In this ongoing drama, Christ himself plays a part. However, He doesn't necessarily take the leading role, where we would all easily recognize that it is He. Instead, Christ will play the part of the beggar, the one who is hungry, the sick person and even the criminal. He knows His part very well, not because He has studied human nature and learnt His lines well. Instead, when He comes to us as the hungry, the sick, the imprisoned man, Christ has allowed himself to be cast, not into the role, but to be cast into the real cruelty and injustice of this world to the point where He truly is hungry, He thirsts, He is crucified by this world.
Christ does this, not as the CEO of humanity, or like some undercover boss looking for ways to improve the effectiveness and quality of His enterprise. Instead, Christ walks gently among us, connecting us with each other, showing us how to live together, work together, pray together, showing us how to take responsibility for each other, as a family should. And before He will even attempt to lead us in the right direction, the first thing He does is offer healing for the injured and the sick. To get the flock through the winter, the shepherd has to make sure we are strong enough. For this reason Christ the Good Shepherd offers healing of our souls through the Sacrament of Confession and strengthens us in our resolve by the Sacrament of own His Body and Blood in the Mass – the medicine of immortality.
This is how we allow Him to reign over us, not afraid of His influence over us. For Christ to reign in our minds, it is important that we think with the Church, that we know the teachings Christ has given to her. For Him to reign in our hearts, our desires must always be purified by His grace, that our disordered cravings and wants are disciplined and held in check. For Christ to reign in our bodies, that we allow His grace to literally move us – using our strength, our efforts and abilities to secure shelter for the homeless, comfort for the sick and hope for those imprisoned by the cruelties of this world.
Yes, all things are passing - a time when all things will come to a conclusion and Christ will step out of the shadows and reveal himself in glory. Until that time, let the prayer of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, the great nineteenth century convert and priest, guide us gently through the changing scenes and season:
“O Lord support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then Lord, in your mercy, grant us safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last.”