|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Modern Day King
Christ the King Sunday – November 22, 2015
The Solemnity of Christ the King was declared by Pius XI in 1925 and the world was a very different place. World War I had ended not long before and the world was shaken badly by that war. Pope Pius wanted to give the people of the world some hope. Communism, fascism and Nazism had taken grip and Pope Pius wanted the world to believe in Christ as the true King of the Universe and that we are to serve him. The challenge was that the very people who heard the message were also those who rejected kings and monarchs in their own country; they were embracing communism and these other ideologies. While the message was embraced by faithful Catholics, it was not received by the world itself.
Fifty years ago, Pope John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council but he viewed the world with a different set of eyes. The second world war had devastated our world even more. We were still trying to recover from its devastation. John XXIII believed in the goodness of the world and he asked the Council not to speak “against” the world but to speak in favor of the world; to speak to a world that was in trouble and needed the help of a guiding mother church with a different attitude. Our current Pope Francis speaks in a similar way; a way to encounter the world and bring the healing message of God’s love into the world.
Christ is not some foreign deity in the sky as much as he is a real presence in our lives. We are called to make Christ king through our actions. The message of Christ the King became a very personal call, a personal call to holiness for each and every baptized person and Pope Francis has the same emphasis.
That sounds really wonderful and not difficult but in fact, it is a huge challenge. If we are to be of this Kingdom of Peace, the Kingdom of Justice and the Kingdom of Truth and Freedom then you and I must stand for truth and justice and freedom.
Imagine for a moment what it would look like if we had no anger or unforgiveness; if we forgave everybody all the offenses that they had ever done; if we never held a single grudge–ever!
If we are to be true witnesses to Christ as our King then we need to be extraordinary witnesses to truth, forgiveness, love. If we can truly forgive them —not condone it but forgive; if we can truly stand up for truth and say only the truth and have no lies pass our lips ever then I believe that we will truly testify to Christ as our King. We will be a Church that will truly transform the world.
We are called to come to the Sunday table —we nourish ourselves at the table—but then to bring the message alive by our every single action with kindness, with loving comments and loving gestures that we forgive from our hearts those who have hurt us and why? Because we believe Christ is King; he is a modern-day King in our hearts and we come to testify by our actions.