On Nov. 20, we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The most powerful image in the universe isn't a national flag or a coin or a monument. The most powerful image in the universe is the crucifix of Jesus Christ, the image of power over the entire created universe.
All three readings for this Sunday give a glimpse of what that power really is. In the first reading, it's the image of King David being anointed to be king over Israel. Up until now he was king of Judah, but now his reign extends to all of God's holy people in the chosen land.
The first and third readings for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time tell about the incredible future that awaits beyond our troubled times.
Malachi is a prophet, not a Dale Carnegie. He tells how it is, not how we would like to perceive it. His imagery is frank, direct and even brutal. "Lo the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch."
The theme of the three readings for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time are pieced together with this theme from the responsorial psalm: "But I in justice shall behold your face; on waking I shall be content in your presence." These readings pierce our ordinary lives on earth with the brilliant hope of resurrected life.
The readings for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time are as amazing as they are incomprehensible. God is as infinite in power as He is in mercy and love.
The Book of Wisdom states: "Before the Lord the whole universe is as a grain from a balance or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth." On my family's farm, we had a balance scale to weigh items to be sold, and I can assure you that if a grain of wheat fell from the scale, we would never have noticed.
The responsorial psalm ties together the good news of all three readings for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, which tell that the Lord is deeply moved by the prayers of the lowly.
In the first reading, Sirach says God shows no favorites "but He hears the cry of the oppressed....The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal, nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds."
The readings for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time stress the importance of persistence in prayer before our God.
In the first reading, the Israelites battle the superior army of Amalekites. Joshua was to engage the Amalekites in battle, while Moses climbed to the top of a hill overlooking the battlefield. He raised his arms toward heaven, and as long as he kept them raised, the Israelites were victorious. But when his arms grew weary, the Amalekites gained momentum. Hence, Moses asked Aaron and Hur to support his hands raised to heaven, and thus the Israelites were victorious.