November 20, 2016
Christ the King
Sun 8 & 10
2 Samuel 5:1-3; Colossians 1:12-20; Luke 23:35-43
The Church year closes this Sunday with the Solemnity of “Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe”. That sounds like He’s some kind of super hero “King of the Universe”. But the fact is that Jesus Christ is Hero of all heroes and King of all kings, on this earth and in all of creation, past present and future. And that is what we are celebrating today which puts a nice bow on all that we have celebrated in Christ throughout the Liturgical Year.
This feast was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 to combat the growing secularism (taking God out of everything) and atheism (denial of the existence of God) of his time. Do you think we need to proclaim Christ as King in our time today among the secularism and atheism of our day? Even more now, right!
The Church teaches that “Christ’s lordship extends over all human history” (CCC 450) and that “He reigns above every earthly power and principality” (CCC 668). In other words He reigns supreme…In the 2nd reading from Colossians we hear the beautiful Christological hymn that proclaims this about our King, “For in Him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers…He is before all things…in all things He Himself is preeminent.” Jesus Christ the King reigns above all things visible and invisible, past present and future.
But this 2nd reading leads us into the perplexing Gospel passage we heard today about the cross of Christ. The last verse from Colossians said, “For in Him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile all things for Him, making peace by the blood of His cross.” And the Gospel is about Jesus nailed to the cross between two criminals. Why would the Church choose this Gospel on the feast of Christ the King of the Universe, Jesus hanging on the cross which seems like defeat?!! This is a paradox, something that does not make sense but is true. This feast fixes Christ’s messianic Kingship squarely in the mystery of the cross. It does not make sense to the world. But to us who believe with the eyes of faith it makes perfect sense that our salvation is won by having our King die a horrible, humiliating death. Because in a sense His throne is the cross…A throne of a king is always stationed high above the people where he looks down on his subjects. Jesus’ throne of the cross was high on the hill of Calvary where He looked down on all the people. He shows His Kingship from the throne of His cross by the authority to pardon the criminal that asked to be pardoned and by granting him salvation (only the King of kings can do that). And as the criminal did we can also approach the throne of Christ the King and asked to be pardoned. It is at the cross of Christ where we receive mercy.
In the first reading we hear about King David who was a type of Christ, who was a foreshadow of the coming Messiah. David was the prelude of what Jesus was to fulfill. The reading said about David, “The Lord said to you, You shall shepherd my people Israel and shall be commander of Israel.” As David was shepherd of his people Israel, Jesus is the Good Shepherd of all people. As David was commander of his army, Jesus is commander of His army of saints…David slew the giant with an unlikely weapon - a sling shot & a pebble, Jesus slew the devil, sin & death with an unlikely weapon – the wood of the cross…David was anointed king of Israel, Jesus is the anointed one, the Christ…David was the model king of Israel. Jesus is the King of all kings.
But the real question is, the most important thing is, is Jesus Christ - King of your heart, of your life, of your family, of your parish community? A good king reigns and has authority, is looked to for guidance and protection, is adored and reverenced, is obeyed. Is Jesus your King? Do you obey Him, give Him authority over your life, look to Him to guide you, do you reverence and worship Him, is He your top priority? Or is He just a nice idea, on the back burner, a second or third thought, one you look to when you need Him? If He is the King of your heart and your life people will know it. They will know it because you will imitate Jesus in compassion, in selflessness and in sacrificial love. You will take up your cross like Him, giving of yourself by sharing your time, your talent and your treasure for the good of the other and for the good of the Kingdom. Like Him you will offer pardon and mercy even when it does not make sense. Your life will be a paradox. People will know He is your King by your words and by your deeds. Jesus wants to be King of your life, King of your family, and King of this parish community. But it is up to us to allow Him to be.
When you allow Him to be your King in a personal, intimate relationship, then you can truly trust in Him. He is on the throne and in charge of all things. Our God is as they say is, “large and in charge”. So when troubles arise, problems occur, when worries are on your mind, give them to your King who has the authority and the power to handle them. If He sits on the throne of your heart than give everything to Him to take care of. And He will…But sometimes we do not trust in Him. We don’t fully believe in His power or how big our God is. Sometimes we give Him our cares then we take them back. There is a song by a young Christian singer named Natalie Grant that illustrates this very well. The lyrics are:
“I tried to fit you in the walls inside my mind
I try to keep you safely in between the lines
I try to put you in the box that I've designed
I try to pull you down so we are eye to eye
When did I forget that you've always been the king of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the king of the world
How could I make you so small
When you're the one who holds it all
When did I forget that you've always been the king of the world.”
If Jesus is your King, trust in Him and believe He has the power and the authority to handle all your cares. He is still on the throne. He’s got this!
And as followers, as disciples of the King, it is our mission as the Church to proclaim Christ as King in a world that does not recognize Him. We must proclaim Him in a world where secularism is the norm. Where God is taken out of the schools, the courtrooms and the public square. Where freedom of religion is getting less and less. In a world where more and more people, especially young people are denying that God even exists. By our baptism, powered by the sacraments of grace, we are to proclaim Jesus as King by the way we live our lives, starting in our homes, then our parish, then the community.
And let our prayer be of thanksgiving for our King in the words of St. Paul from today’s 2nd reading, “Let us give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son.”
In the words of the Mexican Cristeros, “Viva Crist Rey!” Long live Christ the King!