Fr. Jolly’s Homily for Sunday, November 25, 2018

Christ the King-34th Sunday-B

According to the secular calendar, the year begins by January and ends by December. But according to the Liturgical year, the year ends by November. This Sunday, at the end of Church’s liturgical year, the readings describe what happens at the end of the world. At the end of the world, Christ Jesus will be victorious and he will be enthroned as the king of the universe in all his glory. That’s why today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King!

The Biblical foundation of this fest: A) Old Testament texts: The title “Christ the King” has its roots both in Scripture and in the whole theology of the Kingdom of God. In most of the messianic prophecies given in the Old Testament books of Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel, Christ the Messiah is represented as a king. B) New Testament texts: a) During the Annunciation, recorded in Lk 123-33, Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,* and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” “The Magi from the Far East came to Jerusalem and asked the question: (Mt. 2:2) “Where is the baby born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star… and we have come to worship him.” In fact, the Kingdom of God is the center of Jesus’ teaching and the phrase “kingdom of God” occurs in the Gospels 122 times, of which 90 instances are uses by Jesus. b) c) During the royal reception given to Jesus on Palm Sunday, the Jews shouted: (Lk.19: 38) They proclaimed: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.” d) During the trial of Jesus described in today’s Gospel, Pilate asked the question: (Jn.18: 33): “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied: “You say that I am a king. I was born and came into this world for this one purpose, to bear witness to the Truth.” e) The signboard hung over Jesus’ head on the cross read: Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum‘ meaning ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews’. f) Before his ascension into heaven, Jesus declared: (Mt. 28:18): “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.” g) Finally, in Matthew 25:31, we read that Christ the King will come in glory to judge the living and the dead on the day of the Last Judgment.

The Feast of Christ the King, is a very new feast added to the church calendar. It was added by Pope Pius XI in 1925. He created this feast as a reaction against the predominant attitudes of his day – a way to refute the growing threats of communism and secularism. Two “isms” that sought to make man, not God, the most powerful force in the world. Within a few years, of course, the world would have another “ism” to confront, totalitarianism – making this feast even more significant. Lately this feat is even more relevant with the arrival of more “isms” like materialism, relativism, modernism, sexism and terrorism.    And it stands before us as a challenge. This feast is asking the fundamental question “Who – or WHAT — really rules our lives, our families, community and society? That’s a question we could spend all of our lives asking ourselves, and praying over. This kingdom that Jesus speaks about doesn’t have a palace or a court. It isn’t a place of royal fanfare. It isn’t even found on a map. It is a kingdom that dwells within the human heart, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace. Jesus asked Pilate do you ask this on your own or did others tell you about me?” (v 34). God’s kingdom does not use intimidation or compulsion, it is not imposed.”  Rev 3:20 says “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. Jesus is the most wonderful gentleman! He never intrudes into our privacy. He always respect our freedom. He will never take over unless you invite him. That’s why St. Thomas Aquinas said “He who created you without your permission, cannot save you without yourpermission. On this feast of Christ the King let’s evaluate our commitment to Christ the King! Let us remember the truth that he is not our King if we do not listen to him, love him, serve him, and follow him. We belong to his Kingdom only when we try to walk with him, when we try to live our lives fully in the spirit of the Gospel, and when that Gospel spirit penetrates every facet of our living. If Christ is really King of my life, he must be King of every part of my life, and I must let him reign in all parts of my life. We become Christ the King’s subjects when we sincerely respond to his loving invitation: let’s give control of our life to Christ the King prayingThy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Christ the King has two crowns. First the crown of thorns and then the crown of glory. We need to remember the crown of glory comes only when we are willing to wear the crown of thorns! Glory is the result of suffering and being faithful to God!