25 November 2006

Bishop Lucas on Christ the King

In his weekly column, "Grace and Mercy," the Most Reverend George J. Lucas reflects on the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ the King. Here follows an excerpt:

The Feast of Christ the King tells us something about the life that is possible after death. The Christ whom we come to know and love in the Gospels is the same person who draws all people to himself through his death and resurrection. He came to serve, not to be served. He was obedient even to accepting enthronement on the cross. He invites us to prepare for life without end in his kingdom by learning obedience to the will of God and by serving the needs of others out of love for God. True obedience and true service are not coerced. Our willing participation in the life of Christ here and now deepens within us a desire for full life with him in the kingdom to come. This growing desire, strengthened by grace, shapes our choices according to the revealed plan of God.

Those who are already living in anticipation of the kingdom to come have no reason to fear death. It is normal to have some apprehension about what lies ahead. As we keep our focus on Jesus, our trust in him overcomes fear. Some of the fear has to do with the possibility of being excluded from the kingdom. Hell is really self-exclusion, freely refusing to love God, neighbor or self. Our culture would like us all to think that hell is an outdated concept. We know better because we understand what it means to be free, free to love God or to refuse to do so.

Each time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we pray “thy kingdom come.” This week, in a reflective moment, picture yourself as part of God’s kingdom forever. Do you want what God wants for you, life everlasting? Pray for the wisdom to make the choices that lead there.

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