Christ the King – What is Truth?

Sunday is the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ the King. It is the last Sunday of Ordinary Time, the end of the Church’s liturgical year. (Advent starts next week!)

What does it mean when we say that Christ is King?

Well… there is something from which we can try to run and hide, something that we try to thwart, defy, deny, but never can: truth. Every human being on earth is subject to the truth. Think of all the laws of physics – truth. Think of secrets that people, like, say, politicians, try to keep that eventually come out – truth. Think of who you are unchangeably, your innermost identity, your deepest core, your heart – truth. Now, we Christians like to say that truth is not a something, but a someone – Christ. That’s because we believe that Jesus Christ is Truth Incarnate – the Word of God, the Divine Logos, made flesh. Even when we humans try to live purely secular lives with no religion, with not even one thought in our day about God, we are still subject to the truth – the unchangeable rule of existence, the undeniable structure that is life – we are still subject to God, the First Cause and Final End of all things. This is who Christ is, incarnated, and we are all subject to Him. He reigns in the hearts of Men…

Christ, reign over me!

©  2014 Christina Chase

Pondering in Her Heart

God knows what’s in my heart.…  Do I?

“And when [the shepherds] saw [the babe in the manger] they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.”  (Luke 2:17-19.)

When Jesus is a grown man, during his earthly ministry, he responds to someone who declares that his mother is blessed for having nursed him by saying, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.”  (Luke 11:28.)  This, of course, Mary also did and so she is blessed – and we can all be blessed, too.  “To keep” can mean to obey – and it can also mean to treasure or safeguard.  The Blessed Virgin Mother hears God’s will for her and she believes.  She believes in God and accepts His word as true.  (Luke 1:45.)  She willingly obeys and says yes.  To believe, credo, also means to give one’s whole heart, one’s whole self, to God’s word.  Mary also does this.  She gives her whole heart, her whole self, over to the Word of God… And the Word of God is made flesh through her.  As a mother, and as a disciple, she keeps Him treasured in her heart all the days of her life.

What is in my own heart?  If I am still and silent, will I find, deep within me, God’s Word treasured and safeguarded with love?  Or will I only find the throbbings of my own words and self-centered desires?  Do I let lust for earthly things, doubt and despair constrict my heart?  Or do I quietly accept and contemplate the wonders of God’s Presence, pondering Divine Love in my heart, keeping the Word Incarnate safe and loved in my sacred core?  To be truly blessed, I don’t need to accomplish mighty deeds that gain praise from the crowds.  I need only to be humble and receptive, quiet, open to the Majesty of His Word, willing to give myself completely to God – body, mind, heart and soul… in this moment… eternally now.

The Word of My Heart

Consecrated to the Heart of the Incarnate Word, I reflect upon the lectionary readings for the Second Sunday of Advent (see link below) desiring to prepare the way of the Lord in my own heart…

Everyone knows that words have power – we can either encourage or discourage people by what we say.  But, what is the power behind the voice of the universe?  What is the power of the Divine Word?

In the Scripture passages chosen by the Catholic Church for the Second Sunday of Advent, we hear the psalmist proclaim that the ruthless are struck down “with the rod of his mouth” and the wicked are slayed “with the breath of his lips”.  Lest these sayings make me think that God’s voice is harsh, destroying the ruthless and the wicked with His words, it’s good to remember what the true power of God’s Word is.  For – “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”  (Matthew 4:4.)  God’s words are life-giving.  God’s Word is Life Itself.  The biblical unfolding of Creation has God speak the whole universe into existence – “God said: Let there be light, and there was light.”  God called everything forth into being through the divine Word “and found it very good.”  (Genesis 1:3, 31.)  In this way, God speaks every human being into existence.  And every person who is fully alive, in true, divinely intended life, has his or her being in the Word of God – which is true life.  When I strive to be who God created me to be, then I am neither ruthless nor wicked.  I am not struck down, laid low or shriveled up on hearing God’s words.  Instead, if I have true life within me, I am nourished and sustained by them.

Christ is the Word of God made flesh – “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.…  All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.…  And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”  (John 1:1-3, 14.)  In preparing the way for the coming of Christ, we hear St. John the Baptist say of him, “He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”  Sometimes, can make Christ sound punishing to me– unless I understand that he is the divine Word Incarnate.  As such, he is the touchstone for true life.  Held up to Christ, my heart is revealed.  God does not destroy, but I can destroy myself by the life I choose to live.  Am I the wheat that receives and gives life or am I just on the surface, like the chaff?  If I delight myself in self-centeredness, then I have turned in on myself and away from God’s life-giving Word.  I will wallow in the surface of things, living a selfish life that will only end in death – and thus bring about my own destruction.  If, however, I have generously loved God and neighbor, seeking the light of goodness and truth, giving of myself to others, then I am nourished by God’s Word and sustained in life that, like love, never ends.

Christmas is coming soon, when we celebrate the birth of Christ into the world.  May we “with one voice glorify… the God of encouragement”.  In Christ, the fullness of divinity is pleased to dwell – all goodness, all wisdom, all strength, filled with the spirit of counsel and reverence.  The Divine Incarnation is the greatest gift given to us, because God’s Word made flesh shows us how to be as God created us to be, how to live life fully – by loving and giving selflessly.

So I ask myself, How am I living my life?  Have I prepared the way for the Word of God in my heart?  Do I seek first the Kingdom?  Do I let Christ show me the way?

Practical question: When was the last time I read from the Bible – that is, the word of God?  It’s easy enough to be distracted today by the world with its shiny and brassy things.  But, how can I ever hope to enter into the ways of selfless love, the ways of truly good things, if I don’t bother to know God’s Word?  If I don’t like what Sacred Scripture tells me, if I feel myself shriveling as I listen or read – then am I as God created me to be?  God hears my secret voice speaking.  God knows what’s in my heart… Do I?

Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/120813.cfm