Saturday, November 19, 2016

Solemnity of Christ the King Cycle C

Welcome to read homilies for the Sundays of the year. These are sample homilies which you can read with devotion. You may use them in your own homilies without asking my permission. You may also change or edit these to fit them to your audience. A unique quality of these homilies is that they are Christ-filled. From beginning to end they present to us some aspect of Jesus so that beholding his glory we “are being transformed from glory to glory into his very image” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NAB).

What Most World Leaders Do Not Know

Today on our planet earth there are 29 persons who are called kings or queens and there are 153 persons who are called presidents. That is according to sources in the Internet. They are the world leaders of their respective nations. They got to that position either by heredity as in kings or by the will of the people through election.

What most of them do not know is that ultimately it is not by heredity or election that they got into their present position. Ultimately they got there because it was so willed by a person whom Scripture describes as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

And today our Church celebrates the feast of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Our first reading is about the anointing of David as king of the Israelites. Before this anointing he was already the king of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, but he was not yet king of the 10 other tribes of Israel. By being anointed king of Israel he became the king of all the tribes of Israel. This prefigured Jesus as the king of all the Jews.

In our second reading St. Paul tells us that we are already in God's kingdom because "He (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."

And the Gospel relates to us the story of how the penitent thief acknowledged Jesus as king by his request, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

The phrase "king of kings" is used in the Bible 6 times. The first 3 times this was used was in reference to Artaxerxes or Nebuchadnezzar who claimed that they were kings over other kings during their time, the kings whom they conquered. The fourth time it was used was in reference to God the Father in the first letter of St. Paul to Timothy (6:15). And the last two times this was used in the Bible were in reference to Jesus Christ, both in the book of Revelation.

Indeed Jesus is the King of Kings. He is the one who allows the kings to be kings and the presidents to be leaders of their respective nations.

Today let me share with you some contrasts between the kings and presidents of the world with Jesus our King. Most of them do not also know this contrast.

Unlike the other kings and presidents our King is a servant and performs the role of a servant. He himself said, "I am in your midst as the one who serves you." Jesus himself made this contrast. He said that earthly kings lord it over their people but he serves his people. (Luke 22:25-27)

Secondly, Jesus is the only king who gives his Spirit as a gift to his subjects so that they can think, talk, and act like him. And he gives this Spirit as a gift to those who believe in him. Peter told his hearers during Pentecost day that this Spirit is God's gift to us. (Acts 2:38). The other kings can give their subjects lands, material goods, honors and special places of authority but Jesus gives his Spirit so that both he and his subjects will always be in harmony with each other.

Thirdly, Jesus is the only king who desires a personal relationship with his subjects. He treats each subject as though he or she were the only person in the world. He calls his subjects friends (John 15:15). Other kings calls their subjects their servants and do not care about developing a personal relationship with all their subjects. But Jesus does everything to develop this personal relationship with each one of his subjects.

Fourthly, the other kings are kings only of their nation or country or empire. Jesus is the king of all creation, of the whole universe. That is why he is called king of the universe.

Fifthly, the other kings bequeath their kingship to others when they die. Jesus does not bequeath his kingship to anybody. He is king for all time and beyond time. 

Sixthly, other kings and presidents make laws and add one law upon another to be obeyed by their subjects for the effective governance of their kingdom or republic. Jesus does not multiply laws. Instead he reduced all laws into two for the effective governance of his kingdom, love of God and love of neighbor. He said, "On these two commandments the whole law is based, and the prophets as well" (Matthew 22:40).

Seventh, Jesus is the only king with whom his subjects can communicate anytime. There is no need of any intermediary. There is no set time for an appointment with him. Other kings schedule audiences with their subjects. With Jesus no such schedule is necessary. We come into his presence anytime we want, day or night, for one minute or for one hour or for any other length of time.

Eighthly, Jesus is the only king who is concerned with the most basic need of his subjects. When he taught them how to pray he told them to pray for their daily bread. Other kings presume that their subjects have something to eat. Jesus does not presume. He tells them to ask for this bread. And he gives them himself as bread in the Eucharist. Other kings cannot give themselves as food to their subjects.

Jesus is the only king who bought all his human subjects with his blood, cleansing them from all iniquities, anything that can make them dirty in God's sight. Other kings force the subjects of other kingdoms to be their subjects. Jesus does not force. He buys them with his blood and invites them to enter his kingdom. This is the ninth contrast between Jesus and all the other kings and presidents.

We can go one making additional contrasts but these are the ones that come to my mind now.

Only an unreasonable person will not opt to have Jesus as his king with all these characteristics of Jesus as king. Jesus as king serves us. Jesus as king gives us his own Spirit. He desires a personal relationship with us as if we were the only person in the world. He is king of all creation, enabling it to exist and maintaining it for us. He is our king now and he will still be our king after we leave this planet Earth. He is the king who made it simple and easy for us by giving us only two laws to follow, love God and love our neighbor. He is the only king with whom we can converse personally anytime. No need to use a cellphone. He provides for our basic needs like food on our table. He bought us with his blood and cleans us everyday so that we appear beautiful before God. What more can we ask of our King?

Only an unreasonable person will not opt to have Jesus as his or her king with all these characteristics of Jesus as king.

For our prayer we use the prayer in the Morning Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours. We bow our heads in prayer.

Almighty and merciful God, you break the power of evil and make all things new in your Son Jesus Christ, the king of the universe. May all in heaven and earth proclaim your glory and never cease to praise you. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Note for the readers:

The Mass readings are from the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE). This is where our Lectionary gets the readings.

NAB stands for New American Bible (before it was revised). This is the translation I use. Unless otherwise stated the text I use is from this translation.

AV stands for Authorized Version of the Bible. It is more commonly referred to as the King James Bible. It is the version most used in English literature, therefore it is the one known more by the English speaking world.

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