“Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37).
This past week, we celebrated Thanksgiving in the United States. It is a time for family to gather over a meal and give thanks to God for His many blessings. I don’t know exactly why, but I was not truly at peace; nothing specific, just a feeling of disquiet. Such feelings are difficult to contain and I am sorry to say that I was probably not the best company to my family. I wondered where the feeling came from. So I took it to prayer.
On Friday, I went to the movies to watch the Life of Pi with my wife, daughter and sister. All I will say about the movie, so as not to spoil it for you, is that a young boy loses his entire family in a tragic accident. God can use even Hollywood movies to answer prayers!
There I was watching this movie when I realized that one very important element was lacking this Thanksgiving… my gratitude for all God has given me; especially a sense of gratitude for my family. Of course, in my mind, I was thankful. The thought had certainly arisen during the week; but not the deep, heartfelt thankfulness and joy that comes from deep within.
And since the family is an earthly image of the life of the Blessed Trinity, I realized that I also lacked the depth of thankfulness that is owed to God the Father, His Son and His Holy Spirit.
How can this be when all that we have and all that we can become comes from Him? As is too often the case, the “busy-ness” of daily life is allowed to intrude. Now that is not an excuse, for we can control such distractions if we choose to do so. I don’t mean that the distractions can be made to disappear, but if we follow Christ and by the gift of faith surrender our will to His, the effect of these detractions can be lessened. In time, through the practice of detachment and by His grace, we will hear His voice through the noise around us and we will listen to it.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus teaches us a great truth.
“So Pilate said to him, ‘Then you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say I am a king. 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’” (John 18:37).
We need to remember who we are and why we are here. We do not belong to any earthly powers; we belong to the Kingdom of God and Jesus our King. This is the truth for which Truth Himself came into the world to testify. If we are not at peace in our human relations, we are not at peace with our God.
God is… this is the greatest Truth and all our feeble efforts to do good find strength only in Him. It is to Him that we must look to make right the wrongs in our lives, especially our own weakness. St. John wrote powerfully in today’s second reading.
“Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.
“Behold, he is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. All the peoples of the earth will lament him. Yes. Amen.
“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty’” (Revelation 1:5-8).
I know one thing… I love my God and I love my family. Never do I want to take them for granted. It is good to hear His voice remind me of all I have to be thankful for.
So on this Solemnity of Christ the King, I offer my thanksgiving to God for these blessings and pray that each of us may discover anew all that we have to be thankful for and be found to belong to the Truth and listen to His voice… now and forever. Amen!
Into the deep…
Into the Deep by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is a regular feature of the The Integrated Catholic Life™ and appears each Sunday.
Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is the Editor in chief and co-founder of the The Integrated Catholic Life™. A Catholic Deacon of the Roman Rite for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Deacon Bickerstaff is assigned to St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church where he is the Director of Adult Education and Evangelization.
He is a co-founder of the successful annual Atlanta Catholic Business Conference; the Chaplain of the Atlanta Chapter of the Woodstock Theological Center’s Business Conference; and Chaplains to the St. Peter Chanel Business Association and co-founder of the Marriages Are Covenants Ministry, both of which serve as models for similar parish-based ministries.
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