YEAR B: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING
HOMILY TOPIC: THE KINGSHIP OF CHRIST
BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Gospel: Jn 18:33-37
Message # 505: “The Glorious Reign of Christ”
(TO THE PRIESTS, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, Marian Movement of Priests)
1. The Marian Message
a) The Blessed Mother talks about the reign of the true king, Jesus Christ. She mentions five important things about the glorious reign of Christ. First, it will be established in the hearts and souls: “Those hearts renewed by love, and those souls sanctified by grace form then the most precious part of the divine royalty of Jesus (letter d).
b) Second, the glorious reign of Christ means the “flowering of holiness and purity, of love and justice, of joy and peace” when the hearts of men will be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit (letter e).
c) Third, the glorious reign of Christ will be shown in the lives of men whose lives will be transformed by their “perfect accomplishment of the will of God” as it is done in heaven and also on earth (letter g).
d) Fourth, the glorious reign of Christ will fully take place “after the complete defeat of Satan and all the spirits of evil, and the destruction of Satan’s diabolical power” (letter i).
e) Finally, the “triumph of the Eucharistic reign of Jesus” is the ultimate sign of the glorious reign of Jesus. He will be made manifest “in the mystery of his Eucharistic presence” (letter j). The Eucharist is the “source from which will burst forth all his divine power.”
f) All these manifestations of the glorious reign of Jesus are the clear signs of the coming of the new heavens and the new earth, the full establishment of the kingdom of God in the world. The Blessed Mother promises to lead us all towards this glorious state of God’s children.
2. The Sunday Gospel
a) This is the last Sunday of the year. It is always the celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King. The readings are eschatological, that is, talking about the end-times, when Jesus will come again as the Eternal Judge of both the dead and the living. Rather than looking at it as the end, we should regard it as the beginning of the glorious reign of God among us.
b) God’s Chosen People, Israel, was not intended by God as a monarchy. It is a theocracy, meaning, God is the King of His people. There is supposed to be no human king for Israel. The kingdom, starting with King Saul, was a result of man’s rebellion against God. God yielded to Israel’s obstinacy and allowed them to have a human king. But as shown in the Old Testament, it was a short-lived kingdom. Soon after David and Solomon, unfaithful and unworthy kings followed, and not long after, the kingdom was divided into two: the southern kingdom (Judah) and the northern kingdom (Samaria). The people realized that their sufferings were the fruits of their rebellious and obstinate attitude against God and His commands.
c) The image of Jesus as king is not something new and unusual. He has given several parables using the image of a king. And on some occasions, notably after the multiplication of the bread and fish, the people made audacious moves to make him king, but he would always get away secretly. The last mention about his being king was in Pilate’s palace and the inscription at the head of the cross: “INRI” or “JNRJ” (Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judaeorum – Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews).
d) But the king that the people had in mind was a political one, similar to that of King David. That is why the title Son of David was very popular and meaningful to the Jewish people. This title simply means that the Messiah, according to the prophets, will come from the royal lineage of King David. But the Jews were expecting a political messiah. Their immediate goal was the freedom of the Chosen People, the emancipation from the domination of the Romans. They were not thinking about freedom from sin, salvation and God’s kingdom. Their agenda was mainly political. The king will be a fearless warrior who will lead the people in waging victorious wars against Israel’s enemies. That is why in their mind, the king cannot suffer and die. So, when Jesus was talking about his forthcoming sufferings and death, they just could not understand him, and they refused to listen to him. The dialogue between Jesus and Pilate illustrates a totally different understanding of the concept of kingship. Jesus insisted that his kingdom does not belong to this world. Pilate could not understand it.
e) But Jesus is not just a political messiah, or another worldly king. He is the Savior of mankind; He is the eternal King of the universe. His kingdom is not temporary and limited; it is eternal and beyond any limitation of time and space. It is not a kingdom obtained through human succession, or through victories in bloody wars. Rather it is the kingdom of God, “an eternal and universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace” (Preface of the Mass on the Solemnity of Christ the King). Through Jesus, God re-established His Kingship once again, this time not anymore over a stubborn and rebellious people, but over a “priestly people, kingly people”, truly humble and obedient to God.
f) “The king is Jesus; in him God entered humanity and espoused it to himself. This is the usual form of the divine activity in relation to mankind. God does not have a fixed plan that he must carry out; on the contrary, he has many different ways of finding man and even of turning his wrong ways into right ways… The Feast of Christ the King is, therefore, not a feast of those who are subjugated, but a feast of those who know that they are in the hands of the one who writes straight with crooked lines.” – Pope Benedict XVI g) How do people belong to this kingdom? Jesus said that it is not like membership to a group or clan, nor it is by appointment, family lineage or inheritance. It is not something easily recognizable and quantifiable: “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.” (Lk 17:20-25).
h) Membership in God’s kingdom is open to all people, but with one condition: obedience to the will of God. Jesus is called the “firstborn of all creatures” because when he assumed the form of a creature as man, he fully obeyed the will of the heavenly Father, even to the point of death. “And because of this, God highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name above every other name so that, at the name of Jesus, every knee must bend, in the heavens and on the earth and under the earth, and very tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father: Jesus Christ is Lord!” (cf. Philippians 2:6-11).
i) In other words, the first one to be born into the kingdom of God is Jesus Christ himself, true God and true man, mainly because of his total and unconditional obedience to the will of the Father. After Christ, we, too, can be members of this if we just obey God’s will in our lives. God’s will is summarized by Jesus: “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
3. Points for Reflection
a) Christ’s kingship is the fruit of his perfect love. This love is shown in self-giving and service to the beloved. That is why his kingship is shown in service: “The Son of Man has come not to be served, but to serve, and to offer his life as a ransom for many.” That is why, while all the earthly kings have come and gone, the kingship of Jesus continues for eternity. After all, love is eternal; consequently, a kingship of love is eternal.
b) The real power of Christ the king is love. It is only love that can change the world. If we want to yield real power in this world, let us just follow the one commandment of Jesus: “Love one another as I have loved you.” On the other hand, all those people who hold positions of authority, their powers are fleeting because there is no love – what they have is selfishness, the opposite of love. Hence the fruits of the exercise of their power are destructive, and soon they will lose everything.
c) The authentic sign of kingship is humility. This is very clear in Jesus. While earthly kings live in palaces, with all the opulence of wealth and luxury, Jesus lived in simplicity and hiddenness. The earthly kings and all their glory are gone, but Jesus reigns now and for always. In any position of power we hold, let us always be reminded of the virtue of humility. A humble leader will never fear losing power – he will remain in power for he will not fall down owing to his humility. A proud leader will always fear his fall from power, for in his pride, indeed, he will fall down hard.
d) The real crisis in our country is not economic or social, but a crisis in leadership. Our leaders in society are the ones destroying our country due to their selfishness, arrogance, pride and greed. But they remain in power because the voters put them in office. Again, the voters are also selfish and greedy – they are willing to sell their votes in exchange of grease money and promise of future economic and political advantage in case their candidate wins. Truly, we deserve the leaders we have. The only hope for our country is the conversion of the hearts and souls of our people. Jesus has to rule over our hearts and souls. Then we will have reason to hope for a better future for our country.
e) It is always easy to proclaim and shout: “Jesus is our King!” But the only way to proclaim this truth authentically is not by words, but by action. If we truly acknowledge that Jesus is our King, we should be obedient to all his commands, especially the commandment of love. As long as selfishness, sinfulness and worldliness rule our lives, we can never be able to proclaim that Jesus is our King.
Say again together the Litany of Humility. QUESTIONS FOR SHARING IN THE B.E.C.
1. Batay sa halimbawa ni Kristong Hari, pag- usapan ang mga mahalagang katangian ng tunay na lider sa ating bayan at simbahan.
2. Masaya ka ba sa kalagayan ng pulitika sa ating bansa?
3. Ano ang mga hakbang na maaari nating magawa upang magkaroon tayo ng mga matino at tunay na lider sa ating lipunan?
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