Blog/CYM Blog Arise and Shine (John 18:33B-37) by Tricia Tembreull The decorations are already up in the Malls; the commercials began the day after Halloween, and the radio stations playing continual “holiday” music are in full rotation. All before a single Advent candle is lit or the turkey sliced, let alone consumed. We like to believe that Christ is at the center of our holidays, but the truth is, we are often ruled by our desire for more, for that perfect gift, by the decorations we display for the neighbors to see, and the RSVPs to our Christmas party. Our kingdom belongs more to this world than we want to admit. Today, Pilate is faced with the same question we are faced with: what kingdom do we belong to, the world or the kingdom of God? The crowd and popular opinion controlled Pilate more than the truth. For us, keeping up with “Kardashians” often controls our perceived image, daily decisions, pocketbook and desires. Who or what is ruling our life? This week is the final week of the liturgical year for the Church and this Sunday we celebrated the feast of Christ the King. A king is someone who rules over our lives with truth and justice, who guides our daily decisions, and who creates a kingdom where peace prevails. Christ, our King, with a crown of thorns on his head and shackles around his wrists and ankles lead with simple words of truth, mercy, and love. He never flaunted His power, wisdom, or wealth over anyone. He never condemned or judged without pouring out His mercy in abundance. He fed every soul He encountered spiritually and physically and continues to do so today through the sacraments. During this final week of the liturgical year, prepare yourself for the season of Advent by contemplating who and what rules your life. Pay attention to the things that occupy your attention and pull you further from Christ. Evaluate the relationships that demand your attention and ask yourself if they are helping you build the kingdom of God on earth or if they are rooting you more firmly in the worldly kingdom that’s so prevalent in the culture today. Begin your Advent preparation by meditating on the obedience of St. John the Baptist, St. Joseph, and the Virgin Mary and how they helped prepare the kingdom of heaven on earth. Finally listen to what the world is speaking to you and discern truth through the Scriptures and the living Word of God. “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) Find time to listen to His voice calling you deeply into this season of renewal, simplicity, peace, love, and hope.