YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING
HOMILY THEME: “JESUS, REMEMBER ME WHEN YOU COME INTO YOUR KINGDOM.”
BY: Fr. Precious Ezeh
HOMILY: 🔦2 Sam 5:1-3
HOMILY: On the last day of the liturgical year, it is only fitting that the Church ends the year with the celebration of Christ, King of the Universe. The strategic placement of this celebration is a pointer, and not randomly, to the place of Christ as The Alpha and The Omega, the Beginning and the End!
The Solemnity of Christ the King, which was initiated by Pope Pius XI in 1925, was a reaction to the unbridled secularism that took over the World at the wake of the 20th Century and was meant to show the Sovereignty of Christ over all creation.
The readings of the day, jointly viewed, seem to express the dialectics involved in the kingship of Christ as the one who fulfils the messianic expectations. On the one hand, the readings show the validity of Christ’s kingship by expressing its divine and human roots, and on the other hand, they hint on the paradoxes involved in this kingship.
The first reading from 2 Samuel shows how the whole of Israel went up to David in Hebron to ask him to be king over them. They made allusion to their kinship with David, saying: “Here we are, your bone and your flesh”, hence holding unto their natural human affinity with David, and thus requested him to rule over them. There, they anointed him king after his agreement with the elders.
In Israel, anointing was a necessary ritual in the inauguration of the offices of the prophets, the priests and the kings. In the Old Testament, anointing was central in the whole idea of “messianism”; a belief in the divine promise of a Messiah, the Anointed One, who will liberate Israel and subdue all her enemies.
The idea of messianism started with God’s covenant with David, where he is God promised to establish his dynasty forever.
However, the oracles of the prophets about this messiah went beyond a mere human ruler to a supernatural king who seems to share attributes with God. The prophecies of Isaiah, especially, addresses him in divine terms. Isaiah 9:6 called him “wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”, and 11:1-5 speaks of the divine unction upon him.
The 2nd reading from Paul’s letter to the Colosians makes plane the oneness of Christ with the Father. It also shows God’s graciousness in making the Church, the Body of Christ, sharer in the inheritance of Christ, delivering her from the power of darkness and transfering her into God’s wonderful light.
The gospel reading of today presents the paradox of Christ’s kingship. The characters in the gospel question Christ’s kingship, and not surprisingly! Hanging on the cross, he was anything but a king; clad in a strip of rag rather, than a royal garb, surrounded by men who derided him rather than praise singers. The rulers sneered at him, the soldiers jeered at him, even the sign above his head “this is the king of the Jews” was designed as a mockery!
Hence, all these were below the messianic expectations for a common Jew. They thought the Messiah would overrun the Roman empire and bring glory to Israel, but instead they saw one who could not save even himself from the soldiers.
Even though they saw the signs and wonders he did, they wanted more, a Warlord! And to show that all he did was not enough for the Messiah, their message to him was clear, “he saved others, let him save himself if he is the Chosen One, the Christ of God”.
Even one the criminals he shared their cross was disappointed in him, “are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” Christ did not respond to these words of degradation. He only responded to the one who was ready for his kingdom, “amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise”.
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What transpired here is the message awaiting us today. For one of the criminals, this might have been his first meeting with Christ, but it was for him a moment of repentance, contrition and firm desire to belong to God’s kingdom, and thus he cries out, “remember me when you come into your kingdom”. Christ did not hesitate to offer him what he desired, and so, in just one stroke of grace, he became a candidate of paradise. The cross which was a tree of death for one criminal became a confessional for the other!
As we go out today to proclaim Christ King of the Universe, may we not be among those who will jeer at him or sneer at him in mockery and hypocrisy, but those who will truly make their procession a spiritual exercise.
Christ stated clearly that his kingdom is not of this world, it is rather our heavenly homeland prepared for those who are found worthy. Remember, Christ came in the flesh to share our human affinity with us, that he may also offer us his divine nature.
As the people of Israel held unto flesh and blood to seek David’s kingship, may we who are the body of Christ cling to our divine heritage with him, in order to be admitted into his heavenly kingdom. This is our prayer, through Christ our Lord, amen.
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