Homily (Reflection) for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, (A) (26th November, 2017) on the Gospel and the Solemnity
Ps 22:1-3.5-6 (R. v.1);
This Sunday is known by various names for various reasons: 34th Sunday of the year because it is the Sunday after the 33rd Sunday, last Sunday of the Year because it is the last Sunday of the Church’s Liturgical Year, the Solemnity of Christ the King because today, the Universal Church celebrates the Solemnity of Christ the King. Again, in this part of the world because the Solemnity of Corpus Christi falls in the rainy season, the Eucharistic procession that accompanies it is shifted to the Solemnity of Christ the King.
The Solemnity of Christ the King was established in 1925 by Pope Pius XI as an antidote to the secularism in the world. Just as today, people live their lives irrespective of what God wants. Hence, what we profess today is our belief in the kingship of Christ as a God the Word Incarnate, Redeemer and Judge of the living and the dead. His kingdom is supreme, universal, eternal and spiritual.
Topic: Celebrating Christ the King.
In more developed countries, the citizens are bothered with what they will do for their countries. But in the less developed countries, the reverse seems to be the case; people look forward to seeing what the country will do for them. With this in mind, as we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the universal King, what bothers you as Christ’s subject – what Christ will do for you or what you can do for Him? There is no doubt that we come to Christ the King today with our burdens just as we normally do all the time after all he told us: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). But in the gospel, we saw the picture of how the judgement day will be. It reads:
All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left (Matt 25:32-33).
One might wonder: who are the sheep to be kept on the right? We read from the gospel what the king (God) will say to them:
Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me (Matt 25:34-36).
On the other hand, to those on the left, He will say:
You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me (Matt 25:41-43).
As we can see the separation will not be based on any other thing other than how much we are ready to give back to God. Probably one might wonder like the nations that will be gathered how they could give something to God. We can only achieve this by being helpful to our brothers and sisters. Hence, we also read: “... Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matt 25:40, cf. Matt 25:45).
Through the prophet Malachi God is asking us: “A son honours his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honour? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the LORD of hosts ...” (Mal 1:6). God expects our gifts today as we celebrate Christ’s kingship. As we consider what and how to offer to Christ our universal King let us read from the address of Saint Andrew of Crete:
Let us greet him, not with olive branches, but with the good deeds of mercy shown to one another. Let us strew beneath his feet like garments the desires of our hearts, that he may walk in us and dwell wholly in us, that he may reveal us whole in himself and himself whole in us.... (In The Divine Office: The liturgy of the hours according to the Roman rite, III, p. 770).
So as we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King we should focus more on what we will do for God in our lives and in the lives of our brothers and sisters.
Bible Reading: Is 58:1-14; 59:1-21; Tob 4:5-19; Matt 5:38-48; Lk 6:27-36.
Thought for today: Is Christ your King? If yes, what do you offer Him and if not, who is your King?
Let us pray: God, as we celebrate Christ your Son as the universal King, may we always be submissive to His rule especially in all we do – Amen.
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