Cardinal Wuerl Marks End of the “Year of Faith”
Celebrates Mass for Solemnity of Christ the King
November 24, 2013
HYATTSVILLE, Md. – The “Year of Faith” that began on Oct. 11, 2012, drew to a close today, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King. To mark its conclusion, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, celebrated Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
“The Church says to us that Jesus Christ, God’s Son come among us – God with us – Emmanuel is truly a king – a spiritual king but nonetheless a real king,” began the Cardinal in delivering his homily. “Today in this liturgy of the Kingship of Christ, we reflect on the nature of that kingdom and our role in bringing it to perfection.”
“Where is this kingdom of which we are now a member?” the Cardinal asked. “You can identify the earthly notion of which we are citizens by the flag, the language, the symbols – our passport. But as St. Paul tells us in his Letter to the Philippians ‘our citizenship is in heaven – from it we await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Phil 3:20), our King. In the meantime, the beginnings of that kingdom are found right here – in our heart.”
“In the work of building up his kingdom, which in its fullness only comes with God in glory, Christ our King calls his disciples to help him. The kingship of Christ today continues to need workers and witnesses to try to manifest the realm of God, especially in the face of earthly powers that would seek to ignore the place of God in our lives and our world. Every time we make the sign of the cross, or say grace before a meal in public, we announce the presence of the kingdom. It takes so little to say so much.”
The Cardinal then referenced the Holy Father’s Apostolic Exhortation – Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), which Pope Francis announced at Mass this morning in St. Peter’s Square, and noted that it conveyed the same message. “It falls to us to bring the Gospel to life in our days. It is our joy and challenge to make present God’s love and mercy – in our actions of loving kindness and forgiveness.”
“We must never forget that all of us do have the power to make a difference,” the Cardinal said. “Like yeast leavening, like seeds germinating, we seek to bring about change. If enough hearts are changed, the world will also be changed.”
“Earthly kingdoms come and go. They may have their moments in the sun, but they will all inevitably fade. If you travel abroad, you can visit their ruins and imagine what they were like in their glory days,” said the Cardinal, who referenced various empires that rose and fell throughout history. “Jesus’ kingdom is different from those. His ‘reign is a reign for all ages’ and his ‘dominion for all generations’ (Ps 145:13). His kingdom is one of Spirit and truth that endures forever.”
Cardinal Wuerl concluded his homily by calling on the faithful to share their joy, “what Pope Francis today calls the joy of the Gospel – and our faith in Jesus and his kingdom. As we celebrate the kingship of Christ and recognize how important each one of us is in God’s plan to bring about a world of peace and love, truth and justice, let us simply renew in our hearts the commitment that the Church asks of us: Lord I will do my best to strengthen and renew my faith, so that in lively confidence in your Word, your truth, your kingdom, I can share it with others.”
The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 96 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.
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