Sunday, November 21, 2010

Because of the King on the Cross

Today Catholic worshipers across the globe are commemorating the Solemnity of Christ the King. Pope Pius XI established this feast day in 1925 in the wake of what was supposed to be the "war to end all wars" as a way to combat secularism. We need this feast day now, more than ever.We end the liturgical year meditating on a King who died without a Kingdom in this world, a King assassinated by political authorities who found his message of love and redemption deeply threatening.

I struggled to write words to express what it means that Christ has dominion over our lives. Instead, I found the words in today's reading, in a letter St. Paul wrote hundreds of years ago from a prison to the Colossians. I found an image painted nearly  400 years ago, by Diego Velázquez, that shows us both Christ's human suffering and His transcendent divinity.

When I read Paul's words and heard them at Mass Saturday evening, they burrowed into my heart.The Colossians had been converted to Christianity. But they were being pressured to accept false doctrines; so are we. I encourage you to to read these words out loud, and slowly. Christ explains everything. We exist because He gazes at us with immeasurable love.

Brothers and sisters:
Let us give thanks to the Father,
who has made you fit to share
in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.
He delivered us from the power of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.
For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;
all things were created through him and for him.

He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
that in all things he himself might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile all things for him,
making peace by the blood of his cross
through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.