Saturday, November 22, 2014
Christ, the unexpected King: Solemnity of Christ the King (replaces 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time)
(Listen to this homily here).
This past Tuesday in our Bible study we looked at the books of the Bible that contain the monarchy—1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings, 1st and 2nd Chronicles.
The very desire for a king was a rejection by the people of God as their King. They wanted to be like other nations in having such an earthly sovereign. At one point God tells Samuel, “…they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.”
The majority of 1st and 2nd Kings, paralleled by 1st and 2nd Chronicles, lists failure after failure in the kingship. The greatest offense was greater than poor leadership; king after king rejected God and turned to idols. Yet within this dark period of salvation history, God prepared for His kingdom on earth. We do see examples of great kings, David being the greatest example despite his own sinfulness.
The notion of God’s kingship, especially through the ministry of the great prophets, led to a great hope for the coming Messiah. While the prophets proclaimed he would suffer and die, the Israelites and Jews remained at a human level in their expectations. They waited for a strong military leader who would bring prosperity, dominion, sovereignty and victory over human foes.
Enter Jesus Christ.
Jesus turned all human expectations of the Messiah upside down. He was poor. He preached peace. His only concerns for victory were over spiritual foes, the human heart, sin and death. Jesus did establish his kingdom on earth—it’s called the Catholic Church!
Every Christian is baptized into Christ’s priestly, prophetic and kingly roles. Like Jesus, our rule is to be one of service. There is no greater description of what it means to serve our king than in Matthew 25 (Mother Theresa often quoted this section). We, just like the disciples, are called to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the ill and visit the imprisoned.
It’s interesting that this passage is known for the best description of the corporal works of mercy, and for good reason. But did you notice that it has several explicit allusions to our king and kingdom? “Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’”I would like to leave you with two simple questions on this feast of the King of kings. First, is Jesus Christ truly the king of your life? Second, are you a faithful member of his kingdom?