness, when a local Native American appeared in their midst, who actually spoke English. He was one of the last survivors of the local tribe who all had contracted illnesses from the foreign "invaders". He was friendly and he told the people he would help them. Years previously he had been enslaved by English trappers, from whom he picked up English. He showed the people how to plant maize (corn), how to catch fish and shoot wild turkey, and the community grew and prospered. He arranged that the local tribes signed a peace treaty for 50 years with the new community.
What really struck me about this children’s story is how valid it is for us today. We know how badly the Native American tribes/nations were treated later in history. Slaves were introduced from Africa, largely for economic reasons to bolster all kinds of agricultural industries, especially in the south, and while slavery was abolished in the 1860's, as the result of a bloody Civil War, and racism is now largely gone, we still have a ways to go. Very recently as the result of Sandy (a lady whom we will long remember) I saw some encouraging results. I have made two trips recently down to the Rockaways, Breezy Point, Bell Harbor and other neighboring areas. It is great to see so many people helping out, setting up mobile food kitchens, ferrying in lots of food, clothing medicines, cleaning and sanitary goods etc. It is great to see people of all religious persuasions, of every different nationality pulling together to alleviate need. If only our country at large could be so united. Let's hope our political leadership will stop the squabbling and work together to solve the grave problems which we have here in the USA. The American people are generous and caring, but we are so diverse, that we need great leaders to help us work together as a nation. Let us hope that our suffering citizens here in the North West will soon recover. We all can now get some realization of the sufferings of people in the south in Louisiana, and Florida, and in cyclone ridden Middle America, areas which have been devastated in the recent past.
Last week I was present at the 10th Anniversary Dinner Dance for the Shannon Gaels GAA Club of New York. It was a very well attended fundraiser dance with Mr. Cha (Jarlath) Connaughton (Dunmore, Co. Galway), and the four founding members of the Club, as Guests of Honor. Also Present at the dance was Mr. Liam O'Neill (Co. Laois) the president of the GAA over from Dublin. Shannon Gaels is the largest Youth GAA Club in New York, which caters for over 300 boys and girls from 8 years up to 16. They have many teams in both Gaelic Football and Hurling, who have been very successful. The Club has acquired its own playing fields up near Flushing, and it is marvelous to see so many young people involved in multiple games, on summery Saturday mornings and afternoons. So we wish Mr. Colin Mathers (Chairman) and his hardworking Committee every best wish, and keep up the great work.
Finally once again thanks to all the great people who helped to make our Holy Ghost Fathers Dance such a success. A photo is included this week of the three esteemed honorees getting their award plaques at the dance.