By: Paul Murano – Nov. 2016
I am writing this one week before the presidential election. As of this writing, you know who the president elect is, but I do not. I do this deliberately. The time for persuasion and voting is over, at least for another four years; and regardless of who won, it is time to let go and let God, and to rejoice in the deeper reality that is ours: We do not merely live in a democracy; we live in a kingdom.
Yes, America is a representative democracy; however, more importantly is the underlying truth that America and every nation on earth make up a kingdom. This kingdom is not temporary and tenuous like earthly governments, but permanent and forever. It is not governed by flawed men as are all earthly realms, but rather by the perfect goodness and benevolence of the King. Recognizing this makes the results of our presidential election bearable, and our lives hopeful.
The point I am making is not political, but theological. Earthly powers come and go, always tainted with corruption and self-interest. Yet, as Thomas Aquinas taught, all creation is under the governance of justice and truth characterized by the eternal law of love. Creation is governed by its Creator, whose essence is Love (1 Jn 4:8). No matter what we do here on earth with our various forms of governance, the Kingdom of God is present, and its reign continues into eternity.
In the beginning when mankind’s first representatives rejected God’s reign in the Garden, power was given over to the evil serpent to fill the void. The devil had free reign over the earth. To offer man a second chance, the King of the universe took on a human nature in the Incarnation to stamp out the power of the serpent, something the first Adam should have done. When He began His reign, Christ the King proclaimed to the world, “The Kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the good news!” (Mk 1:15).
What is this good news? That God exists, that He has not forgotten us, that He is infinite Love, and will temper justice with His mercy to reestablish His kingdom. In John’s gospel Christ proclaimed, “The ruler of this world…has no power over me” (Jn 14:30). He assures us, “I have conquered the world” (Jn 16:33), and invites all people of every race, nation, and era to follow Him in this victory: “If you remain in my word you will be my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32). Yet, as he said to Pontius Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn 18:36). It is in the world but not of the world. This is the essence of our hope: Christ reminds humanity that God’s kingship, which was lost for countless centuries due to man’s rejection in original sin, is now re-established over the human race. No longer must we be slaves to our fears, vices, and addictions; nor to hatred, envy, or greed. No, God’s reign frees us from all that, leaving no need for denial.
For the time being, however, His kingdom exists concurrently with the temporal kingdoms of the world. While our culture at large behaves like a stubborn adolescent in denial foolishly declaring independence from God, we now have a choice between life and death, truth and falsehood, love and hate which masquerades as love by “tolerating” evil. Christ the King declared, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice” (Jn 18:37). Yet, we deny the truth about ourselves because it might mean self-sacrifice. We embrace a culture of death because we reject the natural order of sexual love – which is marriage, sexual intimacy, and babies in that order – three elements of an integral whole not to be separated or impeded. We hold grudges and condemn individuals rather than love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Mt 5:44). We ignore the poor and vulnerable, we abort one-third of our children before birth, we pretend that sodomitic couplings are marriage, and we insist on using each other as objects – as long as there is ‘consent’. The reign of Satan is going wild because he knows his time is running out.
Yet, we cannot lose hope and must persevere, witnessing to the Truth in love. The King counsels, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna” (Mt 10:28). Indeed, despite the spirit of this election cycle and its results, we cannot forget that the King of heaven seeks to heal our wounds, elevate our lives, and offer us unimaginable happiness that is everlasting. Christ the King, who is omniscient and omnipotent, will at the perfect time bring about the fullness of what has already begun, when St. John’s vision comes to complete fruition:
“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race…He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away…The one who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new’” (Rev 21:4-5).