ColumnsNaming Grace

Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

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Egos strutted across the stage, making one think the presidential candidates were running for king of the manure heap. Like children playing King of the Mountain, candidates stepped on and over each other while struggling to reach the top. Certainly, this election brought forth the desire for power to reign over our country.

This Sunday’s Gospel celebrates the Solemnity of Christ the King. Jesus is King of the Universe: “For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth.” As king, Jesus Christ has all the power, the glory and the honor, yet he came not to rule but to serve. He is a king who humbly went to the cross, transforming hatred, violence, alienation, pain and suffering into love, compassion, unity and joy.

I can’t even imagine Jesus playing King of the Mountain, as he would forgo any race to the top. Instead, Jesus would remain at the bottom with the weakest, the littlest, the poorest. I picture Jesus hugging the little girl in a wheelchair, warming the hands of the boy without mittens, laughing with the child with Down syndrome and embracing the child who has been bullied. Jesus would protect any child feeling marginalized, excluded or threatened.

Since the election, some persons in our country have felt more vulnerable to hatred and discrimination. In the United Kingdom, after the Brexit vote, some citizens began wearing a safety pin as a sign to any refugee, “You are safe in my presence.” I’ve been tempted to place a pin on my jacket to signify safety to our brothers and sisters—no matter race, gender, religion, nationality or legal status. Yet wearing a cross should be sufficient for indicating my concern.

As Christians, wearing a cross must always signify, “You are safe in my presence.” Being a Christian demands we stand for the underdog—immigrant, refugee, unemployed, unborn child—for we are one in the family of God. Being a Christian insists we work to correct a justice system stacked against a segment of our population, for we are each created in God’s image. Being a Christian requires we advocate for religious freedom for all faiths, for all deserve the right to worship.

We name grace—God’s regal presence—in the domestic church by serving those incapable of climbing to the top. We name grace by learning about our neighbors and playing with classmates who are “different” from us. We name grace by standing up against any kind of hatred or violence.

Pope Francis commented on the recent election: “I do not make judgments on people and political men, I only want to understand what suffering their behavior causes to the poor and the excluded.” Certainly, there is no perfect candidate or political party, as each advocate policies benefiting some while excluding others. Therefore, no matter who is president, our divine mandate remains the same—to stand by those marginalized and excluded.

Pray for our newly elected president. Pray for our country. Pray for our strength to stand for the other—from conception to natural death. As we close the Year of Mercy, may Jesus’ merciful love flow through us to each person we meet. Jesus Christ is the king who serves the last and the least. Now, that’s good news!

  • How will you help your child include a struggling classmate?
  • How can your family reach out to the marginalized?

 Naming Grace in the Domestic Church reflects on the Sunday readings through the lens of a parent/grandparent, aiding parents in their vital task as “first preachers” of the Good News in the home.