For Sunday, November 22, 2015, Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
I suspect the events of the past week might have many people longing for a world that does not exist. My youngest child no longer feels that he is safe from the reach of terrorists. He has been to professional sporting events and concerts with me before and I suspect that he felt then that I would be able to take charge of any circumstance that might threaten him. But as he said to me the day after the Paris attacks, “That could be us at a concert or a game.” Innocence is gone. The beast is awake and men and women of good will must now be watchful, for the enemy could be anywhere. However, the beast is not new and even though my son now sees the world differently, the world has not fundamentally changed.
Since the fall in the Garden, evil has been among us. History is a tapestry filled with scenes of tremendous violence and hatred of human beings toward one another. Every century has brought with it those who have caused the young to dream nightmares and worry about the events of each new day. The events in Paris remind us of the fallen nature of humankind, even when the killing is done in the name of God. Evil speaks in lies about the nature of God and a fallen creation suspects that the lies may be true. This tapestry of world history would be a monotonous chain of events that could make a person doubt the very meaning of life, as many philosophers have done throughout the ages, if it were not for the single most significant event on that tapestry: the Incarnation and then death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
On that night in France, terror seemed to reign, but the reality is that the terror caused by humans is no match for the love of Jesus Christ. This Sunday our liturgical year closes as we honor Jesus Christ as King of the Universe. We are reminded that God became man and then chose to be broken by the world so that the world would have no power to break his adopted sons and daughters, the best of his creation. Then he rose from the dead and broke all the chains of death that could bind us. Today and every day he reigns as King of all creation, regardless of what evil and the humans that choose it believe to the contrary.
But what does this mean to my twelve-year-old? He is still too young to understand the implications of Jesus Christ as King. So, we who call ourselves disciples of Jesus must show him. We must love in the face of hate, bring peace to those who have witnessed violence, and speak of life in the midst of death. However, for too long we have been mild mannered or even silent. There are some today that blame all religion for heinous crimes because the actions were performed in the name of a God they believe does not exist. We perhaps have failed to convince them of the true God in Jesus Christ due to either misled words or actions or, more importantly, lack of action. This does not mean we are to blame for the evil of these types of terrorist attacks. But we need to proclaim clearly and powerfully the good news so that hope never takes a backseat to fear.
Pope Francis stands as a powerful witness to the kingdom of heaven in our midst, but he must be a leader of those who increasingly act more like him. The world needs more people like Pope Francis, Blessed Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, and the like. We should not be saying, “Look how Christ-like they were,” but instead, “I need to be more like them.” We have a King and we have received a great commission. His kingdom is threatened once again by the forces of evil. We must rise up and fortify the kingdom using prayer, love, and the gifts of the Spirit as our weapons. My son needs for this to happen. His community, the body of Christ, will provide him with the consolation he seeks. And he will flourish in the midst of chaos for he will know he is a child of the King.
Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS
Almighty, everlasting God,
Who in Thy beloved Son,
King of the whole world,
hast willed to restore all things anew;
grant in Thy Mercy that all the families of nations,
rent asunder by the wound of sin,
may be subjected to His most gentle rule.
Who with Thee lives and reigns world without end.
—Prayer to Jesus Christ the King from the Litany of Christ the King.