God allows us to be disappointed in order that we may turn back to Him. These were words I shared last week. The disappointments we experience in life are many and varied: in relationships and friendships, in job and career, in health, in hopes, plans, dreams, and expectations for life. Sometimes, although not always, our disappointments derive from an attitude of entitlement, as though God owes us. I proposed thanksgiving and gratitude as remedies to the entitlement mentality and as means, along with the grace of God, to working through the disappointments of life.
We celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. As I mentioned in a homily a few weeks ago, the most important election occurs every moment of every day: the election of Jesus Christ as the King of our hearts, as the Lord of our lives, even when things do not go our way. Jesus Christ has to be our king even in the face of the difficulties and disappointments of life, and we have to turn back to Him in those moments. If we don't turn back to Him, we will ultimately crown other people or things as rulers in our lives; we will replace the living and true God with false and empty substitutes.
We, human beings, are religious by nature—it's simply who we are. Inherent to us is the inclination to worship and the desire to give ourselves to something greater than us. Because we are made to worship, God commands us to worship Him alone and to have no false idols or gods; this is the First Commandment. This commandment exists not because God needs our worship or praise. It exists for our good: we become like the person or thing we worship, and God's plan is for us to become like Him. God's plan for us is to enjoy life in abundance, but false gods and idols will only bring about emptiness and death.
The false gods of today are not erected as a golden calf or physical idol; they are not the gods of the pagans, but false gods still exist today and attempt to creep into our lives. Some of these false gods are ages old: prosperity and wealth, power and domination, physical and sexual pleasure, and fame and renown. Others are perhaps more current: government and politicians, sports, health and fitness, science, the environment, and “sexual freedom.” None of these things are evil in themselves, but we can place too much inventory in them. These false gods will offer peace and security, but fail to make good on their promises. These false gods will demand our unquestioning loyalty and will shape the way we think, speak, and act. These false gods provide their own creeds, dogmas, and worldviews. If we're not careful, these false gods may shape the way we see the world and view life.
We are reminded to enthrone Jesus Christ as the king of our hearts and lives. This means finding our peace and security in Him. Having Jesus Christ as our king means allowing Him to shape the way we think, speak, and act and being faithful to Him; it means following the creed and dogmas of His Church and seeing the world through His eyes. May we allow Christ to be our king at every moment of every day.
We are saints under construction, living as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, our king. Have a great week!