For much of the past several weeks, the fall foliage has been disappointing in my neck of the woods. Drab, feckless—unfettering premature impressions of decay.
The perfect autumnal display, perhaps, to reflect my mood following the recent election season.
‘Is this really the best we could do?’ I’ve been wondering aloud a lot lately. Partisan divisions, fueled by deeply flawed candidates. Major party platforms that stand in defiant opposition to authentic Gospel values. Incessant rhetoric and vitriol, seeking not so much to shed light as to suck the hope from our hearts.
Measured by our politics, our country may well have earned an autumnal rebuke—any dazzling display of sweetgum, ash and maple foliage withheld for cause.
But then today beauty broke through.
On the way to and from my faith-sharing group this morning, I was twice stopped in my tracks by the saturated hues of trees that had attracted no special interest only a few days before.
And the timing, I realized, was providential: As Church, we are preparing to celebrate the feast of Christ the King.
Christ, the ultimate sovereign. Christ, who demolishes the idols we erect to politics on both sides of the aisle. Christ, who rules our hearts…if we make room in them for Christ the King to come.
This feast is many things, of course—not least among them, an invitation to sweep up and rake out the detritus of a mean-spirited election season. And an invitation, perhaps, to ponder how we each can make the Year of Mercy live on—blazing brilliantly like a late autumn display of maple foliage.
It’s not always in our nature to foster mercy. But in Christ the King, we find the power and strength to make mercy reign. As St. Paul assures us in his letter to the Colossians,
God delivered us from the power of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.