This past week I was able to visit with a parishioner who, as a hobby, makes wine. At one point during the visit he showed me the room with all his wine making equipment. He took me to a table on which sat two large buckets. He pulled off a cloth cover on each bucket and in one was a batch of blueberries fermenting and in the other were blackberries fermenting. What I found interesting was that you could actually hear the fermenting process occurring as the juice was in the process of being changed into wine.
In today’s second reading taken from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians (Col. 1:12-20) we find Paul writing that, “(God the Father) delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Paul then goes on to share a beautiful hymn which states that Christ is the “firstborn of all creation” and that now all things are held together in him! We are part of the body of Christ and we are citizens of the Kingdom of God where Christ is our King! Just as we have been transferred into the kingdom of the beloved Son, so are we meant to help transform our world and the times in which we find ourselves.
If there is a king then there must be a kingdom and there must be subjects loyal to the king and the kingdom.
As disciples of Christ in the world we live by a different norm, a different understanding than that which is often proclaimed in the world. After all, our king hung on the cross, mocked by everyone and viewed as a total failure. But Christ was obedient not to the world and it’s message of seeking self and power but to the will of the Father who says life is found in letting go of self and seeking to serve. By following our king we are meant to be a leaven that transforms the world just as we, ourselves, are transformed.
Like many people I believe, I also have been disheartened by this recent election cycle. I do not want to get into the two candidates. The election is over and that is done. What has disheartened me most is the vitriol, the divisiveness, the half-truths and even lies paraded as fact (by all sides) displayed during this election cycle. This election has demonstrated to the whole world the division within our society. The division is there and it is deep.
What do we do as Church? We seek to be what we have always been called to be – citizens of the Kingdom of Christ and by so doing be a leaven of unity within a divided and fractured world. This is in our DNA as Catholics. “Catholic” means universal – a universal where both uniqueness and communion is upheld. It is possible to be pro-life and pro-woman. It is possible to uphold the dignity of immigrants and refugees while also seeking the security of a nation. It is possible to uphold the dignity of the poor and all races and seek to be good stewards of the creation God has given us while not demonizing other people. Is this easy? No, but it is possible. It is not possible if we parade lies and half-truths as truth. It is possible if we follow Christ our king and live as members of his kingdom in our world.
To the Hispanic and all immigrant members of our church – a special word. I understand that there is fear and worry. I do not know exactly what will happen. What I do know are a couple of things. The Church upholds the dignity of all persons and will always do so. Second, no matter who sits in the White House or who controls the levers of power in Washington, D.C.; Christ is King and to him, first and foremost, is our allegiance due and it is through him that all men and women are delivered from darkness.
St. Paul reminds us and it rings through the ages, “(God the Father) delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
“The Kingdom of God is justice and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Come, Lord, and open in us the gates of your kingdom!” (Hymn from the Taize community) Lord Jesus, you are our king! May we be your loyal subjects and may we be a leaven of unity, justice, peace and joy in our world!