Christ’s love is the guiding principle

By | November 21, 2012

As Christians, we know Christ to be our king, the one who is to govern and reign in our lives. On this feast of Christ the King, we contemplate once again the kingdom Jesus came to inaugurate: a kingdom of truth and life, holiness and grace, justice, love and peace.

Truth! John’s Gospel is clear and definitive: Jesus came into the world to testify to the truth.

Life! Jesus came to testify to the truth and to bring us to the fullness of life (Jn 10:10). The call to maturity means that we receive and nurture the gift of existence that God has given to us. More, we are to share with others the life so freely given to us. By being life-givers, we emulate Christ the King, the one who loves us and sets us free from our sins.

Holiness! The building of the kingdom is essentially the work of God. We are called to be agents and instruments of that kingdom, but we must never forget that we are not the principal agent. Christ the King works through us to bring the perfection of love, that is, holiness, into full fruition.

Grace! Grace is basically God’s self-giving. And our God is indeed the “Alpha and the Omega,” the beginning and the end of all life. Participation in God’s life is totally gratuitous, nothing that we earned, nothing that we deserve. And yet, God, in divine extravagance, pours into our lives a share of his light and love. That self-giving is the kingdom come.

Justice! Our God is a God of love and mercy; our God is also a God of justice. Just as we have basic rights, all of us have basic responsibilities. It is when we promote and protect rights that the kingdom of God is being realized; it is when we take seriously our duties and obligations that God’s justice is felt.

Love! Pope Benedict XVI, in his first encyclical, reminded us that God is love. Above all else, the kingdom of God is one in which love is the guiding principle of our attitudes and behavior. The historical Jesus was the manifestation of God’s love, revealed in his self-sacrifice. The risen Lord is the revelation of God’s love, who remains our eternal priest and universal king.

Peace! When we pray the Our Father and ask that God’s kingdom might come, we are praying for peace, the rightness of relationship at every level: with God, with others, with ourselves, with creation. Here we have Christ’s farewell gift; here we have the gift that Jesus will give when he comes again on the clouds of heaven.

Questions for reflection

1. Which of the aspects of the kingdom do you experience most?

2. How does Jesus reign in your heart?

3. What can you do today to further God’s kingdom?

Bishop Morneau is the auxiliary bishop of the Green Bay Diocese and pastor of Resurrection Parish in Allouez.

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