HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING
HOMILY THEME: INDIFFERENCE IS WORSE
BY: Fr Mike Lagrimas
Let me tell you a story I got from the web. A scientist tells God, “Look, God, the world does not need you anymore. Nowadays, we can do our own miracles. We can give new life to a dying man by transplanting organs and harvesting embryonic stem cells. We can now cure almost any disease, and we can even clone animals. Before long, we will be able to clone humans, too. I’m sorry, God, but I have to tell you that you have become obsolete.”
God listens patiently to the scientist and says, “I understand that. However, I love you, and I don’t want you to be miserable. You said you are going to clone humans. Let’s make sure you will not make a big irreversible mistake. So, I propose we hold a man-making contest.” The scientist replies, “That’s a good idea!” “Okay,” God says. “Let’s do it the way I did it when I created Adam and Eve”. The scientist says, “No problem”, and reaches down to scoop up a handful of dirt. “Opps! Wait a minute”, God says. “You get your OWN dirt!”
Nowadays, Alzheimer’s disease has become so common. Many people are becoming forgetful about so many things, particularly about God. How many of us still remember the truth that “the earth is the Lord’s and all it holds, the world and those who dwell in it” (Ps 24:1)? Everything comes from God, even the dirt that we stand on. As the first Book of Chronicles said, “Yours, O Lord, are greatness and might, majesty, victory and splendor. For all in heaven and on earth is yours; yours, Lord, is kingship; you are exalted as head over all. Riches and glory are from you, and you have dominion over all” (1Chro 29:11-12).
This global Alzheimer’s disease is the reason behind the celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King. It was Pope Pius XI who instituted this feast in his encyclical “Quas Primas” written on December 11,1925. We may recall that at this time, the world was still recovering from the devastation caused by the First World War, and it was only a few years after the bloody Bolshevik Revolution of Russia, which gave birth to atheistic communism in the world. Everywhere the Pope looked, he saw human societies abandoning Christian values as they try to build a world independent from God and based solely on human powers and resources. With this dark backdrop in mind, he instituted this feast to remind the world that Jesus is the true King, and he is the only hope for the salvation of the world.
As Pope Pius XI wrote: “When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony… That these blessings may be abundant and lasting in Christian society, it is necessary that the kingship of our Savior should be as widely as possible recognized and understood, and to that end nothing would serve better than the institution of a special feast in honor of the Kingship of Christ.” (Quas primas, #19, 21) This feast is all the more necessary in our time. The world has grown from bad to worse. It is said that when you reject someone, at least you still consider him as an existent being. But when you ignore him, it simply means he does not anymore exist in your life. This is what is happening in the world nowadays. People do not anymore reject God; they simply ignore Him.
They have all the time to have fun, watch television and indulge in all sorts of worldly activities and vices, but they do not have a minute to spare for God. In today’s world, it is our indifference that is hurting Jesus the most. Let me share with you a poem often quoted by Archbishop Fulton Sheen. It was written by Geoffrey Anketell Studdert-Kennedy, an Anglican priest in Leeds, England in 1883. He was a chaplain in World War I, and he had first-hand experience of the horrors of war and the cruelty of man. His poem is entitled “Indifference”, which is about the treatment of Christ in the poor in Birmingham, England and the indifference of modern men to Jesus.
“When Jesus came to Golgotha, they hanged Him on a tree,
They drove great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary;
They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds and deep,
For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.
“When Jesus came to Birmingham, they simply passed Him by.
They would not hurt a hair of Him, they only let Him die;
For men had grown more tender, and they would not give Him pain,
They only just passed down the street, and left Him in the rain.
“Still Jesus cried, ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do.’
And still it rained the winter rain that drenched Him through and through;
The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see,
And Jesus crouched against a wall, and sighed… for Calvary!”
We can substitute the place Birmingham with any city we live in, for this indifference to Jesus has become so universal in this modern world. Sad to say, we have to admit that this attitude applies even to Catholics. The Gospel on this Solemnity of Christ the King intends to shake us from our smug complacency and indifference: “What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me. Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!”
This is the last Sunday of the liturgical year. Every Sunday for the entire liturgical year we have heard the teachings and miracles of Jesus. It has been clearly illustrated to us, with preponderance of evidence, that Jesus is God, and that he reigns as King of the entire universe for all eternity. On this last Sunday, we are asked to make a decision: are we going to serve our King?
An affirmative response to this question may be easy to give, but it entails serious resolutions and hard decisions. Among these are to make God as the priority in our life; to worship and adore the real presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist; to set apart a meaningful time for prayer and scriptural reflection everyday; to reject all teachings and beliefs, attitudes and behavior that are contrary to the Gospel; to love and serve Jesus in the poor and the needy among us. Let us pray in this Mass that the Lord may grant us all the graces we need to become true and loyal followers and servants of Jesus, the Eternal King.
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Palmera Springs 3, Susano Road Camarin, Novaliches, Caloocan City 1422