Often people ask the meaning of the initials “I.N.R.I.,” which appear on the scroll at the top of a crucifix. When a criminal was crucified by the Roman authorities, the crime for which he was charged and convicted was posted over his head. Pontius Pilate had the crime for which Jesus was crucified written in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. (John 19:20) “I.N.R.I.” are the initials of the Latin words of this inscription, which you see above, meaning, “Jesus the Nazorean, King of the Jews.” (John 19:19)
This weekend, the last Sunday of the liturgical year, we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. In his trial before Pilate, Jesus insisted, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.” (Today’s Gospel) Yes, he is a king, but not like the kings of this world. His kingdom knows no boundaries. His throne is not a chair, but a cross. His crown is not made of gold or jewels, but of thorns. Yet all dominion is his (First Reading) because he has purchased us with his Precious Blood. He has defeated the powers of darkness by entering into the realm of death and rising victorious on the third day. He is truly the Alpha and Omega (Second Reading); the beginning and the end. From him we have our origin as children of God, and our destiny is also bound up with him. This is all summed up in our profession of faith: “I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ…through him all things were made…He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.”
Having celebrated Thanksgiving Day, I want to thank all parishioners for your characteristic generosity this past year. You have responded to appeals for disaster relief, Mission Sunday, Casa Hogar, and the upkeep of our Catholic cemeteries. You reach out to the needy in our community through the St. Francesca Resource Center, Agnes Table, Sojourner House, the Knights of Columbus and the Spirit of Christmas. One more national appeal is coming in two weeks, the Retirement Fund for Religious. At the same time please remember your regular parish support and the Diocesan Annual Appeal. May God bless you and reward your generosity.
Pray the rosary again this week for the souls in purgatory. Pray for the safety of hunters and all traveling after the Thanksgiving holiday. Pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Pray for all who have experienced devastation and loss due to the wildfires in California, and for the firefighters who are working so hard to bring them under control; and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.