Saturday, November 19, 2016

All hail

After a long slog through the Four Last Things, it is time to rejoice in the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end:  Jesus Christ, who is King of Heaven and Earth. 
When we look at the powers that contend for our affections and attentions in this world, we can become quite alarmed.  After the appalling display that accompanied our recent elections, I lack much hope for those who govern us even in this most remarkable of nations.  Human frailty and original sin seem to be the sole constant.  Comparing ours to the situations of most of the rest of the world can make us feel only somewhat better.  But we ought not despair.
It is not my proximity to the marbled halls of power and shining domes of sovereignty that give me courage.  It is a chair I have in the corner of our church, in a little room, behind a curtain.  There, regularly, I hear speeches of those who come before the King.  They seek for themselves not power or approval, but mercy.  Aware of their sins, with sorrow for their shortcomings, they come in humility and supplication.
In their hope for forgiveness, I see reflected the glory of the one true sovereign.  They approach His throne neither with fear, nor with flattery.  They know their Lord, and they know He is stronger than sin, stronger even than death, for He has already achieved the victory over both.  They know he possesses full power over heaven and earth, and lays it all down in sacrifice for them, that they may have life, and have a share in that glory.  That is real leadership for our lives; that is our one hope for real change.  It is the mercy of our King. 
While citizenship in this fair Republic showers many gifts upon us along with its challenges, we gladly kneel before our true King.  Let us thank God that in this land of red versus blue, we have the gift that is greater than gold: the freely given life of our Lord, who reigns from the Cross.  In loyalty to Him, let us lay down our pride and power and acclaim Him by our repentance for our sins, and our sacrifices of love.
This is all He desires from us, that we acknowledge our need for His mercy, and turn toward Him and away from sin.  We learn from Him not to grasp at power and might, but to seek mercy, and offer it.  To rule with Him is to serve in charity.  This is the stuff of the Kingdom that will endure forever, the path to our sharing in the reign of Him who is Lord of all.
Trumpets and banners; ermine, velvet, and gilt; rank upon rank in uniform and decoration raising eyes and voices in salute and dedication: these are the hallmarks we conjure when thinking of a king.   But the condemned criminal who died next to Jesus recognized His Kingship without any of those things.
 “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.”
Praise God for revealing to us who truly rules over us, and the triumph of the Holy Cross that is His true throne.  Praised be Jesus Christ our King, now and forever.

Monsignor Smith

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