Dear Friends in Christ:
The Lord be with you! And with your spirit. Lift up your hearts! We lift them up to the Lord! Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right and just!
This weekend, we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. We do so just a few days after we observe Thanksgiving Day. Now, of course, Christ the King is a Catholic liturgical feast and Thanksgiving is a secular/national holiday but they do have something in common. Both Christ the King and Thanksgiving point to someone other than ourselves. While for many, Thanksgiving has been reduced to food, football and shopping, at its very heart and in its essence and history, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks to God for his bountiful gifts. Amazingly, more and more people seem to be oblivious to this. They never seem to think or to ask the simple question, “To whom are we giving thanks?” When we recount all of the good things, blessings and gifts, that we receive throughout the year only the most obtuse could possible think that these good things are kismet, good fortune or happenstance. Only the most arrogant and prideful of people could possibly think that the good things they enjoy are solely the result of their own efforts and ingenuity! Yet more and more, this hubris is the prevailing message of our culture. Worse yet is that many of us believe that we deserve them and are worthy of them and that in our opinion the only problem is that we think that we deserve more good things! This is the attitude that grows and prevails when we remove and fail to acknowledge God as the source of all of our blessings. Humility and gratitude are stomped out by pride and ignorance.
The Solemnity of Christ the King is the feast that helps us put things in a clear and honest perspective. We cannot have Christ as our King and at the same time have ourselves, our careers, or desires, as sovereign in our lives. Christ is either Lord of all or Lord not at all. Jesus is not, will not, and cannot, be a part time or partial Lord and King! To have Christ as the king of our lives is to acknowledge in humility our need for Jesus. To have Jesus as Lord of our lives is to be grateful, thankful, for his Incarnation and paschal mystery. To be a Christian is to be thankful for the gift of our salvation from sin and death and accepting the reality that we cannot accomplish salvation on our own. Jesus saves us because we need to be saved and cannot save ourselves! Yet to be saved by Christ is to first acknowledge our need for salvation, our need for a savior, our need for God! In a world that says we can do it all and can have it all – that can be a hard sell. Why? Because the lie (we can have it all and can do it all) is so appealing.
Thanksgiving and the Solemnity of Christ the King provide us with a couple of moments every year in the Fall to be honest with ourselves and with those around us. While the lie of the world can be appealing it always falls short. Humility and gratitude before God for all the blessing of our lives and the incomparable gift of our salvation in Christ is not only necessary, it is honest and true and, it is right and just!
In Pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately