Today, as we celebrate the last Sunday of the Catholic liturgical year, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. Next week we will begin a new year in the life of the Church as we begin the holy Season of Advent. So, we are caught up in a time of ending and a time of beginning. And it therefore presents each of us with an opportunity to reflect on our personal faith journey over the past year, and to ask ourselves whether there is anything that we need to change so that we can truly enter into a deeper and more loving relationship with Jesus, Our Most Holy Redeemer.
I think that the truth for most of us is that despite the best of intentions, and whilst being faithful to attendance at Holy Mass and some form of daily prayer, we would all have to acknowledge that there is always more that we can do to live a life that reflects more deeply our desire for God, and for communion with one another. We so easily get caught up in the rush and the struggles of daily life that we find ourselves perhaps letting opportunities of prayer and love to pass us by. There is no room for complacency in a life where God is surely our greatest treasure.
This has always been the struggle of Christian faith throughout history: to avoid becoming complacent or lukewarm in our response to God’s invitation to enter into an ever more loving union with Him.
This risk of becoming lukewarm in our faith is one that we would do well to reflect upon as we prepare to enter the graceful Season of Advent. Do we want to draw closer each day to the God who loves us personally and calls us to a life of intimacy with Him? Or are we prepared to simply do what we consider to be our duty as Catholics, and attend Holy Mass without having any real relationship with God?
This temptation to simply become lukewarm Catholics is one that Pope Francis addressed just a few days ago. It is a good thing to reflect on his words, and to see how we might find ourselves Challenged by his words. Here are some of the words that he preached on the topic.
“God constantly seeks to awaken humans from their torpor, from their sleep. He seeks to rouse souls from their comfortable slumber. Christians need to be careful they do not become lukewarm because that is when they lose sight of God. We need to be ready so that we can tell when Christ “knocks at our door”.
“The lukewarm lose the capacity to contemplate, the capacity to see the great and beautiful things of God. For this the Lord seeks to awaken us, to help us convert. The Lord is present to us always. He is there to invite us: ‘Behold, I knock at the door.’”
Here the Pope underlines the importance of being able to “hear when the Lord knocks at our door… because He wants to give us something good. There are Christians who are not aware when the Lord comes knocking. For them every noise is the same. We must understand well when the Lord knocks, when He wants to bring us His consolation.”
“The Lord comes before us also to invite us to invite Him. Jesus raises His eyes towards us and says: ‘Invite me into your house.”
As we celebrate the feast of Christ the King today,
let us prepare to make a new deepening in our life of faith, by responding from the heart and truly invite Jesus to visit our hearts and our homes and our whole parish community.
Fr Gerard, CSsR