Sunday, November 26, 2006

Christ the King

I was on the Internet the other day, looking up Forbes magazine’s list of the “Richest People in the World”, specifically the wealthiest kings, princes, queens, and rulers. It was pretty interesting. Like, the prince of Saudi Arabia – he’s worth about $ 24 billion! I had to think about that for a few minutes. That’s 24,000 million dollars!! He has a 317 room palace that cost $135 million to build. It’s 400,000 square feet (which is probably about 100 times the size of our Church). He has eight elevators and 500 television sets. I think the guy has some money!

Also, it’s interesting to study rulers over the centuries and see how they have accumulated power. They have the ability to rule, many times by force because of their large armies. They amass large followings of people in building up their earthly kingdoms. Kings, queens, prime ministers, emperors, presidents, etc. are seen as the people who have the most because of all of the wealth, power, and prestige they have.

Now, we compare all of this to our King. In earthly terms, Jesus doesn’t look much like a king. He would be at the bottom of the Forbes’ “richest” list. His throne? It’s a tree… the Cross. His crown? It’s made out thorns. His army? It’s twelve weak and uneducated men. How, then, is he “the ruler of the kings of the earth”, as we hear in the second reading, the Book of Revelation, chapter one? Christ says in the Gospel that his kingdom does not belong to this world. “His dominion is an everlasting dominion”, the Book of Daniel tells us in the first reading. Christ’s kingdom is infinite; all earthly kingdoms are finite. Christ is not just King; he is the King of Kings.

If we added up all of the money, power, and prestige of the all the kings, queens, and rulers that have ever lived, they would only be a fraction of what Christ has. Their power is limited; his is unlimited. Christ brought the everlasting kingdom of God to Earth. How many kings and rulers have risen from the dead? None. Christ has. How many of them have the power to heal a soul? Christ does. How many of them have brought about the forgiveness of sins in the name of God? Christ brings the forgiveness of sins.

The main difference is that Christ’s kingdom is a kingdom of love. We are his servants, but we are also heirs to his throne. He calls each of us to share in his kingdom of love. He calls us to share in his power over death: he calls us to share in his resurrection. He calls us to share in his healing power. He calls us to share in the forgiveness of sins. We are called to share in his kingdom! When each of us was baptized, we were anointed priest, prophet, and king, just like he was.

Let’s say we are invited to the home of one of the kings or rulers for dinner. Actually, let’s keep it a little more close to home, and say we are invited to dinner at the White House. How would we approach that experience? Would we even think about arriving late? Would we leave early? Like, as soon as we finished the meal, we are out the door. So, compare that experience to coming to the meal at the home of the King of Kings, and ask the same questions.

Christ is not just the host, he is the food. He gives us his flesh to eat and his blood to drink. In a very real way, then, we will receive his kingdom in our bodies and souls in a few minutes! As with any food, it takes 10-15 minutes for the Eucharist to digest in our bodies. We should treat that time with great respect and reverence. We have his love inside us in a very real way, then. He has such great love for each of us, and wants us to share in his kingdom of love. As you receive the Eucharist, may you know his love this day.


At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fr Greg,
I like how you compared mass with going to the White House... it definitly made me think about that.

At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was sitting outside of a church watching people go to Mass very late. I think it is something that should be told to the congregation that by coming late is disrespecting Jesus.

At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On another note, how does one tell a non-Christian that they can not recieve the body of Christ? My sister- in -law (non-Christian)
really wants to accompany me to Midnight Mass because she has heard from me and other Catholics how beautiful it is. I have no problem with her watching, listening, singing etc but I know she will go up and recieve the Eucharist. My brother and I have tried to explain it to her why she can't but she is determined to recieve it anyway. Should I just skip the Mass? This is one of the few Masses that my husband attends and we have had a tradition since we were married to go together. Any ideas anyone?

At 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We should also remember that sometimes people are late to mass or leave early because of things beyond thier control, granted some make a habit of it, but not everyone does.

People even left after the Eucharist even after Fr. gave his homily. . . I think you have a long struggle ahead of you Fr. if you are going to combat this problem.

At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Late to arrive, early to leave! There are people with legitimate reasons but not most. My brother tries to get to Mass with 3 children under four-the eldest with Downs Syndrome and not potty trained. I teased him about it once, and it crushed him. His wife also has a chronic autoimmune disorder. How very uncharitable of me, his own sister. It takes every thing they have to get to Mass. So I try not to be as judgemental.

I still think it that the priests should kindly ask parishioners not to leave until the processional has exited. That really upsets me because it seems very disrespectful.

At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Kat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"On another note, how does one tell a non-Christian that they can not recieve the body of Christ?"

Problem solved! She is not coming until after Christmas.


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