In His dialogue with Pilate, as Jesus is about to be sentenced to death, He tells us His kingdom is not of this world. His kingdom is not like anything this world can and ever knew. It is with this realization that we begin the celebration of the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This is the last week of the liturgical year. It is the place where we are to end the year. Having begun with Advent 2014, we traveled to Bethlehem and celebrated the birth of our Savior. We were drawn into the joy of all that His birth can bring. From there we took to the desert of Lent and arrived at the most sacred three days of our year, the Sacred Triduum. It is the place where the death and resurrection of our King is celebrated. With conviction we gather, with openness we experience and with hope we boldly proclaim the empty tomb. From there we celebrate for 50 days and enter the celebration of the Church with Pentecost and the promise and reality of the Holy Spirit. It is from here that we enter the Ordinary Time of the liturgical year to grow in the awareness of the love God has for us.
All of this leads us to this moment. Everything that happened in the year is to bring us to the depth of truth, Jesus is Lord and King of the Universe. It is to lead us to things that are not of this world. The paradox that death leads us to life, that loving our enemies is a necessity and the one who is King came to serve and sacrifice, not to lay heavy burdens upon those already burdened. It is a kingdom of unconditional love, total forgiveness and it cannot make complete sense. His kingdom is not here.
We have had a fantastic liturgical year. It has been a year of growth for many in our parish as families gathered to receive Sacraments for the first time and adults took the plunge into the waters of a covenant that cannot be broken. It is my prayer that this year has been for you, as it has been for me, a dwelling place of God’s grace.
May we start the new year humbly walking where God longs for us to walk, to see what He longs for us to see, and embrace all that needs His love.
Rev. John J. Ouper