November 25, 2012


Good old Lewis Carroll wrote these beautiful verses about the walrus and the carpenter out for a walk and a bite: "The time has come," the Walrus said, "to talk of many things: of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax-- of cabbages--and kings-- and why the sea is boiling hot-- and whether pigs have wings."

The time has come indeed! We’ve been through another year, another cycle … another round of reflections throughout what we call the liturgical year that is about to end. We’ve come full circle, and what we began a year ago is what we are wrapping up today.

The time has come … yes! But the time, too, has come to speak of many things: of shoes and ships, maybe? Of rockets and the ruckus they cause in that tiny piece of territory in the Middle East, perhaps? … Of cabbages and camotes, and genetically modified foods to feed an unsatisfied world?

Why not? Why yes! Even of Kings and despots whose only passport to power is popularity and poise, or servant-leaders who do good unheralded, unannounced, unsung and unappreciated?

I prefer today to speak of the latter – the real leader if ever there was one – the authentic servant who needs to be recognized for who and what he is.

I refer to Christ, the King on whom all three readings today converge!

His Kingship, according to Scriptures, is beyond discussion, beyond compare, beyond doubt. His dominion is an everlasting dominion. Still doubt it? Go, read your history books. Countless leaders have tried to erase him from human memory. Many of them have declared their avowed destiny of removing all traces of the man from Galilee. Go and check once again. Last thing I heard is, to use the words of Billy Gillman, “God’s alive and well.”

“His kingship shall not be destroyed,” so says Daniel the prophet. God is alive and well. “The Lord is King; he is robed in majesty!” (Response).

But we do need to talk about the walrus and the carpenter, too, as recounted by Lewis Carroll. We need to speak about subjects of the King, like us, who are manipulative, abusive, and deceptive. We need to speak about people like us, who behave like despots, not heavenly Kings; people who need to be reminded that they are not the Kings and Queens of the country they serve, or live in … of people who behave like the world is simply their oyster and that they can make use of anyone and anything simply to meet their selfish, earthly and material ends! (Need I remind you that the walrus and the carpenter ate the oysters in cold blood, after leading them to a walk by the beach? Manipulative monsters, they were!)

Yes! We need to speak about the way we treat the King of Kings! We do need to speak about ambitious kings in our midst who disregard the law, who disregard even the divine moral law and behave like the walrus and the carpenter who have no qualms about making lowly critters like oysters suffer and die in their own juices, just to satisfy themselves.

These days, we are worried sick. We are saddened by so many things … the current low-intensity conflict between a nation and a tiny rebel group in that forlorn part of the world so torn by conflict even during biblical times. I am personally saddened that our legislators even act like they are biological experts and moral experts who define human life as not starting during fertilization!

I am saddened by so many equivalents of the walrus and the carpenter who have no qualms at all making use of people and hapless innocents just to advance their political agenda.

I am saddened even by me, who, in all honesty, can also act like the walrus and the carpenter in so many ways. Like all the rest of us. Human. Selfish. Sinful and greedy and ambitious!

Let’s settle the score then! Even the lowly walrus and the humble carpenter can do cruel things. We all can trample on the rights of the oysters below and beneath us.

Today’s feast offers us an antidote. It would do us good to remember that there is someone higher than us, who is above us in every sense of the word. He is King. He is Lord. He is ruler. He is Savior. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is truth. And everyone who belongs to the truth listens to his voice.

The King is alive and well. But it is us oysters, along with the walrus and the carpenter who may have died in our sins and dead set on doing more and more sinful things.

The time has come! Let us give glory and praise to Him forever and ever. God is alive and well!