Christ the King 2020 crowned in a Corona Year.
The Feast of Christ the King signals the end of the current liturgical year and the following Sunday which is the First Sunday of Advent, starts a new liturgical year.
Does Christ need this royal title? Not really, the first 19 centuries of Christianity survived comfortably without this feast.
It was only introduced in 1925 and does justice to Jesus as a descendant of King David but at the time, around the First World War, it became a powerful symbol for monarchs and dictators who were in power, sending them a message that a kingdom is not built on wars and corruption, but on human values that foster respect for their subjects, treating them as heirs and partners.
Even in today’s secular world of Law and Politics, there is something to be said for appealing to a higher authority. The biblical stories of the Kingdom of God to be realized here and now, remind us every day of Jesus, the role model of a Servant King and how we should follow in His footsteps.
At baptism we are all anointed as heirs to God’s Kingdom. This is an Old Testament way of saying that in this world we have an important role to play in the formation of a spiritual people with a vision of justice and solidarity. The Gospel gives us signs of how we can recognize Christ in our midst or how we can act like Him. Visiting the sick and isolated; clothing the naked and feeding the hungry. Whatever we do for the least among us, we do for God.
This is where religion makes an impact and faith gains credibility in today’s world. Worship accompanied by concrete acts of love is the crown jewel that makes Christ, both King and Good Shepherd.
At the end of a liturgical year, we normally look back at all the activities and events that took place, and posters would have been placed on the 12 pillars in our church, recalling the special liturgical celebrations and pastoral initiatives from the past year. It was always a great moment to remember each month of our rich and active community life.
This year however, has been such a different year in every sense. Our liturgical and pastoral impact cannot be reflected in numbers or posters on the pillars of our Church, but is imprinted in our hearts.
Through the initiative of video streaming, we still reached many people. Through the many appeals for counseling and personal outreach we could still do what the Gospel asks from us. But since March we also missed many community events. There was no Lenten Campaign and no Holy Week. No First Communion and Confirmation group celebrations. Many postponed weddings and funerals with very few attendees. There was no Food Fair, no coffees and parties after Mass and… there is going to be no big festive Christmas.
But this Corona Year had a positive effect on many of us . There was more time for reflection and for counting our blessings. We took a better look at what is really important in our lives. Many reached out to their neighbors or people in need. God’s Kingdom this year was not built by assembling large crowds, but by many individuals praying and doing good things. This year there are no posters on the pillars of our Church, but we are grateful for all the good that was done in silence and seen by God, who will reward you.
Christ is not a pompous King with palaces and golden carriages but His wealth is shown through people who practice humble and selfless love. In that sense this liturgical year was a rich year, because many people made this world in crisis, a more bearable place, exactly through that generous gift of love and faith.
With a December full of social distancing ahead of us, I wish you lots of wonderful moments in which you feel the closeness of loving hearts. Advent 2020 will be remembered much more for what we made it in spite of all the restrictions. The good news around the effectiveness from various vaccines gives us hope. Tidings of comfort and joy lie ahead. May Advent help us to focus on the blessings of this life and open us up to the miracle of God’s wanting to be a part of it.