LATEST HOMILY
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King
November 20, 2022  


We have reached the end of the Church’s year. Today is the 34th and last Sunday in ordinary time. Next Sunday begins a new year for the Church and for her children. In fact, this week we complete the three-year cycle of readings from the Old and New Testament. Next Sunday we begin the cycle again. The Church reserves the last Sunday of the Year to celebrate the Solemnity of Christ, King of the Universe. 

Over the past year we have sat here and have heard reflections and homilies based on the sacred scriptures. The one constant theme that ran through the readings and sermons is Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The Church who is our mother and teacher wisely arrange readings from both the Old and New Testaments, showing us that indeed it is Christ who had fulfilled the Old and has made all things new. As the collect of today’s mass proclaims, “Almighty and ever-living God, whose will is to restore all things in  your beloved Son, the King of the Universe…”

Who is the King of Glory; how shall we call him? He is Emmanuel, the promise of ages. Jesus Christ is indeed our king and lord, and there are many titles we address him by, yet today we worship him as king of the universe. The second reading and the gospel offer contrasting images of Christ. St. Paul in his Letter to the Colossians describes a triumphant Christ, the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation...all things were created through him, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers… Certainly this is a description of a most powerful King, yet at the end of the reading we have the image of the blood of his cross, which makes peace. 

It is the cross, which connects Paul’s letter to the gospel today. Jesus hanging between two criminals, being made fun of by the leaders of the people and by one of the criminals, this king of glory is being challenged to prove his worth and demonstrate his kingly power, If you are King of the Jews, save yourself…. Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us. In the midst of suffering and certain death Jesus showed what his kingdom was all about by welcoming a criminal who deserved to die to dwell with him in paradise. 

The kingdom of God finds its greatness in humility, because the kingdom of God is born first within our hearts. Christ must reign in our hearts first before we can ever dream of being with him in paradise. Christ’s kingship begins now here on this earth, in the midst of all the issues of daily living, it is only the beginning, its completeness comes later. As the Church teaches: “Though already present in his Church, Christ’s reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled ‘with power and great glory’ by the King’s return to earth. This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ’s Passover. Until everything is subject to him, ‘until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God.’ [CCC 671] 

In every mass we pray for the coming of the kingdom of God. A kingdom planted initially in our hearts at baptism and that is meant to flourish in our lives preparing for its completeness at Christ’s advent. 

The kingship of Christ is one of service, redemption and love its glory cannot be gain without first going through the cross. Like the good criminal who recognized his sins and in so doing recognized the kingship of Christ, we must follow his example and desire the kingdom that is to come in its fullness. He did not request relief from his cross, nor did Christ seek his own relief. As Jesus told the Pharisees earlier in Luke’s gospel when they questioned him about the advent of the Kingdom of God, Our Lord replied that “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, look, here it is, or there it is. For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” Christ then predicted that he first must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.  For true power comes through redemptive suffering. In his suffering Christ showed that his reign is to bring life, life that will last forever. 

The kingdom we should look for and what the church prays for is beautifully described in today’s preface: 

An eternal and universal Kingdom:

a kingdom of truth and life,

a kingdom of holiness and grace,

a kingdom of justice, love and peace.

May God’s kingdom come on earth and may we be found waiting and watching ready for his advent.”  


 

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Updated: November 21, 2022

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