November 2021 Four County Catholic
Lord of Love
“They will fight with the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”
My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
You can tell that it is Autumn in New England by the leaves on the ground, pumpkins on doorsteps, and the yard signs promoting candidates for the upcoming election. One sign in particular caught my eye –– “No matter who is elected, Christ is still King.”
This is a fitting reminder that while governments come and go, Christ reigns as King forever. That is why the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, on the last Sunday of each liturgical year. This year it is on November 21st.
This feast was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 in response to growing atheism and secularism. In an era marked by war, radical ideologies, and the rise of totalitarian regimes, Pope Pius XI, in his Quas Primas encyclical, wrote, “the seeds of discord sown far and wide; those bitter enmities and rivalries between nations, which still hinder so much the cause of peace; the rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable consequences.”
This feast, celebrated by the Church for the last 95 years was put forth as an antidote.
We, clergy and laity alike, are called to make God the Father known, to allow the love of Jesus Christ to shine forth, and to become suitable temples for the Holy Spirit. We are tasked with living our lives in the joy and freedom that comes as a benefit of following our Lord.
With our Christian faith repeatedly attacked in the public square, we can tend to shrink back and compartmentalize how and when we express our faith. In other words, we may love Jesus privately, but have trouble expressing it in public for fear of reprisal. We are encouraged, by this solemnity, to celebrate and live out our faith in public, standing up for the religious liberty that we are promised in the First Amendment.
In Lumen gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, a principal document of the Second Vatican Council, the Council teaches that the laity has the specific vocation of making the Church present and active in the world. The laity, in this vision, are bearers of a mission to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. (Mt 5:13-14).
Living in accordance with the truth is not an easy task. Even in the face of suffering, Christ’s reign is undefeated, because He and all who emulate Him testify to the truth.
And the truth is that He is a King who conquers by love, not by force. This is contrary to the world’s expectation of a king.
Jesus, a meek and humble King whose greatest act was one of service, sacrificed Himself for you and me.
How do we serve a King who serves us?
We can begin by asking for God’s grace to act and think humbly and then serve each other. To do all things from a position of love because love is the one thing that cannot be compelled. We choose to give and receive it freely; otherwise, it is not love.
This reminds me of a quote attributed to Saint Teresa of Calcutta, “Wash the plate not because it is dirty nor because you are told to wash it, but because you love the person who will use it next.”
That is behaving in accord with the King of kings.
The Solemnity of Christ the King is a day for us to rededicate ourselves to the truth of Christ, the Lord of love. Only then will we experience true freedom and a renewal in our Church and in our Country.
I pray that you and your families have a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with health, love and joy. May the blessings of Almighty God rest upon you.
Sincerely yours in thanksgiving to Christ,
Michael R. Cote
Bishop of Norwich