Christ is King

As several Canadian provinces including New Brunswick enter once again into lock down, many of us are surrounded by different reactions and questions, in the midst of such uncertainty and limitations, what can truly save us ?
Natasha Mazerolle

The Saint John region of the Diocese of Saint John was bumped back to orange level rather abruptly just before the weekend, and this carries with it the tension of once again adjusting to government regulations – single family bubbles, restrictions on mass attendance, and mandatory masks, among other things. There is so much anger everywhere: anger that people aren’t following the rules, anger over the extremity of the restrictions, people being encouraged to report on each other, tickets issued without warnings. This fosters a general climate of people watching each other in judgment, and there is a tangible air of cynicism and mistrust that is dampening to the human spirit. Much like at the beginning of the pandemic, heading into mass this weekend was clouded with uncertainty. Would this be our last mass for a while? We don’t know.

And so it was fitting that it was the feast of Christ the King. I found myself pondering, what does it mean that Christ is King? It’s easy to acknowledge him as Lord when everything is normal – when we can do our Christmas shopping and go see our friends, go to mass…what about when all of that is taken away? In a letter to the faithful in the Saint John Region following the move back into Orange level (available at dioceseofsaintjohn.org, and well worth a read), Bishop Christian Riesbeck, CC, said that, “ as faithful you are demonstrating great understanding and charity during this time of disruption. Your ability to maintain and foster the faith is a true testimony to Christ’s presence among us.” Am I living these days in a way that fosters and maintains faith? Do I still find my hope in him?

As I prayed with this, I realized that my greatest contribution to this moment is how well I reflect Christ to others. This comes through in how we treat others, especially the marginalized, those without hope. In his homily on the Feast of Christ the King Bishop Riesbeck said, “Jesus is the source of all our hope. We need hope in this world we live in.” In this time when we may be tempted to give in and worry about how the pandemic affects us, the things we can no longer do that we wish could, we must instead reach out to those most in need. If we turn our thoughts, minds and hearts to others, reaching out with a kind word, checking in on people who may be isolated, remembering that this situation is temporary, and offering our sacrifices for the sake of those around us, he can redeem this moment for us and bring something beautiful even now. A dear friend told me she instructed her children, “we’re not in Orange level, we’re in Christ the King level”. How beautiful.

Do we live in a way that reflects that Christ is the King of every moment? That he is in control, and that we can trust him with our whole lives? That our hope does not depend on our own efforts or how well we can follow all the rules, but in him who gives us everything and illuminates even our darkest moments? I believe the great social experiment of this time has nothing to do with the pandemic and everything with how we love each other. Do we believe that Christ is the King, that he has the victory? Because this is the greatest contribution we can make to the world right now, and one that is needed more than anything else. People need hope, people need Jesus, he is the King. Let’s continue to walk towards him.

“Let us not forget that Christ remains the King, God is in control. We entrust to him all those who are ill and those on the front lines caring for them.” (Bishop Riesbeck, Letter to Saint John Region)