I’m a people watcher. I like to observe people’s behaviors, hear their thoughts, and try to discover who they are.
The ways of the world intrigue me, fascinate, and bewilder.
We, humans, are so interesting – unique, yet predictable, innovative yet, repetitive.
Sometimes, I feel like we are in the same story over and over again. The actors and scenery change but the backdrop and main storyline stay essentially the same.
For example, whenever an election year comes and new candidates are elected, there are reactions from all “sides”. Obviously, the ones who voted for the winners celebrate with great excitement filled with “hope” for a better future, a better country, better jobs, better healthcare, better everything. Those who voted for the candidates who lost wake up the next morning in a fog, dejected and depressed and filled with a deep sense of foreboding for the future, for the country, for jobs, for healthcare, basically everything is going to be a disaster and all life, as they knew it, is over.
Happens every. single. time. Over, and over.
Through all our human history, leaders have risen and fallen. People repeatedly put all their faith and hope in one person or a certain group of people, hoping this one might be the one that finally brings order, peace, and security.
Occasionally, we’ll get leaders who fulfill those dreams well – for a time – until the winds of change blow in and the people decide they want something different and better.
Recently, I’ve been spending more time reading the books of the Bible. I’ve been paying closer attention, seeing beyond the words and noticing the recurring theme weaved in and through its pages. The Bible is really an amazing book, if you think about it beyond its religious value. It’s the only book, that I know of, that compiles such a great span of human history – human anthropology and psychology – in one place.
It’s composed of many individual stories, written from the earliest years of humanity through millenniums of time and human experience. Each book, though written by different authors, differentiated by various times and cultures, is essentially the same story written over and over with different characters and scenery.
A person, or a group of people are lost, hungry, oppressed or suffering, hoping and waiting for someone to save them.
Interestingly, when that help comes, it’s often scrutinized, doubted, and finally rejected by the majority – especially by the current leadership of the time. We see it over and over in the Old Testament and by the time the “Promised Savior” does come, the people are so hardened and jaded they do not recognize him or accept him.
The people were expecting a king – a worldly general – to come and physically rescue them from the oppression of the Romans. But Christ did not come to us as a king of this world, but for another.
My kingdom does not belong to this world… (Jn 18:36)
Today, we, the Church, celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. Admittedly, in the past, I’m not sure if I really grasped the significance of this feast day or considered how appropriate its timing is.
In the Church liturgical year, it marks the end of a liturgical year – the “Year of Mercy” – as we prepare for a new year beginning on the first Sunday of Advent next Sunday. (Yes, already!)
For our country, and as what goes on here affects the rest of the world, this marks a time of transition from the current leaders of our government to the newly elected candidates.
Once again, people from all “sides” are either very excited or at least satisfied with the election results, believing the elected leaders will bring a hopeful future; or, they are incredibly dissatisfied, stunned and even depressed thinking of what these new leaders mean for the future.
I found it very interesting when I read Catholic Culture’s explanation that, “The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism…intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ’s royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations.”
Pope Pius XI saw the same problems in 1925 that we grapple with now. We all want a savior – someone who will make life easier, free-er, better.
But, like the people in 1925 and the Israelites thousands of years before us, we are looking in the wrong place, to the wrong people.
Christ, the God who became one of us, suffers with us, died and rose again in Glory – He. He is our King. He is our Lord and Master. He is our Savior, the only One who can really, truly, and completely satisfy our greatest needs and deepest desires.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t vote or try to improve our world by electing good leaders and establishing good laws and policies. The Holy Spirit works through all of us to bring goodness into the world.
And I guess that’s part of my point.
Aside from all the grumbling and protesting we hear leading up to and following each election, I’ve also noticed a recurring resolution each time:
Be the Change. Be the Good.
We look to Christ as the One, True King and Ruler of the world. And He, in turn, looks to us – to you and me – as the people who will proclaim Him to all the land. He elects us to carry out His Mission, to bring Truth, Beauty, Justice, and Love to the world.
He is our King. We are His Kingdom.
The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you. (Lk 17:20-21)
The leaders of the world will come and go, empires and nations will rise and fall, laws and policies will amend and adapt.
Christ, the King, remains, always.