FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
In my reflection last week, I indicated that the Solemnity of Christ the King was instituted in defense of religious freedom in the face of a cultural revolution that was and is still intent on deposing religion from public and social life. The truth is that Christianity has done so much for the world because true religion is transformative. What the world needs is not to throw religion out of the public arena; what it is longing for, in order to believe in Christ the King; in order to believe in our Redeemer, is to see more in the lives of the redeemed.
Thus the celebration of Christ the King is an opportunity for us to witness, in the public arena, the integrity of our faith convictions, and our moral conscience as Catholics. We do this, not by imposition but by the power of our example—the way we live. By our lives, we can preach to the world that virtuous living, being there for others, seeking the good of all, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, helping migrants and refugees, assisting people affected by the opioid crisis to find the road to recovery, and being the hand of God for those in need, is what the kingship of Christ is about.
We can testify by our lives that making room in my heart for civilized conversations with those I disagree with; that standing up for my convictions and speaking out when I witness language that disparages others' dignity; that encountering others in ways and manners that affirm their human dignity even when they are of a different race, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation etc., and that listening to others with attention, empathy and compassion and doing my best to understand before seeking to be understood, are the ways to lift a culture, to transform it, and ultimately to give it life and glory. What the world needs is an ongoing better version of ourselves as we are being transformed into the glory of Christ the King.
St. Francis of Assisi was noted as saying: “Preach always and only when necessary use words”. We are much more powerful with our testimony when we can testify to the truth of the kingship of Jesus Christ by the way we live. We must always remember the nature of this King, who is Christ the King. He is a King who stoops to wash others’ feet, who turns the other cheek, who reigns with a mighty scepter of love, and who wields the powers of mercy and forgiveness even as He lays down His life for us. Long live Christ our King! Long live His kingship in our lives! To Him be praise, honor and glory forever and ever. Amen!