In 1982 Vice President George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of former Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev. Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest which was carried out by Brezhnev's widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev's wife performed an act of great courage and hope. She reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband's chest. This must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed. There, in that stronghold of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had governed over it all, expressed a hope …..a hope that her husband was wrong. Her action demonstrated a hope that there was another life and that life was with Jesus who died for us on the cross.

Hope means faith in the future. As Brezhnev's wife demonstrated, our greatest source of hope is in Jesus, Christ the King. You know, “King” is a word that, in some ways at odds with our image of Christ. Jesus avoided all earthly power and authority. He was not the kingly type. He never wore a jewel encrusted crown.....only a crown of thorns. He never sat on a golden throne. His throne was the wooden cross. In today's Gospel we see the sharp contrast between Pilate, ruling over the people with total power and Jesus, standing before him, humble and vulnerable. When Pilate asked Him if He was a king, what did He reply? He said “My kingdom does not belong to this world.” So what does this mean for us here today? We recall Jesus' words in Luke-Chapter 17: “The kingdom of God is within you.” Jesus was building His kingdom one heart at a time. We know that the Kingdom of God is accessible to all who follow Christ and make the right choices in life. There are three things that we can do to bring ourselves fully into His kingdom. PRAY.....Spend some time with God daily. And make it time that matters not just a quick afterthought or when you need to ask for something. Give God some “Prime Time”. HEAL....We need to do our part to serve those around us, particularly those who need our help. This is the time of year when people most profoundly feel the pain of poverty and hunger. Let us do our part to alleviate hurt where and to what extent we can. And finally, LOVE & FORGIVENESS.....We seem to talk about this all the time, don't we? Well, there is a reason for that. Jesus tells us to love others as ourselves. Everyone here can think of someone that they need to reconcile to or forgive. No, they are probably not all MAJOR disagreements. Some may actually be quite minor. But little cuts tend to weaken the fabric of our relationships. Of course, the first thing we need to do is to learn to love and forgive ourselves. You would not believe the number of people who have trouble doing that. Often, we are our own worst enemy, aren't we?

So, today as we celebrate this glorious Feast of Christ the King, let us be hopeful and encouraged. Next Sunday marks the beginning of Advent and Christmas is right around the corner. We are going to become very very busy in the next few weeks. Still, let us take time to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and His kingdom. St. Padre Pio used to pray “Lord, I leave my past to your mercy, my present to your love and my future to your providence.” May Christ the King be the king of your hearts past, present and future.