People often 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, 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. (Cf. John 19:20) “I.N.R.I.” are the initials of the Latin words of this inscription: Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudæorum, meaning, “Jesus the Nazorean, King of the Jews.” (John 19:19)
This weekend, the last Sunday of the liturgical year, is the Solemnity of Christ the King. Although this feast is meant to bring the liturgical year to a triumphal climax, today’s gospel portrays Jesus at the most helpless, humiliating and derisive moment of his life. 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 because he has purchased us with his Precious Blood, “making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Second Reading) He has defeated the powers of darkness by entering into the realm of death and rising victorious on the third day. “[God] delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Second Reading) 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.”
It is in gratitude for Christ’s selfless sacrifice offered for our redemption, and in reparation for the sins of humanity, that we celebrate today’s feast with special solemnity. How can we do any less?
This Thursday we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. As American Catholics we have a unique act of thanksgiving to offer: the Mass. Why not include the Mass as part of your family’s Thanksgiving Day tradition! Mass will be offered at St. Charles that morning at 8:30.
Although this is a wonderful time of year, it has its hazards. Deer hunting can be dangerous for those who are not careful and the same is true of holiday driving. Please be careful and enjoy the coming week.
Next weekend we will take up a second collection for the Archdiocese for the Military Services. There is more information about this elsewhere in the bulletin. This national collection is not part of the Diocesan Annual Appeal because it is a new collection and is taken up only once every three years. This is only the second time it has been taken up. Envelopes are attached to this bulletin. In this month in which we observe Veterans’ Day and Thanksgiving Day, let us show our gratitude for those who serve by helping to support the spiritual life of fellow Catholics in the armed forces.
Pray the rosary again this week for the souls in purgatory. Pray for the safety of hunters and all traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday. Pray military personnel, especially those from our area; and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.