We celebrate this weekend the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe. Let me talk a little theology with you all, unpacking, albeit cursorily, what it means that Jesus is King. I won't take offense if you fall asleep while reading. Hopefully my homily will be more engaging.
When Jesus came upon this earth and then died for our sins, he offered himself to the Father. This offering to the Father obtained our salvation. Jesus then also took the fruits of this offering, or merits, theologians might say, and applied them to each of us. Thus, there is an upward movement of Christ to the Father, as well as a downward (or lateral) movement of Christ to us.
Mary, by the way, works with Jesus in that lateral movement. She assists those divine graces coming to us from the fruits of Christ's offering.
So Christ dying was just one part of the equation. We need to receive, each of us, the fruits of that death. It is possible for us to not receive the fruits; for us to reject the graces Christ won for us. To help fight against this, Jesus has established himself as King (and Mary as Queen).
Jesus, as King, has governance of our souls. As Dominican theologian, Pierre Paul Philippe writes, "It is a power which has been given to [Jesus] to help us be better disposed to receive the divine graces and make the best of them."
Jesus is not a tyrant, however. He is not a cruel king. He doesn't violently force us to receive the love of the Father. Rather, by his beauty and brilliance, he compels us to accept it freely.
Presidents, prime ministers, and kings have external force. Jesus has internal force. He can transform our hearts and attract us to do his will.
Jesus is king of hearts. And (you know where this is going), Mary is the Queen of Hearts. No, not the 50-50 raffle we've been doing at St. Juliana. Mary is the attractive force moving us to accept the fruits of her son's redemption so that we can live fulfilled lives.
I will be the first to stand up and claim that I, James Wallace, am a proud and happy subject of Christ the King and Mary the Queen. They govern my life and rule my heart. I am all the better for it. I pray that you all may let Christ be your King.
I will be meeting with the Finance Council this Monday evening. I'm grateful for Ray Balcarcel (Business Manager), Ed Conway, Jim Hynes, Mike McGlinn, Jim McHale (chair), Jim Mitchell, John Pelrine, and Jean Staunton for their service. The Parish Annual Report will be coming out soon.
My Tuesday Theology Talk this week will be on St. Padre Pio. We will look at the incredible life the 20th Century Franciscan monk from Italy. In addition to his holiness and wisdom, Padre Pio performed some miracles (bilocation, the stigmata, reading souls, to name a few), and so we will examine the topic of miracles as well. The outlines I distribute for each talk can be found online, as well as a recording of the talk.
CCD returns this week, and I look forward to celebrating another teaching Mass with the students, this time with the 5th year.
Once again, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was great to see many of you at the Edison Park Turkey Trot. It was also great to see many of our college students back home. Safe travels and best with the remainder of the semester.
Yours in Christ,