November 22, 2015
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
On behalf of St. Mary’s wonderful staff, I want to extend to all of you our prayers for a most joyful and blessed Thanksgiving! We will celebrate the Eucharist, our Thanksgiving Feast, on Thursday morning at 9:00 am. I also invite you to join me as we gather with the downtown Lancaster community of faith on Wednesday evening for a 7:00 pm Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 31 South Duke Street. In good times and bad, in sickness and health, let us live in great gratitude for the many blessings bestowed on us by our loving God!
Our feast today, Christ the King, was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925, shortly after World War I, a war that saw the end of many ancient monarchies throughout Europe as new democracies took root. One of the motivating factors in establishing this feast was to preserve the belief in the Kingship of Christ. In a world that was not only disillusioned by corrupt leaders but had toppled all its kings, was there a danger that the world would reject Christ as King who came proclaiming God’s Kingdom? Think of it this way, the very notion of a king commands obedience, allegiance, and submission. Am I compelled in this way? Do I see Christ as true King? Does Christ not deserve this humility from me?
In the Old Testament, God warned ancient Israel not to imitate the kingdoms that surrounded them. He guided them through patriarchs, prophets and judges, but they were to be different in the sense that God and God alone was to be their King. But as we know, they persisted in their demands for an earthly king. Even the great King David fell short of the mark. But David was given to them to foreshadow not a future of disillusionment without a king but to point to the fulfillment of God’s promise to a people who longed for a worthy king like themselves but without sin. That promise was fulfilled in the God-Man, the Incarnate One, the Word made flesh. Through the Davidic line in the fullness of time, a King is born of a Virgin, a King whose kingdom will never end. God is our King, Jesus Christ the Lord!
In a world that rejects kings, we proclaim not only that there is a king but that there is only one king, one Lord of all! His kingdom is one of truth and justice, of love and mercy. With humility, we follow our King “into battle with the powers of evil, both angelic and human,” as Father Mark Pilon has stated, “to wage that battle… not with force of arms, but with the force of divine love, and the divine empowerment of suffering.” As Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:12, “If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.” Today we proclaim, “Christ is King!” Let us follow Him.
Catechism Question of the Week: True or False: We deserve God’s grace because we are justified by Christ. (see CCC 1996)
With family, friends and those you meet, please discuss the following Question of the Week: What exercises or practices can I put into place in my life to prepare for Christ’s coming?
In Christ’s Peace,