I am wondering how much freedom a person has if their leaders are kings and queens. As far as I know, a king and queen is not elected. The throne is passed down. The average person never has a say in who will lead their nation. History teaches us that some royalty have been good and the country has flourished in many ways; others tyrants and still others who ruined their countries on the backs of their people. But, the normal person has no choice. To be a part of the Kingdom of God, however, demands a choice from each one of us. We are not the serfs and subjects of a kingdom where there is no choice. God, the ruler of the universe, invites us everyday to be a part of the Kingdom of heaven. It is not enough to be baptized. We must choose our baptism everyday because in baptism we were invited into the Kingdom of God. But, our baptism also acknowledges our free will. Because of that, we are given the choice to be a part of God’s Kingdom….every single day. Our King is not a tyrant or removed from our lives on a golden throne locked up in a castle. Our King is not sitting in some far away place never interacting with us. Our King walks among us all the time. But, the parable shows us where: In the naked and the sick, in the hungry and thirsty, in the stranger and prisoner, and the naked. As I was looking at the Pieta at St John’s/St Joseph’s during the reading of the Gospel at the four pm Mass, I had a revelation. This image was the Gospel made real. The image of Mary, the image of the Church, holding the bruised and broken Body of Christ, is the reality of the Christian life. She is our model and teaches us to embrace His Wounded and Suffering Body no matter what. Every generation of Christians is called to take care of these people no matter who they are or what they look like because they are Christ among us. “As often as you do this, you do it for me.” In the choice to be a part of the Kingdom of God, it is not option to take care of the most vulnerable of society. Our choice to have Christ our King is also to choose the take of those most people most people would just want to forget. Each generation defines the most needed differently, but, they are still among us. Christ is still among us. This is not an easy choose. Some days, it is just easier to be the person who is afraid of the King so we do the minimal or we just ignore what the King wants and we walk by him or ignore him and not care. As we approach the Advent season next Sunday, let us all reflect on our choice to be a part of the Kingdom. A practice we may want to develop is to wake up every morning and say out loud: Today I choose to have Jesus the King of my life. Today, I choose to life in the Kingdom of heaven. Today I choose Christ. Jesus is the King of all the universe and yet, right among us everyday. May we make the decision to see him and care for him, in the best way we can.
O Lord and Master of the universe Grant me the courage to accept you as the King of my life, right now and every day of my life. Open my eyes to see you in the most vulnerable among us: those with out heat and adequate winter clothing, those who wake up every morning unable to live with alcohol or heroin , those in jail and those imprisoned by mental illness and prejudice, those who no one else cares about. Jesus open my eyes to see you in the most vulnerable among us. May I choose you today and one day may I hear you say: Well done, good and faithful servant, come into the rest of my Kingdom.” Amen