Sunday, 24 November 2013

Solemnity of Christ the King

"St. Luke the Evangelist", icon by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

I am writing this on the Solemnity of Christ the King -- the feast which signifies the ending of the Church year.  (Next Sunday will be the first Sunday of Advent -- the season leading up to Christmas.)  I mention this because the Gospel reading for this Sunday in Year C is taken from Luke 23:35-43 -- which is my convoluted way of making a connection to the recently completed icon of St. Luke shown above!


St. Luke (Λουκᾶς in Greek) is one of the Four Evangelists or authors of canonical Gospels of Jesus Christ. Luke was a native of the Hellenistic city of Antioch in Syria. The early church fathers ascribed to him authorship of both the Gospel according to Luke and the book of Acts of the Apostles, which originally formed a single literary work. Such authorship was later reaffirmed by prominent figures in early Christianity such as Jerome and Eusebius. 

In the New Testament, Luke is mentioned briefly a few times, and referred to as a doctor in the Pauline epistle to the Colossians; thus he is thought to have been both a physician and a disciple of Paul. Considered by early Christians as a saint, he is believed to have died a martyr. He is venerated as Saint Luke the Evangelist and is the patron saint of artists, physicians, surgeons, students and butchers; his feast day is 18 October. 

In traditional depictions, such as paintings, icons and church mosaics, St. Luke is often accompanied by an ox or bull, usually having wings.  This symbol represents a figure of sacrifice, service and strength. Luke's account begins with the duties of Zachariah in the temple; it represents Jesus' sacrifice in His Passion and Crucifixion, as well as Christ being High priest.  (Christian sacrifice that is also exemplified in Blessed Mary's obedience). The ox signifies that Christians should be prepared to sacrifice themselves, "laying down their lives" as Jesus said, in following Christ.  The ox or bull, which had to be prepared for sacrifice, may be the reason why St. Luke is also the patron of butchers!

Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009

Christian tradition states that St. Luke was the first icon painter. He is said to have painted pictures of the Virgin Mary and Child, in particular the Hodegetria image. [A Hodegetria (Greek: Ὁδηγήτρια, literally: "She who shows the Way") is an iconographic depiction of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) holding the Child Jesus at her side while pointing to Him as the source of salvation for mankind.] In the Western Church the best known example of Hodegetria image is the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help with the fingers of the right hand pointing upwards towards her Child. This icon, attributed to St. Luke, is the one he is holding in his hands in the above icon. The icon used is a copy of one I did several years ago (see above).  It is said that Our Lady allowed St. Luke to paint her while she described to him how Jesus had looked as a child.  

Finally, returning to this important feast day at the end of the Church Year, I give you the text of today's Gospel reading from Luke -- this account of events during the crucifixion describes for us that perfect sacrifice which has led, and continues to lead, to the greatest good imaginable.
The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God." Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, "If you are King of the Jews, save yourself." Above him there was an inscription that read, "This is the King of the Jews." Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us." The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." Luke 23:35-43

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THE VISIT

Well, it finally happened... my sister and her husband flew in for a visit!  We had a great time catching up on all the news about family and friends and just enjoying being together again.

The photo below shows us out for lunch at a local bistro.  Although you really cannot see it very well, the plate in the centre of the table holds our deliciously, decadent desert (we each had a fork)!


Me with my sister and her husband this past week at a local restaurant



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SUKI AND SALLIE


'Nuff said!
I came across the statement shown on the photo opposite this past week and immediately realized that it was perfect for placing on one of my photos of Suki.  I think it says pretty much everything about her attitude!

As this past week began, I was made aware once again of how creative Suki can be in finding interesting ways of trying to awaken me -- hoping I will get up and feed her!  

Early Monday morning, Suki began to hit one panel of the balcony door blinds against another, over and over. She cleverly chose the blinds close to a bell I have hanging on the handle of that door.  This meant that with each push of her paw, I not only heard the clack of the blinds hitting, but the bell was also faintly ringing.  She continued doing this until finally I awoke.  

It was such an irritating sound -- clack/ring, clack/ring. Usually, I can shout at her, telling her to behave, and she will cease such activities for a while. However, that morning she must have been particularly hungry as she simply refused to stop.  This required action on my part!

I got up, picked up Suki, carried her into the bathroom, set her down gently on the floor and then walked out, shutting the door firmly behind me.  I then turned on the television channel that plays only Baroque classical music (my favourite) -- turning it on just loudly enough to cover any sounds from the bathroom and yet not so loud as to keep me from going back to sleep.  I quickly fell asleep and slept soundly for another hour or so.

When I awoke, I could hear faint sounds coming from the bathroom.  Suki was making her displeasure known.  If I were able to understand cat language, I am sure I would have heard her saying some very unkind things about me.  

Ready to start my day, I got up and opened the bathroom door. Suki was sitting there in the middle of the floor, looking very displeased and she continued to meow loudly even after I made it obvious that she could now leave the bathroom.  She meowed all the way to the kitchen.  These were not gentle meows but loud, sharp ones so I am sure that she was telling me all about how terribly she had been treated.

Fortunately, once I sat a big bowl of her favourite food in front of her, she settled down right away.  After she finished eating, Suki was a bit distant for a while.  However, after she had given herself a good wash, she came over and jumped up into my lap and begin to purr.  I felt that I must have finally been forgiven.  

 As for me, I am continuing to do much the same.  

I think my poor, old body is just wearing out and there is really not much that can be done about that.  

This past week was free of doctors' appointments so I felt almost as though I was on vacation!  However, that is not true of the week ahead.  I will give you a report next Sunday if I find out anything of interest.

As I end today's posting, I want to wish you all a blessed feast of Christ the King.  On this Sunday, I always start thinking seriously about the few remaining weeks to my birthday and to Christmas.  I always try to make myself wait until about the 8th of December before I start putting out my Christmas things -- although I am always tempted to put them out December 1st!  

Even though I complain sometimes about having a December birthday, it is really rather nice to have my birthday in the same month that our Lord has His!  Which reminds me -- what am I going to give Jesus for Christmas this year?  Hmm... this is something I need to start thinking about!

So, may the awareness that this feast day brings of the Kingship of Christ -- both as a Ruler and as Saviour -- fill our hearts with joy and peace, today and every day.
St. Luke, pray for us.  
Amen.  


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Suki will surely love her Christmas present.