Dear Believers in the Christ,
Today, we celebrate the last Sunday of the Church’s liturgical year. Christ the King is the conclusion of our celebrations of Jesus Christ. This solemnity concludes with the message of Jesus that in the end, we will know him, be with him in paradise, and find our home in his dying and rising.
I love this feast. It opens my heart because in the end, everything will be all right. In the end, redemption will be revealed for us, for the Church, and for each person. I cling to that. As a pastor, I ache for Jesus the King to love every person in every situation under heaven. There are days where I do not know where to turn except to the King of the Universe, to Jesus who died and rose for us and who waits for us in heaven.
Jesus becomes king then, of not only wayward folks, but of all the issues in life that seem unredeemable. Jesus takes to his heart our children who live in violence and chaos. Jesus is king over migrants and servants even when we are made think otherwise. Jesus forgives us and our enemies. Imagine that scenario. Jesus is king over our fear. He heals those addicted to cocaine and heroin. He is shepherd to all people who on this side of the grave cannot help themselves. Jesus is king who tends to the mentally ill. He is healer over those with throat cancer who will finally sing his praise.
He is the one who welcomes everyone around the table in the Kingdom, especially those who have never felt welcomed at their family table. Jesus is the kind-one who will bring all who have been abused into new and vital healing relationships. He will bring home the ones who fret and worry, those who are too stubborn to believe on earth, and those who cannot wait to get out of prison. Jesus the King is the servant for all people.
In today’s gospel, John 18: 33b-37, Jesus is before Pilate. Their conversation about whether he is a king reveals heavenly grace amid earthly power. In the closing sentence of this passage, Jesus says, “Everyone who belongs to the truth, listens to my voice.”
The redeeming love of Jesus is still being revealed. The truth Jesus speaks of his authority is within our hearts. Listening to such truth can be intimidating. We may resist listening to him. We may want to find our path only in our pretense and self-sufficiency; we may want to listen only to our own ability to build our own kingdom. Jesus reveals to us in his suffering that he desires to be with us. He wants us to listen to his life, his scriptures, his examples, and his voice within the human heart. He desires to be our everything, our consolation, our peace, and our way to the Father. He leads us by example. He prepares a place for us in our Father’s glory.
We have certainly been through a lot in these past couple of years. As we end this liturgical year, I want to thank all of you for your patience and perseverance. We can’t take anything for granted as we have all learned through these years of pandemic. Everything matters. Everyone matters. So now, we look forward to telling the story of Jesus all over again, to claim him in our hearts as if it were the first time, as we look forward to celebrating the longing of our ancestors in the opening weeks of Advent. So, we begin again, all over one more time, next weekend on the First Sunday of Advent.
Thank you for creating our communities. Thank you for living the mystery of Christ Jesus here on earth.
God give you peace,
Fr. Ron Raab, CSC, Pastor