Community Word: Jesus the King reigns in the hearts of those who are faithful to Him.
Order: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mk 12:30-31)
The month of November ushers in a very important feast which marks the end of the Church’s liturgical year – Solemnity of Christ the King. There are several references in Scriptures about the sovereignty of Christ and one pre-eminent verse is Matthew 28:18, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” The Feast of Christ the King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925. The intent of the Encyclical which established the feast is to provide a clear guide on how we can be faithful to Christ and live up to His commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength,” (Mk 12:30-31).
Thus, our Community Word for November tells us: Jesus the King reigns in the hearts of those who are faithful to Him. Pope Pius XI says: “If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth: He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls.”
Among the precepts of the Lord, it is actually “Love your neighbor as yourself” that manifests our love for the Lord in concrete terms. Apparently, this involves a relationship which is quite complex and difficult to handle as it could end up in discord in case of disagreement. There is a businessman, one of the richest in the Philippines, though he holds considerable power and authority, uncharacteristically displays a noble virtue of keeping a good relationship and does not nurture rancor in his heart for any untoward past experience with others.
A parent counsels his children: To journey in this life, keep moving forward and do good things. If you have a positive attitude and you treat others well, the road ahead becomes wider for you to walk through. Extract wisdom from crisis like juicing, but consider as useless residue what is left. If you retain unnecessary baggage of anger and negative thoughts, you will be weighed down and you will lose your freedom. Don’t think of exacting revenge against those who have wronged you, because to think of vengeance is looking back and distracts you from moving on.
During this month, we are exhorted to reflect on the readings of the remaining Sundays of the liturgical year.
For the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, the theme is: Those who are faithful to Jesus the King keep and honor God’s commandments. Psalm 1:1-3 tells us, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, but delight in the law of the Lord. He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither, and whatever he does, he prospers.” God wants us to be happy and live an abundant life. We can attain this if our relationship with God is right and we are in tune with all that He commands us to do. Certainly, a life without God is like a vine cut-off from the main branch that will eventually die. Those who follow God will receive His blessing in this promise: “Keep…all His commandments…that you may grow and prosper the more,” (Dt 6:2b-3a).
Those who are faithful to Jesus the King generously share their blessings – is our theme for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Giving generous tithes and love offering is the Lord’s precept that may be very challenging to observe. It may be difficult to let go even a small amount if family earnings is hardly enough for daily needs. It may also be difficult to be charitable if one is not used to giving. But in Malachi 3:10, the Lord says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” It is an ultimate test of faith. Sometimes, blessing comes in the form of genuine peace and joy because of faithfully serving the Lord. We admire a covenant member from our Smokey Mountain outreach who has been faithful in community for over 25 years, even if her income is not much, giving her all in community service. And, another member who left a high paying job to devote his time fully in community, yet finds joy and fulfillment in his present vocation. Truly, God’s generosity cannot be outdone when He promises: “The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry,” (Kgs 17:14b).
The theme for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time is: Those who are faithful to Jesus the King stay vigilant for His coming. Jesus comes to us every time we receive Him in Holy Communion. He comes to us when we celebrate His birth on Christmas day. And most importantly, we anticipate His second coming at the end of time. To give flesh to the theme in a meaningful way, we are exhorted to follow the directions for the month: 1. Make a daily examination of conscience on how faithful you are in honoring God’s commandments, 2. Go to confession and receive the Holy Eucharist regularly, and 3. Show your love of neighbor by doing spiritual and corporal works of mercy. To those who store treasures in heaven by their acts of mercy, Jesus will say: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world,” (Mt 25:34). Lord, we claim Your promise that: “You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever,” (Ps 16:11).
For the Solemnity of Christ the King, our theme is: Those who are faithful to Jesus the King listen to Him and testify to the Truth. The Truth is Jesus is King and Ruler over all. He has all authority and power to reign over heaven and earth. He came to conquer every heart and soul and establish God’s kingdom here on earth – “a kingdom ruled not by force or fear but by the power of God’s righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit,” (Rm 14:17). Our lives should be submitted to His lordship as we seek to do only His will and to serve His Kingdom above all else today and for all eternity. Which kingdom will you serve today and for all eternity? The world, which is passing, or God’s kingdom, which will endure for all time? If we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and King, we become citizens of this everlasting kingdom which is governed by God’s righteousness, peace, and love.
In community, we testify to Christ in our way of life as genuine Christians, through our evangelization and mission works, through our assignments as lay under-shepherds, in the study of God’s word and in spreading His word by our faith and good works. Is your life submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Faithful servants of God will know of this promise: “Behold He is coming amidst the clouds, and every eye will see Him,” (Rv 1:7a) and, in the end of time, will inherit eternal reward in heaven.
Let us all possess this solemn faith, that as we faithfully serve the Lord in the community, He will welcome us at the end of our journey on earth.