The Alpha & Omega
The Resurrection of Christ
(Matthias Grunewald- 1516)
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is, and who was and who is to come, The Almighty (Rev 1:18)
At the outset of his gospel St. John expounds on the title “Alpha” which Jesus gives to himself in the vision that led to John’s earlier Book of Revelation: “in the beginning was the Word… all things were made through him and without him was not anything made that was made.” (Jn 1:1;3)
“Alpha” is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and in the Greek numeric system it has the value of “1”. “Alpha” denotes “first” and is therefore a fitting title for Jesus as the Eternal Word of God since all that comes into being, which is not itself God, enters into being through this Word which comes first.
Yet, on All Souls day we encounter Jesus as the Omega. “Omega” is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. In denoting “last”, Omega does not signify some conclusion, but rather the destination toward which all creation is moving. As we read in this week’s gospel it is Jesus who speaks of himself as the Omega: “Everything that the father gives me will come to me…” for “this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me…” (Jn 6: 37; 39)
We have a tendency to think of creation solely as an act of formation: the Father forming in the Son the providential plan of the universe, the formation of the world in one Big Bang and then over time, the formation of a child in the womb, etc. Yet, our thinking about creation is incomplete without the notion of destination. In human terms creation is more than just our wonderful formation into living beings. It is also the fulfilment of our nature in our final destiny. The unique thing about human creation is that our final destiny is interwoven with our very formation since even before our conception in the womb our destiny existed in the eternal mind of God: Come, you who are blessed by my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Mt 25:34)
This blessing of the Father occurs in time - when the Father pronounces that his creation is “good.” (Gn 1:25) For his creation of man, the Father even reserves a special blessing since after creating him, male and female, the Father surveys that what he has done is “very good”. (Gn 1: 31) Seeing his own image in man gives God the greatest joy since man is not only formed but also destined in God’s image and therefore bound to return to God. And this too is very good.
Yet, we know that man strays. He often strays very far, so far that he forgets his destination which he may even forfeit or betray deliberately. This forfeiture and betrayal is what we call sin. And it is when man refuses to fulfill his essence in the image of God that he willfully makes for himself his own image and sets for himself a destiny apart from God.
It is into such a scenario that Jesus the Omega enters. He does so at the will of his beloved Father who wishes that nothing of what he gives to the Son becomes lost. The Father desires this so much so that he sends his only begotten Son into the world to search out all the lost sheep. This is why the Church emphasizes on All Souls Day the self-acknowledged duty of Jesus to his Father, “that I shall not lose anything of what he gave me.”
If we are curious as to what the Father gave to the Son and if we desire to know when this was given, then we should listen to the psalmist: "You are my son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.” (Ps 2:7-8) Now we know that the Son is eternally begotten of the Father so that there was never a time in which the Son was not with the Father. Therefore from all eternity the Father gives to the Son all creation as his heritage and possession. Further, that the Father wills that the Son loses not an iota of what was given and that the Son is perfectly obedient to the Father’s will, is ample explanation as to why the Son goes to such length, even to ransom himself on the Cross for that which he has coming to him.
“Ask of me” is a great revelation! Absent this expression how could man have ever become witness to the Father speaking to the Son in that eternal moment of absolute trust when the Father knows that the Son would never ask for anything that he could not grant and the Son knows that anything he asks would never be denied? The inspired psalmist gives us a glimpse into the eternal conversation of the Holy Trinity and nothing could give us greater joy than the certain knowledge that in being the possession of Christ we are the very subject of that conversation.
We know that humanity can and does reject Christ. We see it every day. But on this All Souls Day we put that sad reality aside - briefly - so as to meditate upon and celebrate the words of Christ written in the gospel of this day: “I will not reject anyone who comes to me…”
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God. And yet it remains to be seen if all the human souls formed as the Lord’s possession will yet come to believe in him, and live in him, as their final destination.
Be in the Presence of Jesus: On Easter Day some of Jesus' disciples who knew of his suffering and death on the cross just two days prior, were walking and talking and probably lamenting over the horrific crucifixion of the person they thought was the Messiah, the Savior of the world. They were on their way to Emmaus, a town some seven miles distant from Jerusalem. The resurrected Jesus caught up with them, "but their eyes were kept from recognizing him." (Lk 24:16) They told Jesus of the great prophet who had been delivered up to death, and that even now his body was not in the tomb where his disciples had laid him. They did not undrstand.
Jesus therefore explained to them all the prophecies concerning the Messiah and how he was to suffer and all the mysteries that related to him and their hearts were "burning" inside them at his words and presence. Then Jesus, "took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight." (Lk 24:30-31).
The Eucharist is an eye-opener! It is in the Eucharist that Catholics most recognize Jesus here on earth. It is important to note that St. Luke in his gospel states that the disciples recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread and not in the "bread" itself. This is because the bread was no longer mere bread but the same Body of Christ that the Lord fed his Apostles at The Last Supper. This post-Easter encounter on the way to Emmaus was a training session in the Real Presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus the physical person vanished, however Jesus the Holy Eucharist remained! It is in the blessing and breaking - the consecration of the bread into the Body of Christ - that the Church was expected to recognize Jesus until his Second Coming.
It takes grace and faith to recognize Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. In the Eucharist, one's eyes are kept from recognizing him, however one's mind and heart and soul burns in recognition. Catholics must pray fervently for this grace and the grace of Adoration, and the best place to do this is before the Lord in the Holy Eucharist.
Come to the parish church of St. Francis Xavier of Acushnet and pray before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. It is only in doing so that you will come to greater understanding by being in the Real Presence of Jesus, just as the men on their way to Emmaus recognized Jesus, only after he vanished from their sight, in the Most Holy Eucharist.
Parish Rosary CD is available for $5.00.
Copies are available at the parish office.
It is also sold on iTunes.
You can click on image and play the Rosary from this site.
Got Evening Prayer? We do! Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening in the parish church beginning at 6:30pm & concluding before 7:00pm. Please look for more information about Evening Prayer under the above home page heading: Parish Life & Liturgy
The church is open for prayer every day. Please call the office at 508 - 995 - 7600 if you require use of our wheel-chair lift.
All Souls: On the evening of Sunday, November 2nd parishioners and their families are invited to attend a short procession from the parish church to Acushnet Cemetery to pray for the souls in purgatory. We will start at 6:00pm in the church with a Rosary and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament followed by the procession. At the cemetery, prayers for deceased souls will be recited as well as the names of all those whose funeral Masses occurred after All Souls day of last year. We will then return to the church for final Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
The Next Session: for our Adult Education Series will be presented by parishioner and Department Chair of Theology at Bishop Stang High School, Philip Martin on Sunday, November 16th at 9:15am and Tuesday, November 18th at 7:00pm. The presentation is titled: Apologetics 101: Answering Atheism. This session will discuss some of the most compelling arguments for God's existence and also ways to best explain to others the divinity of Christ.
... @ SFX Parish: will once again go on to raise funds to send 10 Rwandan children to high school in Rwanda. Every two years we attempt to raise $5,000 to send these children to high school for a two year period. Parishioners are already reserving their seats for this Italian Dinner/Variety Show that has always been a hit with the parish. If you are a parishioner and are not able to attend the show, please consider making a donation to this fundraiser as we always meet our goal because of the generosity of many who are not able to attend.
Thank You: to all parishioners and others who donated blood on Sunday, October 26th. We collected another 38 pints of blood, our largest drive yet, makeing our annual total for 2014 - 116 pints. We look forward to sponsoring another 4 blood drives in 2015.
Recent Photo's & Events
May 04, 2014
St. Francis Xavier of Acushnet is a lively parish with many activities and opportunities for worship, prayer, and community. We extend to you an invitation to our parish family in hopes that you may join in our devotions and our reverent celebration of Holy Mass. Please contact us with any questions you have regarding our parish and living a life in the Catholic faith.
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