God’s reign empowers me!

As the Liturgical Year comes to an end, the feast of Christ the King recalls for us the great messianic mission of Jesus in his teaching of the values of the Kingdom of God [the Father] to the world – in his time, our time, for all time. John the Baptist prepared for the Messiah’s coming by preaching repentance and inviting all penitents to a baptism of water. Jesus opened his mission by humbly submitting himself to John’s baptism, thereby manifesting his Divine Sonship in the Trinitarian community. Then in the synagogue of Nazareth he read the passage from the prophet Isaiah alluding to himself the fulfillment of the messianic prophecy: “He has sent me to preach the Good News to the poor, to proclaim liberation to captives and sight to the blind, to give freedom to the oppressed and announce a year of God’s favor” (Lk 4:18-19). “The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God has come near: Repent and believe in the Good News (Mk 1:15). A repentant spirit acknowledges one’s sinfulness that needs God’s forgiveness and the determination to embark on a renewed life witnessing to the love, justice and mercy of God.

Our own baptism signaled our becoming members of God’s Kingdom/Reign in the Church founded by Jesus Christ. The Church, the People of God, is the sign of God’s Reign through the fraternal love lived in communion by the members. God has first loved us and has made himself visible to us in Jesus, through whom we are able to see the Father (Jn 14:9), and respond to His love. But Jesus further teaches us to show our love for God by loving our neighbor, as he depicted in the parable of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:25-37). Furthermore, Jesus identifies himself with those in need, with the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and those in prison. “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). Love of God and love of neighbor have become one.

The saints, like St. Teresa of Calcutta, constantly renewed their capacity for love of neighbor from their encounter with the Eucharistic Lord. It is this love burning from our Christ commitment that empowers us to go and continue the mission of transformation, ‘restoring all things in Christ’ and intensifying our prayer and efforts to transform destructive violence to peace, anger to forgiveness, and selfish greed to generous sharing. We also acknowledge of kingly power of Jesus in the bold proclamations of martyrs and witnesses through their lives, such as Mexican Blessed Miguel Pro who in 1927 forgave his executioners and died shouting, “Long live Christ the King (Viva Cristo Rey}!” The feast of Christ the King is also near the feast of Mary’s presentation which comes at the end of the Church’s year and leads us to offer ourselves like Mary to be fitting gifts to Christ the King. From her earliest days to the end of her life, Mary was always in the presence of God. Her own heart was an immaculate temple in which God found a worthy dwelling place. Oh Mary, intercede for us to live as true witnesses to the gospel of love, mercy and peace.

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