Saturday, November 24, 2012

34th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Feast of Christ the King

            If you’re looking for a reason to have another party this holiday season, I would suggest celebrating the liturgical new year.  Next Saturday evening marks the beginning of a near year starting with Advent.  Celebrate the festivities.
            For centuries the Israelites, and even now the Jewish people, have waited for the Messiah.  They have looked for the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Messiah: the Son of man who will receive “dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations and languages [will] serve him.” 
            They have longed for the one who will bring military and political victory.  They imagined a prosperous king who would bring abundant blessings of money, land and descendants to His people.  This same king was to establish his kingdom in Jerusalem and live out God’s law perfectly.
            We Catholics believe that the Messiah has come.  In fact, Jesus Christ, the King of kings turned the concept of kingship upside down.  He was not born in a palace, but in a manger.  He did not inherit prosperity as his foster father was a poor carpenter.  Nevertheless He did indeed bring abundant wealth—not human riches—but by opening the eternal treasures of heaven.  He brought victory, not from a military, but from sin, death and the evil one.  He did in fact establish His kingdom in Jerusalem as this was where He shed His blood and gave His life for us.  In short, Jesus Christ “is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.
            Jesus says something very important in the Gospel: “My kingdom is not of this world…  Can you say the same?  Is Jesus truly your king and His kingdom your number one priority?  Or is your kingdom sports, family, career, hobbies or something else?  Not that these are bad things—these can actually be great goods.  But if anything less than Jesus is our king—if anything less than His kingdom consumes our time—we will live in a crumbling world.
            So how can we be more faithful members of the King’s kingdom?  It is helpful to consider what makes us good members of our own society.  In the USA, Minnesota and even Duluth, we are called to be faithful citizens.  We ought to take part in our society by voting, taking part in political discourse and decisions.  Some of us are even called to help lead in our government at a variety of levels.  We are also called to obey civil laws that seek the common good of each of our members.  We pay taxes for the upkeep of our roads and bridges, education and services to the poor.
            As members of Christ’s kingdom we ought to act in a similar fashion.  God wants us to be active participants in His kingdom here on earth in our faith.  This includes our public worship in the Mass and in our private faith lives in our families.  We ought to obey God’s commandments, both those that agree and disagree with our civil law.  And yes, we are to give of our time, talent and treasures—not of our leftovers or surplus, but by giving a true tithe—ten percent.
            I recently heard an insightful quote from facebook: “Barack Obama may be my president, but Jesus Christ is my king.”  All of us should be able to agree with this statement, whether or not we voted for our president or not this past election.  And we should be able to say similar statements: “I have to drink my morning coffee, but Jesus is my king.  I love playing hockey, but Jesus is my king.  I care deeply for my family and friends, but Jesus is my king.  I am an accountant, but Jesus is my king.”
            Is Jesus truly the King of your life?  If not, in what ways is He calling you to go deeper into His kingdom?

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