Sunday 17th November 2019
As we come to the close of our liturgical year and prepare to begin the season of Advent very soon we are encouraged to think of our lives in ultimate terms. In the month of November, we remember the souls of the faithful departed and we think of the reality of the afterlife. This Sunday begins the last week of the Church’s year and will conclude with the great celebration of Jesus Christ, Eternal King, next Sunday. We might already have this in mind this week and so below are some words to help us to prepare for this feast. This week is an opportunity for all of us to give thanks to God for all the blessings of this year and to pray for the year ahead. We do all this knowing that Jesus is our King of Kings and his all-powerful love can do all things for us and for our world.
The prophet Isaiah says: “My thoughts are not your thoughts; my ways are not your ways. As high as the heavens are above the earth, my ways are above your ways; my thoughts above your thoughts.” Human kings and leaders can often follow the ways of the world, not the ways of God. So it could be an anomaly, a contradiction, to think of Jesus as a king because right away, we think of those aspects of earthly kings – power, possessions and prestige – and make that Jesus’ way. It’s not, if we’re going to follow the way of Jesus and live Christianity rather than simply hold it up as an ideal. Each of us is called now to try to live the way of Jesus and really change according to his ways, his thoughts.
As we are called to contemplate the Feast of Christ the King, we can acknowledge that Jesus wanted to be a servant of all. He rejected excessive wealth; he wanted everyone to share in the goods of the world that God made for all, and not for a few. Above all, Jesus rejected violence. He chose the way of sacrificial suffering and death, showing forth love for those who were doing this to him. He was willing to suffer rather than inflict suffering; willing to be killed rather than kill, because he knew that the way of active love was the only way to transform our world into the reign of God.
So even though we celebrate Jesus as king, we must recognize not a king according to the ways of the world. He brings about the reign of God, which is where God’s ways permeate our ways, God’s thoughts become our thoughts, and this way leads to the fullness of life, peace in this world, and peace forever in the reign of God. If we follow his way, we will enter into that fullness of life, his risen life. We can even begin to live according to the reign of God now — an experience of peace and the joy that is the promise of that reign forever. (Bishop Thomas Gumbleton: National Catholic Reporter)