Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hail, Christ the King!

Today's readings come from the prophet Ezekiel, Saint Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, and the Gospel according to St. Matthew as the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Christ the King. For those not familiar with the liturgical calendar of Catholic worship (which is also utilized in some form by Anglicans and Lutherans), this feast is celebrated the last Sunday before Advent - the first week of the "new year" from a liturgical standpoint, making this Sunday the "end" of this year.

This combination of readings in particular does a great job of taking us through a series of experiences, Ezekiel explains who Christ the King is, St. Paul explains what Christ the King does and will do for us, and St. Matthew shares what Jesus tells us Christ the King wants us to do. To me the Gospel is the most compelling of the three readings because it gives us instructions that, while difficult to live up to, really set the tone for how we are to act if we want to be worthy of Christ the King's legacy for us.

I have had a number of discussions about prayer life with others lately and they all seem to focus on a lack of "fulfillment" of their prayers - a concept I always had difficulty with... ultimately we are praying that God's will be fulfilled, and that we are in line with God's will. It's great when that means relative comfort for us, but any efforts to grow in holiness or faithfulness will be stymied by such comforts.

If you were to compare spiritual "exercise" to physical exercise, anyone will tell you that you don't grow without pain or difficulty. Why should we expect anything different when it comes to spiritual growth? We need to welcome these challenges and embrace our fear - for we never have anything to really fear because God is always going to be with us. When we pray and ask for help with temptation or being better Christians, we should expect it to become more difficult, not less - because that presents an opportunity for us to choose God over that temptation.

2 comments:

Zach Evans said...

Thanks for the important reminder Derek. Too often we get impatient for change (improvement), and forget that WE are the ones that live with a reference to "time". Life is about the journey, the challenges, the experiences.

JackUVallTrades said...

Zach,

I appreciate the comment... thanks for adding your thoughts!