Reflection for Sunday, November 20, 2016: Our Lord Jesus Christ the King.
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Alexander, Andrew, S.J.
This is the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Today is the last Sunday of Ordinary Time. It is also the last Sunday in the Year of Mercy - this year during which we have remembered that "Jesus is the Face of the Father's Mercy." (Pope Francis). Next Sunday, we begin Advent.|It is a wonderful time to acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and as the King of the Universe. I think that this can only happen for me when I step back a bit and enter a little process of reflection. I have to begin by confronting a few things in myself. First of all, I'm not the King of the Universe. That may sound ridiculous, but it is an important recognition. This world does not revolve around me, as I sometimes want it to. I am not its Master. I am actually very small and very powerless. On one level, it helps me to look at the immnesity of the Universe and to feel how incredibly tiny our world is and how tiny I am in it. On another level, it is helpful for me to let myself experience the tremendous complexity of this world. I tend to be overwhelmed at the divisions, the conflicts, the wars. I read about the amazing scientific discoveries that continue to reveal the mystery of life and the marvelous ways everything is connected and related. Pope Francis offered us a powerful picture of our planet, with an integrated vision of all of us having an effect on each other, in his encyclical "On our Common Home." The more I let this world be so big, and the universe itself be big beyond imagining, the more I can approach the mystery of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.|The next step is to let my relationship with Jesus be renewed as a personal, intimate relationship. This Master of the Universe knows and loves me. If I rest there, and let it in deeper and deeper, it is very moving. In time, if I let myself be touched, afresh, by the gift of knowing Jesus' tragic encounter with rejection and death, redeemed - rescued and freed - us all from the power of all sin and all death, deep feelings well up. Thinking about Jesus, asking Jesus for favors to make me happier - to give me what I want - fades into a relationship of deep gratitude. Intimacy that is full of gratitude is deeply bonding. It offers what I really long for. It is a holy communion, a special closeness of mutual love. It is this closeness that leads to the desire for Holy Communion with Jesus, my King, in the Eucharist.|In this context, having Jesus as our King, fills us with the gratitude of knowing how loved and saved we are, but it also can give us such courage and hope. What do we really have to fear? Oh, there's plenty of fearful realities out there. There are plenty of things which threaten us - especially our most vulnerable sisters and brothers. We can all list them.|This is a Sunday to let ourselves be comforted. We have a King and he is Jesus. The Mercy of our God will always be with us, to accompany us. Nothing can really separate us from his love and mercy. We are about to enter a Season in which we will exercise our longing for the Light in the midst of all darkness. And, when we get dis-couraged - that is, sapped of all courage - we can turn to Jesus and let him look at each of us - as King of the Universe - and say, "I am with you in this. And, you are sure to be with me in paradise." That perspective is freeing and en-couraging. When we are courageous, and full of confident hope, we can give hope to the hopeless, and proclaim the good news by the way we love and show mercy, as people who witness that we have nothing to fear. Then, we can be voices for the voiceless. We can take on the cause of those have grown weary, suffering the effects of systemic injustice. Each day our prayer has a new energy: "May your kingdom come, your will be done, on this earth, in our time, for your people."
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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