As we close out the end of the Church year, I am reminded that Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
We will soon be preparing for the Season of Advent. Advent is a special preparation as the Church begins the new Church year. The season prepares the faithful for the coming of the Lord as Jesus did first arrive in human history. We are also mindful of Jesus final return at the Parousia (Second Coming) as we wait in joyful hope.
Pope Pius XI originally established the Feast of Christ the King in 1925 to remind modern man that no matter how technically advanced Mankind becomes, Jesus will always be Lord. The Pope was deeply concerned of the rise of Secularism which today is everywhere.
The Pope wrote, “The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal. If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.” (Quas Primas #33, Liberia Editrice Vaticana)
With Jesus coming into the world he has become our deliverer who will save his people from bondage.
Consider the bondage that many have willingly fallen down into.
It is interesting to note that when a Catholic leaves the Church, they are seen as “fallen” Catholics or non-practicing Catholics. Have you ever heard the statement, “Once a Catholic always a Catholic”? It is true that a person can never erase their Baptism, they can still renounce it.
Many times at Mass I will have to fight back tears for family members who have abandoned the Faith of the Apostles.
I’ve given my story before and some of you have read the following before:
“One particular dream had the greatest impact on me. After a major debate in the room where I took on a number of those attacking the Catholic Church, I went to bed troubled. I slept hard, but I dreamed that God’s Church, the Catholic Church, was dead. I felt such despair, and sadness I began to cry. I felt that the Church was in ruins and that Christ was sheding tears for His Body, the Church. I never felt such anguish, I cried so much that I woke up out of my sleep totally wet from crying. My pillow, the bed, and the blankets were all wet. I sat up as it took me a couple of minutes to realize it was a dream. I recalled my Confirmation that took place in Blue Springs Mo on September 23, 1968 by Bishop Sullivan. I renewed my vows and told the Lord that I will be a soldier for Him. I will not betray Him and leave the Church even when people around me do. I will do my best to remain loyal and stand for Him. A promise that I have tried to keep since 1978″.
I often run into people who have “fallen” away from their faith and wondering on their own. I recall the 21 year old lady who I met at Seton Hospital who had left the faith for radical feminism.
She had accepted the liberal system of abortion and rejected the King of kings who loves those they “choose” to kill.
I recall the lady I met at Wal-Mart who identified me because of my Alabama hat. She was a Kansas State fan and challenged me about the upcoming game between Alabama and Mississippi State. We talked about her apostasy from the Catholic Faith for more than an hour.
There was another lady I met at HEB, a chain grocery stores well known in Texas. We talked about her “Falling” away from the Catholic Faith out in the HEB parking lot.
As a Father, if one of my children were to “fall” away from the faith, how glorious it would be to know that someone around the world were able to reach them back for Christ and His Church.
That is a motivating factor as Christ Himself would leave the 99 to find the 1 who has gone astray.
Jesus is our deliverer who calls us and leads us away from the bondage of sin.
Jesus is not simply just a system of rules and regulations, but it is an actual encounter with the Risen Lord, an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Pope Benedict XVI, in his first encyclical states, “We have come to believe in God’s love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, that gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”
Like the encounter that changed the life of the women caught in adultery, Catholics receive the same powerful impact through the Sacrament of Confession, the Ministry of reconciliation.
Each and every Mass is an encounter with the Risen Lord, to renew the Covenant through the power of His Name.
This is why for me this can be emotional because of loved ones who no longer go to Mass, when I see children it reminds me when my children were young.
Today at Mass, a Father carried his new born child, only two days old, to the altar of the Lord. That was me at one time! I took all my children to Mass from the time of their births until they left home.
In the end, I can only be accountable for myself, even though I am responsible for others. Ultimately, we all will be accountable and so it is our responsibility to let your light shine before others, “that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father”.
This Advent Season is a renewed opportunity to prepare to offer ourselves as a perpetual gift to the King of kings, to our Deliverer on Christmas Day.
In this journey of Faith, may we continue to march forward doing his will.
My Deliverer is the Good Shepherd:
“The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me; you restore my strength. You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name. Even though I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage. You set a table before me as my enemies watch; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflowes. Only goodness and love will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come”. (Psalms 23)
Christ Jesus, I acknowledge You King of the universe. All that has been created has been made for You. Make full use of Your rights over me. I renew the promises I made in Baptism, when I renounced Satan and all his pomps and works, and I promise to live a good Christian life and to do all in my power to procure the triumph of the rights of God and Your Church. Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer you my efforts in order to obtain that all hearts may acknowledge your Sacred Royalty, and that thus the Kingdom of Your peace may be established throughout the universe. Amen.