Sunday, November 23, 2014

Christ the King

Today we pledge allegiance to Christ our King. The Church celebrates Christ's sovereignty over us. His rule is not one of subjugation, but one of love. As one priest pointed out today, before any political election propaganda or advertising is all over the media. The candidates make a lot of promises, yet how many deliver? Christ does not do propaganda. In fact, his invitation: "Take up your cross and follow me," may be puzzling to any who have never heard the gospels. "Narrow is the way" that leads to salvation. It's hard to put a spin on a message like this. Despite the hard truths of his message, Jesus Christ does not say, "Hey, come back here. If you want a styrofoam cross, let me help you pick one out." Rather than promise a financial reward in this present world, Christ promises us the hereafter. St. Paul was granted a glimpse of the "other side". He wrote, "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard what God has ready for those who love him."
Does Christ reign in my mind? How do I plan out my day, my week, the month? If I am married, do I factor in my wife's or my husband's need and our need to be praying Christians. Do I reflect that if I was aware of Christ's presence when I am at work, would I still continue to act as I do, talk as I do, work as I do? Is money my only bottom line? If I am dealing with the public, am I showing a Christ-like attitude? Or, am I nice to the public, but grumpy with my family or co-workers? Does Christ the King reign in my speech? Am I kind with everyone? Have certain terms or figures of speech crept into my vocabulary that can be hurtful when aimed at a co-worker or a family member? I recently heard of a young woman who left a job because of "a hostile environment." By that term she meant older employees who did not train her, yet used profanities if she made a mistake. There was a dearth of kindness and patience. Like many young people, this girl has a learning disability which requires repetition of instructions given in a clear and kind way. She learned her former job well. Hopefully she will find a new work place where Christ reigns in the hearts of her bosses and co-workers.
Is it the love of God or only the thought of my paycheck that gets me out of bed in the morning? When I feel in need, who do I turn to? Do I offer my day to Christ? I once heard of a little boy whose teacher asked him if his family prayed. "Oh yes," he answered. "My Dad always says 'Jesus Christ' when he hits his fingers with the hammer!" Of course the teacher had to refrain from bursting out with laughter and dismay at the boy's dramatic inflection as he said the Holy Name of Jesus. At the end of our day, after we switch off the TV or radio, do we make a brief examination of conscience after we thank Jesus for all the gifts of the day? Do we count health, food, shelter, job, family and so much more as gifts? On Facebook I saw a notice that went like this: "Put the Christ back in Christians!" Yesterday when I read the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25 that formed most of today's gospel reading, I was struck by Jesus affirming that "What you did to them, you did to me." I thought of St. Paul who was stunned when Jesus stopped him on the outskirts of Damascus and said, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" Jesus ranks that oneness of himself with his followers as weighty criteria for the final judgement: "What you did to them...or did not do for them" counts forever. Right after Thanksgiving the Church will begin a new year of praise and worship--a new liturgical year. Advent, the liturgy's preparation for the feast of Christ's birth is our way too of preparing our minds and hearts to allow the Baby King Jesus to reign in us. Have a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope to reach you before November 26 to tell you more about the importance of this day for us Paulines. God bless you!

No comments: