After November’s 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.
We crave leadership. When we look at the powers that contend for our affections and attentions in this world, we are rightly alarmed. After the appalling display that accompanied our recent elections, it is all too clear that neither those who govern nor those who claim to speak for the governed any longer lay credible claim to virtue, and least of all to charity. Self-aggrandizement and bitter outrage seem to be the sole constants.
To whom should we be loyal? Whom should we be willing and ready to serve? Despair has become almost fashionable, and proximity to the marbled halls of power and shining domes of sovereignty is no antidote to such desperation.
But I find hope in a chair I have in the corner of the church, in a little room, behind a curtain. There, regularly, I hear speeches of people seeking not office for themselves nor influence, but mercy. Aware of their sins, with sorrow for their shortcomings, they come in humility and supplication.
The power and the glory of the one true ruler is reflected in their hope for forgiveness. They approach His throne not 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 has all power over heaven and earth, and offers it all in sacrifice for them, that they may have life, and have it in abundance. That is real leadership for our lives; our one hope for real change is the mercy of our King.
While citizenship in this fair Republic showers many gifts upon us along with its challenges, we find true liberty when we 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 repenting of our sins, and by our embracing and emulating His selfless sacrifice.
This is all He desires from us, that we acknowledge our need for His mercy, and turn away from sin toward Him. We learn from him not to grasp at power and might, but to seek mercy, and offer it. To serve in charity is to rule with Him. 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.
But now, in our day and our land, this seems to move out of our reach. The Church herself is riven by infidelity, so where to find Christ? Some turn away. Others cry louder for her to yield to the force of history or opinion or self-described pragmatism. But the King has only one Bride. He Himself called her into being and ordered her according to His design. He Himself comes, consistently nourishing her and mercifully healing her every wound. And He alone governs her every step on the path that leads finally and fully to union with Him. He is her beginning and her end, the Bridegroom Who will never abandon His Bride.
Neither resignation nor despair, neither demanding nor destroying is the response of those who know and serve the King. Humble fidelity cannot be imposed, only offered; and when offered freely and fully, it is contagious. To renew intentionally and refresh consistently our dependence on the intimate friendship He offers to each one of us is our part in His renewal of the Church. This is where we find the part, the role, the task he has set for each one of us, uniquely, to give to our life to Him in the Church, and through her, bring life to the world.
Praise God for revealing to us Who truly rules over us, and how He won that throne. May Christ the King be praised in every land and every home and every heart! God bless you and Our Lady watch over you,