Moments

Evergreens for our King

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The story is told about a tourist guide who was busy giving a talk to his group, when suddenly his cell phone rang. His two hands were full, and he could not respond to the call. What he did next was most unexpected: He licked the phone with his tongue to swipe it open, and proceeded to answer the call!

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Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. In today’s Gospel (John 18, 33b-37), Jesus tells us: “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.” Christ is our King, but do we listen to Him? Do we obey Him? The truth of the matter is that our hands are often full, and we are so busy with our own worldly agenda that we hardly listen to and answer our King’s call.

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I am writing this column in South Korea, and one of the highlights of our trip was a visit to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which separates North Korea from South Korea. There is a “no man’s land” on the 38th parallel, which is about four kilometers wide and 250 kilometers long from Kosong to Incheon, and which is uninhabited, closed, and well-guarded. Is there a “no man’s land” in your life, which is not accessible and which is not claimed by Christ, your King?

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In our Stations of the Cross in Naju, South Korea, two of our pilgrims volunteered to go barefoot all the way as part of their penitence and sacrifice. One of them left her shoes at the bottom of the hill, but the other one carried her shoes, just in case she would find it necessary to change her mind and put them on again. The truth of the matter is that we may follow our King, but often with much hesitation, reservation, and conditions.

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All over South Korea these days, one can hear the famous song “Oppa Gangnam Style.” Actually, Gangnam is a district, a street, which is the fashion and financial center of Seoul—a very expensive area. As we follow our King, let us not be distracted by the sights and sounds of this world. Rather, let us stay focused on our Lord and on our mission as servants of Christ the King.

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Please remember that our life on earth is a journey and pilgrimage at the service of Christ our King. Please remember, too, that life is meaningful if we spend it for something or someone greater than ourselves.

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Last Thursday was Thanksgiving Day in America. Beyond the turkey, the pumpkins, and the pies, the essence of Thanksgiving Day is that of gratitude to Almighty God, and gratitude for family and true friends in this life. We have many things to thank God for. We have so many blessings we take for granted, or we are not even aware of. Today let us all whisper a sincere “Thank you, Lord” to Christ our King. Let Thanksgiving Day be not just a day, but an attitude, a frame of mind, for our whole lifetime.

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This time in Korea, the leaves of the trees are almost gone. The colorful autumn leaves have dropped off and winter has set in. Soon, there will be no green trees around, except the evergreens that remain green even in the coldest and gloomiest winter. Why do the evergreens stay green? Because their roots go deep into the earth. What a sight, what an inspiration to see something green in winter! May we all become “evergreens in the Lord,” for Christ the King!

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By the way, there is yet another admirable trait of the evergreens. When spring breaks forth with all the greens and flowers sprouting all around, the evergreens stay humble and quiet in the background, unnoticed and almost forgotten. The evergreens are those who do not and who choose not to “star.” For the evergreens in the Lord, there is only one star, one superstar—Christ, our Lord and King.

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Next Sunday is the beginning of Advent already, and Christmas will be just around the corner. This early, let us make preparations to truly and meaningfully welcome the birth of Christ, our newborn King. Is there something we can do as individuals, as a family, as a community, and as a nation to make Christmas beautiful and meaningful, especially for the poor and the needy, the “little ones” in our midst? Think, pray, listen, and obey the marching orders of Christ the King.

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The bottom line is that when we come face to face with our King, may we be able to tell Him with all humility: “Lord, you know my heart, and you know that I love You!” Yes, let us all try our best to serve Christ our King, especially to love HIM in the least of our brethren. Amen!

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Together with Saint Padre Pio, today we pray: “Lord, I leave my past to Your mercy, my present to Your love, and my future to Your providence.” May Christ our King be the King of our past, present, and future.  May all areas of our lives be subjected to Christ our Lord and King.

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me to become and to stay evergreen for You, my King.  Amen.

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