Jesus, the Way to Eternal Life

11-18-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

Our Feast day today of Christ our King, which ends the Church year for us, is meant to bring our attention and focus back to Jesus Christ. Throughout the year as we retell the story of Jesus Christ in the scriptures at Mass, we may at times drift off to other matters of faith. This Sunday is to put an exclamation point after the word “Jesus” for us so that we may remember who we are and whom we follow.

Our Catholic Tradition is very old and is richly filled with many customs and pieties which can at times lead people away from the centrality of our faith in the Triune God who is Father, Son, and Spirit with the Son as our Savior and Redeemer. Too often we can at times allow ourselves to get involved with exotica or “shiny things or vestments” and get distracted from the basics of our faith. We have a purpose, meaning, and power because of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Folks often prefer to get distracted from the essentials of our faith because it is actually easier. Some folks like to get caught up in the theoretical but not real scholas-tic theology, the Tridentine Ritual, private revelation, or even with some object that may look like a possible image of Jesus or Mary (of whom we have no actual pictures and do not know what either looked like). It appears that people like distractions because it takes away their responsibility for what matters in faith. We now end the church year by putting into perspective what we are supposed to be about. We are Christians in the Roman Catholic Way of Life. We are followers of Jesus Christ.

The image of the king in the scripture was meant for a society and world where kings were powerful people and often had absolute power. We are blessed that society has continued to advance and now most of us live in a democracy, which may or may not have a limited constitutional royal figure. Our vision is that we are governed by the grace of God through the will of the people who designate the form of the authority of government. However, it is still useful for us to be able to accept the symbol of the king as Christ was labeled a king. It is in the contradiction of his death under capital punishment on the cross with the title, The King of the Jews, that the meaning of kingship takes its great place for us as believers. This contradiction speaks loudly to us that our King truly became flesh, died, and rose from the dead as a model for us to understand self-sacrifice. Royalty then, as is mostly true now, does not suffer true pain and deprivation for us. We know that Jesus did not talk about sacrifice; he gave his life in sacrifice for us.

We are all familiar with governmental leaders and royalty who talk so much about how great they are and how much they do. They stand in contrast to Jesus our King who died for us. We need to follow Jesus and his example. Kings, queens, and all royalty and also presidents, premiers, and elected and public officials: they all come and go. Jesus, our King, is eternal and offers us the Way to eternal life.