[Christ the King, Year B, Nov 22, 2015/ Dan 7:13-14 / Ps 93:1a, 1b-2, 5 / Rev 1:5-8 / John 18:33b-37]
The feast of Christ the King was instituted in 1925 by Pius XI. That period was a time of kings and empires, of countries seeking to dominate others, to rule over one another. The pope instituted the feast to underline the Kingship of Christ – May Christ the King truly be the King of our heart, mind and will! I don’t know if you have actually ever lived under a king or queen. I am from Britain and I have always lived under Queen Elizabeth II. She has an empire, power and is very rich. The kingship of Christ is so very different. He was poor, and lacking in worldly power and status. He said “My kingdom does not belong to this world.” What sort of King is he? What sort of Kingdom does he have?
In the first reading from the book of Daniel we have a vision. “I saw one like a Son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; when he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.” (Dan 7, 13-14). Many kings and queens will come and go but the kingship of Christ is everlasting. In the second reading it says, “Jesus Christ is the …ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us a line of kings” (Apoc. 1, 5-8). When did this happen? When did we become kings? Let us see if we know our theology. When did you become a king? In baptism! We receive the anointing with chrism and participate in the priestly, prophetic and KINGLY mission of Christ. All baptized are kings already. When you next fill out a form asking for blood type, don’t put ‘O’ for ordinary any more, put ‘R’ for royalty!
What does it mean to be incorporated into the Kingly mission of Christ? The Kingly mission of all the lay faithful is twofold – 1. To have dominion over the kingdom of sin and 2. To participate fully in the building of the Kingdom (cf. Lumen Gentium no. 36).
We need to dominate sin and not be dominated by it. For example, many people are dominated by material goods. So instead of putting Christ on the throne of our hearts they actually put the dollar sign. But you are called to dominate money, and use it well to build up the Kingdom. Like the lady in the little store in the squatter’s area in front of our house. One day buying bleach I asked her how much it was. I bought it and gave her thirty pesos. Not thirty she said, thirteen. Wow! In a corrupt world this woman is building up a kingdom of justice. She is really helping build the kingdom. She is not dominated by riches even though she is poor, instead she dominates her desire for wealth and helps build up the Kingdom. Let us not pay lip service to Christ the King alone – worshipping him with our mouths yet our lives remain far from him.
Our King is a humble one. Pilate did not recognize or understand this Kingship. “Are you the King of the Jews” he asked? Jesus is very clear “My Kingdom is not of this world.” Maybe we can be like Pilate – we have difficulty to recognize Christ the true King because many other kings dominate our heart. Who reigns in your heart? Is it Christ the King?
As baptized, let us take up the challenge to work in building up the Kingdom. I have seen many good people working for the Kingdom of Heaven. I have met others who are working only for earthly honours, riches and pleasures for their family but this kingdom will pass away. How about you? How are you working to build up the Kingdom of Heaven? Who is the King in your heart – is it really Christ? Let him truly reign and you will not be dominated by other kings.
Let us continue this celebration asking for the desire to build up the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us truly marvel at the kingly dignity we have. So many will do foolish things trying to find this dignity yet as children of God we already have this kingly identity? One father we know got on to a bus and found his daughter passed out drunk and covered in vomit. “This is my beloved daughter,” he said. God, our heavenly Father, looks at many of his children today with so much love because many also are losing their dignity. They don’t know who they are. Will you tell them? Will you help them discover their true dignity?
May we grow in faith to recognize the coming of our humble King, who makes himself present in every Eucharist, in all his power and glory, in a small piece of bread. Christ the King, may you truly reign in us, give us dominion over sin and make us more determined to build up your Kingdom here on earth.