Ez. 34:11-12, 15-17; Ps. 23; 1 Cor. 15:20-26, 28; Matt. 25:31-46
(Audio recorded live, 22 November 2020)
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Pope Pius XI instituted this feast in 1925 in his encyclical Quas primas (“In the first”) as a response to growing secularism and hostility against the Church. At the time, nihilism, atheism, and communism were spreading across Europe, Russia, and parts of Mexico. This was brought about largely by atheistic regimes who sought to subvert the moral and spiritual influence of the Church, replacing it with their own brand of secular atheism. This was right about the time we saw the rise of tyrants such as Mussolini, who founded and led the National Fascist Party in Italy, to Stalin, who saw to the establishment of the Soviet Union, ushering in “socialism in one country,” who later became dictator, and of course, Hitler, who rose to power as the chancellor of Germany and became Führer, their leader. These names are infamous throughout history not because of their benevolence, but rather, because of the great evils they brought upon their people and the world.
Now, nearly one hundred years later, we continue to see many of the same errors of former tyrants being foisted upon the people. And by errors, I mean socialism and communism. You cannot have one without the other. Socialism always leads to communism, just ask anyone from Cuba or Venezuela. One might easily argue that socialism is anything but social, and communism is anything but communal. Both seek to reduce people to the lowest common denominator, while exalting a select few to positions of extreme power. Such has been the goal of those who have subscribed to this ideology for decades. And now the errors of former tyrants are knocking at our front door. They have come to us in the form of government overreach, unconstitutional lockdowns, mask mandates, and threats of violence and looting in our cities. The chief tactic of the communist is to bring about revolution by pitting people against one another.
During the time of Carl Marx, one of the chief architects of communism, it was the working class vs. the ruling class; in Hitler’s day, it was hatred towards Jews and Christians; in the 60’s it was racial differences, which is still very much a part of the narrative; and today, especially in the political sphere, it is leftists vs. conservatives. One thing is certain, the influence of communism has been prevalent throughout the last century and is ever more present to us today, as we allow ourselves to be pushed around by Marxist bullies already in positions of power.
But, what of people in positions of so-called ‘power’? From where, or from whom, does their power come? In the United States of America, such powers are derived from the people, the consent of the governed, and, quoting the Declaration of Independence: “[W]henever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government….” That is to say, it is up to the people to organize, overturn, and remove those who seek to subvert our liberties by exercising their authority as did the tyrants of the not-too-distant past. By doing so, we not only maintain our republic, we preserve our freedom. But, as Benjamin Franklin said to Elizabeth Powel, wife of then Philadelphia Mayor Samuel Powel, when she asked, “What have we got a republic or a monarchy?” he replied, “A republic … if you can keep it.”
For much of its history, the United States of America has been a haven of freedom in the world. This is in large part due to the inalienable rights afforded each of us by our Creator, and in particular his Anointed, who, now seated at the right hand of the Father, has ushered in a new era of freedom by conquering sin and death. He was not afraid to speak out against corrupt leaders; he was not afraid to call them hypocrites; he was not afraid to defend those who were cast out of society; in a word, he was not afraid to speak truth to power. That man was Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. There is no throne, dominion, principality, or power on this earth or in the next that is more exalted than Christ’s.
It is Christ who reigns supreme, not man; it is Christ who saves, not man; it is Christ who frees, not man; it is Christ who gathers us together as one flock. He is our shepherd, there is nothing we shall want. He anoints our head with oil and makes our cup overflow. But, can we drink from the same chalice from which he drank? Will we follow the path that he chose? Will we look upon his face, battered and bruised and not be afraid? If yes, then let our yes always mean yes, because the days will come when we will be asked: Who do you serve, God or man? Truth or desire? Peace or revolution? In the face of so many falsehoods, may our answer always be Christ, who is the way, and the truth, and the life. And may we make our voices heard to those tyrants who would seek to suppress our God-given freedom. Write letters. Make phone calls. Be silent no more, but speak truth to power. It is our God-given right and we must defend it, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, King of the Universe.
Given during the COVID-19 pandemic.