Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christ the King - homily

Who is the greatest king? We can look back through history to see great kings who have reigned during different genres and times. I’ll throw out a few examples…the King of…Pop (Michael Jackson)! The King of Swat (Babe Ruth). Of course, the King, himself (Elvis Presley). Even fast food has a king- Burger King! This one might reign supreme because I was reading an article that said the average American purchases fast food sixteen days a month. Home of the Whopper! Anyway, in the United States, we have unofficial kings; other countries have official kings who we read about and have studied.

When does Christ become a king? It’s not at birth – he is born in a stable, in a manger. He’s not a king growing up – he lives a very poor life. It’s not until his final hours that he is treated as a king; and this was done in mocking fashion. He is sarcastically called, “King of the Jews”. His throne is a cross. His crown is made out of thorns. And yet, this is where Christ actually begins his kingship. St Paul reminds us that is through the “blood of the cross” that Christ brings about our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins, thus making him our King.

When we are talking about kings, we are talking about power. If we add up all of the power of all of the kings who have ever lived – official and unofficial – it still doesn’t add up to the power of Christ. No king has the power Christ has: power over death. Power over sin. He is King of the Universe, King of the living and the dead. He is the King of Kings. He has power over all things. He uses his power for us, not against us.

An example of this is from today’s Gospel. While the soldiers and religious leaders are mocking Jesus, they are acknowledging his power. They say to him three times, “save yourself”. These are similar to the three temptations of Satan in the desert. Jesus can save himself in the blink of an eye. But, he uses his power to save us, not himself.

Is Christ the king of our lives? Is there another person or thing who has power over or against us? For our young people, it might be popularity or acceptance. For the adults, it could be success or wealth. For all of us, it might be a bad habit that actually controls us. These things have power against us. Christ’s power is for us. We truly share in his power and kingship. In fact, anyone who is baptized in Christ is baptized as a king.

How do we approach Christ as King? Do we reject and mock him as king like the soldiers and Jewish leaders did? Or, do we believe in him as our king like the criminal next to him who said, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom”. If we show that same faith in Christ as our king, we will ultimately hear the same words from our Lord: “Today you will be with me in paradise”. This is a promise that he gives to no one else in the Gospel – not to any of the Apostles or disciples…not even his mother!

We hear almost the same thing from Christ in John 6:53 about the Eucharist. He says, “whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life”. As we receive our King today in Holy Communion – and those who receive in the hand are to make a throne for our king – let us hear him say to our hearts what he said to the criminal next to him: “today you will be with me in paradise”.

6 Comments:

At 11:04 AM, Blogger fran said...

For Kelly -

This is a reflection from the booklet "This Child - Words Of St. Therese Of Lisieux With Reflections and Prayers" I hope you will find some comfort in them.

Therese of Lisieux

Child, you told us with your life
That every human life
Can have holiness of purpose.
Each surrender to love,
However small or isolated
However poorly understood
However surrounded by failure,
Is a precious exchange with God.

 
At 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FM said something in his homily this weekend that I questioned. Maybe I didn't hear him correctly, but I thought he said that God is not where sin is. How can that be? Where does He go? If I sin, does that mean I am without God? Our world (my world) is full of sin, but God is very much present in my world.

 
At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all have roles we take on in our own lives. We also have many others in our lives doing the same. For a variety of reasons, sometimes we don't allow others to assume the roles they would like to play in our lives.

Perhaps we don't allow our parents to parent us any longer, or a student is disrespectful in class and disrupts the teaching process. Maybe we refuse the sacraments thus disallowing our pastor(s) to minister to us fully. Maybe we push away those who would otherwise be there for love and support.

Christ will be as present in my life as I allow him to be. He is only my king if I chose Him as king. For me, the fact that I want Him as my king requires that I do work in my life.

 
At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

How can that be? Where does He go?

Sin can be thought of as what is missing from our actions that would make them good. But something that is missing doesn't actually exist.

From this point of view, God is not where sin is because sin is, literally, nowhere. The effects of sin, however, are everywhere in our world.

(I didn't hear FM's homily, but from this may have been the sort of thing he had in mind.)

If I sin, does that mean I am without God?

The first part of the First Letter of John (1 John 1:5-2:6) deals with exactly this question. Specifically, 1 John 1:8-9 says,

"If we say, 'We are without sin,' we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing."

We remain with God when we commit venial sins. Mortal sin, however, "destroys charity in the heart" and "turns man away from God," as the Catechism puts it.

 
At 9:06 PM, Anonymous kelly said...

Fran,

Okay, your post is making me cry. Thank you so much. I spoke with my son's school counselor today. He told me that he is a christian. He quoted scripture to me and stayed with me on the phone for over one hour. We did not talk about Kevin. He talked to me about God and trials. He told me that I had strong faith and he said that God will help to me to face what is ahead. HE told me that he could get fired for talking to me about a spiritual matter? ISn't that sad?
He said God would send people to help me along the way. You are one of those people. I have read your posts and you have so much wisdom.

Thank you so much for reaching out to me, Fran.

 
At 9:45 PM, Blogger fran said...

"...God is not where sin is."

I am thinking along these lines -
Sin is the absence of love, and since God is only love He cannot be where there is sin. God is always with us, but it is we who distance ourselves from Him and from His love, when we sin.

 

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