Sunday, November 25, 2007


Today is the thirty-fourth Sunday, the last Sunday, in Ordinary Time, and it is the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus as the King of the Universe. The Preface of today’s Mass raises certain points we can consider as central to the theme of the celebration:

“Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks./ You anointed Jesus Christ, your only Son, with the oil of gladness, as the eternal priest and universal king./ As priest he offered his life on the altar of the cross and redeemed the human race by this one perfect sacrifice of peace./ As king he claims dominion over all creation, that he may present to you, his almighty Father, an eternal and universal kingdom:/ a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace./ And so, with all the choirs of angels in heaven we proclaim your glory and join in their unending hymn of praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord…” (Preface of Christ the King)

Today’s feast looks forward to the Parousia (Second Coming); but that fullness would be, for us, the culmination of a journey that began and progresses in time. Nor are we its passive subjects: As man was called to be God’s collaborator in the work of creation—“to fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28), “to cultivate” the garden (Gen 2:15), to continue to perfect the material universe (since the original perfection did not preclude its increase)—so are we called to be Christ’s co-workers in the new work of redemption (applying the benefits of the Sacrifice of our Lord on Calvary). By our Baptism, we were incorporated into Christ and made sharers in His priestly, prophetic and royal ministry—the three-fold ministry of Christ (tria munera Christi)—to sanctify, to teach and to govern, to bring about that kingdom of holiness, of truth, of justice, love and peace.

For us, the vast majority of Christians who are lay people in the middle of the world, the task of sanctifying earthly realities means fulfilling our duties and bearing our crosses with human and supernatural perfection; i.e., doing them as well as we humanly can, with the supernatural motive of pleasing God, as a sacrificial offering. We discharge the prophetic ministry by living our faith and transmitting its truths to those whom we deal with in the ordinary course of our days. We discharge the governing ministry by putting things in their proper order--first of all, our own lives--and placing Christ at the summit of everything.

The Second Vatican Council teaches:

“The term laity is here understood to mean all the faithful except those in holy orders and those in the state of religious life specially approved by the Church. These faithful are by baptism made one body with Christ and are constituted among the People of God; they are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly functions of Christ; and they carry out for their own part the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world.

“What specifically characterizes the laity is their secular nature. It is true that those in holy orders can at times be engaged in secular activities, and even have a secular profession. But they are by reason of their particular vocation especially and professedly ordained to the sacred ministry. Similarly, by their state in life, religious give splendid and striking testimony that the world cannot be transformed and offered to God without the spirit of the beatitudes. But the laity, by their very vocation, seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven. In this way they may make Christ known to others, especially by the testimony of a life resplendent in faith, hope and charity. (Lumen Gentium, No. 31; italics ours)

If the Sacrament of Baptism made us “children of God”, the Sacrament of Confirmation made us “soldiers of Christ”, making clearer our duty to contribute to building up His kingdom.

Jesus Christ our King is “meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29), “a bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench” (Mt 12:19; Is 42:3). He is Shepherd; one who “came not to be served but to serve” (Mt 20:28). His throne, “a manger in Bethlehem and the Cross on Calvary” (F. Fernandez, In Conversation with God, Vol. 5, 91.3); his ride, the colt of an ass, “the foal of a beast of burden” (Mt 21:5; Zec 9:9). May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen because she is the mother of the King, raise us, members of Christ, to become more like her Son, and to grow in our desire to place Christ at the summit of all things.

Regnare Christum volumus! We want Christ to reign!” (The Way, No. 11) ––in the world, in our country, but first in our souls, in our homes, in our work…