HOMILY FOR THE THIRTY-FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A.
SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING.
HOMILY THEME: HE IS ALL AND IN ALL
BY: Fr. Gerald M. Musa
_____________________________________These days, the concept of kings and kingdoms is not as popular as it used to be in years past. Only a few monarchical kingdoms are still surviving. Perhaps one of the most common ways we come across Kings and Queens is when we play the game of Cards or when we play the game of Chess. When we read the books of history we come across many Kings and world leaders who greatly influenced the lives of people: Queen Amina of Zaria, King Jaja of Opobo, Shaka Zulu, Mansa Kankan Musa, Augustus Caesar, Alexander the great, Napoleon Bonaparte, Abraham Lincoln, etc. However, through history we come to understand that Kingdoms come and go, and so do great Kings, Queens and Presidents, but the kingdom of Christ is that which will not pass away. The prophet Daniel saw this everlasting kingdom in a vision: His dominion is xan everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed (Daniel 7:14). The celebration of Christ the King, which comes up towards the end of every year emphasises the role of Christ as king of all creation. St. Paul states:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 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; all things were created through him and for him.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. (cf. Colossians 1:12-20).
The Celebration of Christ the King also is a joyful anticipation of the second coming of Christ. The Gospel of Matthew speaks about Christ’s second coming in glory, when he will separate good from evil and establish a perfect kingdom (Matthew 25:31-46).
Pope Pius XI introduced the Solemnity of Christ the Universal King in 1925 as a way of responding to political leaders who wielded absolute power and who relegated God to the backseat. The modern totalitarian governments – particularly communist governments removed God out of public space and enthroned themselves as the absolute powers in control of the lives of citizens.
A NEW WAY OF BEING KING
There are remarkable features of the kingship of Christ. First of all Jesus acknowledges before Pilate that he is a king: When Pilate said: “You are a king, then!” Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (John 18:37) But he emphatically makes it clear that he is setting up a different kind of kingdom: “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here” (John 18:36). Earlier on, he had rejected being made a king according to the standard of the world: Jesus, aware that they meant to come and seize Him to proclaim Him king, withdrew again to the hills by Himself” (John 6:15).
In fact, the book of Samuel sets the stage for the new style of kingship. The people of Israel came to David and said to him: “Here we are, your bone and your flesh” (2 Samuel 5:1). They considered King David as one of them and not someone different. For the same reason, the new King Jesus has to be human so that human beings can relate easily with him. He was not different because he was “in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters” (Hebrew 2:17).
Famous kings of the world rode on special horses, but here was a king who chose to ride on a common donkey, which he borrowed. Famous kings boasted about their army battalions but Jesus on his part chose a small ‘army’ who had no weapons of war but simply the power of the Holy Spirit. The kings of the world wore crowns of gold, but Jesus accepted the crown of thorns.
Powerful kings sat on powerful thrones but for Jesus, his throne was the cross from where his work was accomplished. One would expect that at the burial of the King of Kings all the people who matter will be there, but in his case only his mother, his disciple John and a few loyalists were present, perhaps only about five to ten people. Today, many people struggle to gain power in order to oppress and dominate, but Jesus shows us that the best way to use power is to be at the service of others. The power he wielded was therefore not a domineering power but rather a compassionate power through which he raised the lowly and gently called sinners to repentance. The Prophet Ezekiel prophesied the role of Jesus when he said: He is the Shepherd- leader who will search for the lost sheep, rescue the sheep from danger, he will make the sheep to lie down and rest, he will bind up the crippled, he will strengthen the weak and fill them with justice (cf. Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17). This is a new way of being king in a world that is full of power-drunk bosses.
CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM
To acknowledge Christ as king is to proclaim oneself as a child of his kingdom. The scripture defines the kingdom of God as the reign of ‘righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans14: 17). William Carey, a shoe cobbler, was accused of neglecting his business because of his evangelisation efforts. He responded: “Neglecting my business? My business is to extend the Kingdom of God. I only cobble shoes to pay expenses.” The response of Carey shows that it is the duty of all children of the Kingdom to build the kingdom of justice, love and peace where “God may be all and in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28).
We could deduce the following salient points from the celebration of Christ the Universal King: That Christ is the king of the world and not Satan (whose name seems to be more pronounced by many lips).
• The kingship of Christ lasts from age to age.
• His kingship is characterised by profound humility and selfless service.
• Christ is above every president, king or leader because he is all and in all.
• Christ is not just the king of the universe but also the king of all hearts that are loyal to him.
• All who occupy the position of leadership, including parents, teachers and preachers have much to learn from the leadership style of Jesus.
34th Sunday of the Year A
Ezekie1 34:11-12, 15-17;
Corinthians 15:20-26, 28;