Christ the King
We’re rapidly coming to the end of the liturgical year. Last Sunday we celebrated the Feast of Christ the King. The week before we heard readings speaking of the end of time. This coming Sunday we’ll celebrate the beginning of a new season, Advent. It’s the Church’s New Year’s Day.
As this year draws to a close, there’s much talk of a new movie about the destruction of the Earth, this time in 2012, based on an ancient indigenous calendar’s timing of the end of a cycle of life. Almost certainly, the movie is and will remain fiction. Yet, we know that at some point, life on Earth as we know it will come to an end – both for each individual and for humans as a species. Eventually, the Earth will become uninhabitable for any life forms due to changes in our Sun – but that’s a long time in the future and we living here now really don’t need to worry much about it!
So, how do we mark this time of transition from one year to the next? How do we celebrate and hope for the coming of Christ the King? How do we live a life of faith that the Kingdom is already begun in the here and now? When our plans fall short and all seems lost, how do we trust that “All will be well”?
These questions are ones that many of us are facing today. The past months have brought many challenges economically, socially, physically, and in every other way one might imagine. In my own family there have been births and deaths, marriages and divorces, graduations from high school and colleges, first days of first grade, birthdays that mark a new decade of life, a home lost to a fire and two families joining into one household for a time of regrouping and new beginnings, jobs lost and new careers found. Some of these events were planned. Some were not. But somehow, all are part of the Kingdom and we are invited to see the face of Christ the King in the faces of those around us who love and encourage and help us through the tough times, as well as rejoice with us in the hard ones.
Fr. Ron Shirley, in his homily November 15, spoke of a conversation he had with a wise priest when he was a boy. He had been concerned about all the readings and predictions of the end of the world and the travails that were to come on the world. The priest reassured him, “Make sure to keep yourself in the love of God today – the rest will take care of itself.” Fr. Ron reminded us that staying in the love of God involves keeping our thoughts, words and actions loving – right now, in our lives today.
Deacon Patrick Conway, on the Feast of Christ the King, shared the stories of people from our own parish and their reflections on the way they have seen Christ in their lives.
As we leave this year behind us and move into our new liturgical season and year, my prayer is that we’ll all remember to stay in God’s love, in our thoughts, words and deeds, and to trust that the rest will take care of itself. Life is not predictable. Life “happens.” But when we can remember that God is able to bring good out of all circumstances, we can hold out in hope that all will be well, in God’s good time and we can celebrate the Kingship of our Lord in our lives today and in the future.