If He Is Not Your King…

Over the course of the past few months I have been going in chronological order through the archived sermons of Fr. Patrick Reardon over at Ancient Faith Radio (AFR). The archive, which dates back over a decade, may be the most impressive audio collection of Eastern Orthodox homilies in existence. For though some have not always seen eye-to-eye with Reardon on certain subjects (e.g. the nature of Orthodox theology, liturgics, the role of the Old Testament in the life of the Church, sexual ethics, etc.), no serious person can deny that Reardon is one of the most learned Orthodox churchmen in the West and maybe the most Scripturally sound Eastern cleric in the world.

In a brief 2005 homily, simply entitled “Melchizedek,” Fr. Patrick makes the point that just as Melchizedek’s kingship cannot be separated from his priesthood, neither can Christ’s. And if we, as Christians, will not have the Lord Jesus as our king, neither can we have him as our priest. This is an unsettling lesson for modern man, being that we are so accustomed to rejecting both the need for a mediator and authority. Today, even those of us (Orthodox and Catholic) who are willing to accept the idea of a mediator tend to do so on our own terms; that is, in a largely private and circumscribed manner. Is it any wonder then that we see this play out as well with regard to Christ’s kingship? In the privacy of our homes and the silence of the pew, we may pay private homage to Christ the King, but not in public. In public we live as the world expects. Perhaps we try to be “nicer” than others, or take the Lord’s name in vain a tad bit less, but that is not enough. God does not call men to love and worship Him on their own terms; He calls us to total obedience, even unto death. How quickly we forget that.

If we live our lives as Christians, that is, in obedience to God, we will be rejected by the world. We will not “get along,” either in the workplace or at school or even among friends. This is a a truth that Reardon stresses — a truth most of us would rather not be reminded of. Look today at how Christians, specifically Catholics, are so eager to adopt the garments of capitalism or communism in order to win worldly approval and benefits while paying no mind to the divine teachings entrusted to the Church. See how Catholics chase after secular political leaders to be their kings or queens without paying any mind to Christ. We reject His Kingship and still believe we are entitled to his priesthood. We want His Grace, but not His Law. In the end, we love to be in the world and long to be of it.

2016 Presidential Election

While I harbor no illusions that Opus Publicum, a modest personal web-log authored solely by yours truly, has the power to influence that ghastly spectacle known as the 2016 United States Presidential Race, I wish to make clear that on Tuesday, November 8 I will be writing-in Michael Maturen and Juan Muñoz of the American Solidarity Party (ASP) for the Presidential and Vice-Presidential offices.

This decision is not an endorsement of the ASP as a whole. Although I have written favorably about its platform before, I believe the ASP has significant work left to do, particularly at the national level. However, I cannot in good conscience vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Additionally, I have come to find that many of the other third-party choices available this year are equally unpalatable. It has taken many months of reading, reflection, and internal debate for me to make this choice, and as many know, my initial instinct was to refrain from voting altogether. (This is a position I have defended before.) While I will not begrudge a single soul for opting to conscientiously refrain from participating in our woefully corrupt political system, I believe the time has come for Catholics in particular to look for ways to make the voice of the Church heard once again, even if it must start out as a faint whisper.

To my fellow Catholics, particularly those who do not agree with me, all I can say is please vote your conscience on Tuesday as informed by the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church and her doctrinally sound theological tradition. If you are uncertain about what that means, let me suggest you click over to The Josias and give careful attention to the recent article entitled “Catholics and the Ethics of Voting.”

If possible, make a point to attend Mass tomorrow and implore Almighty God to have mercy upon the United States during this tumultuous period in her relatively brief history. Spend some time with our Eucharistic King in the Tabernacle and find a way to do some small penance for the innumerable officially sanctioned sins committed throughout this country every single day. And above all, do not give into fear. Do not despair, but recall instead one of the opening petitions of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and pray fervently for the peace that can only come from Above and for the salvation of our souls. Господи Помилуй.