Homily – Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe – Cycle B – November 25, 2018
Daniel 7:13-14; PS 93:1, 1-2, 5; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18:33B-37
My homily at the 5:00 Mass at Holy Ghost Church on Sunday, November 25, 2018.
Today we celebrate the last Sunday of the Church’s liturgical year. As we close this liturgical year, we look forward to the new year that will begin next Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent.
Today’s feast of Christ the King explains to us a great deal about the other feasts throughout the year because in today’s feast we understand why it was that Jesus came on earth. Why it was that he suffered on the cross, why he rose from the dead, and why he sent the Holy Spirit.
Jesus performed all of these mysteries precisely in order that he would be the king and that we ourselves might be part of his kingdom. And so today this feast of Christ the King is very important for us to understand.
In today’s first reading we heard from the prophet Daniel. In this reading it is foreseen and prophesied that the Son of Man would have an everlasting dominion and that his kingship would never be destroyed.
In our second reading from the book of Revelation we have that beautiful explanation that the one who loves us, Jesus Christ, has freed us from our sins by his blood has made us part of his kingdom. What a glorious thing this is for all of us. And this is what we celebrate today.
We celebrate the fact that by all the events of his life, and especially by his passion, death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has conquered the world. Jesus Christ has conquered sin. He established his kingdom which was confirmed by his father on the day of his resurrection.
Jesus presents himself to us today as our king. He also presents us to his father as members of his kingdom. His kingdom is the kingdom of love and eternal life. We are so blessed to be participants in this glorious mystery.
In the Gospel today, Jesus wants to reassure us of the great reality of his kingdom and he wants us to reflect on it. As he stood before Pilate in those hours of his passion, Pilate said to him then you are a king! And Jesus answers, you say I am a king. For THIS was I born and for this I came into the world to testify to the truth. We see in these words that Jesus acknowledges his kingship but he also explains to us that his kingship and his kingdom is one of truth and justice, of love and peace.
Isn’t it ironic that the Word of God himself came into the world to testify to the truth, yet today so many people deny that there is anything such as objective truth? For most people “truth” is whatever they want it to be.
In today’s gospel, Pontus Pilate, the Roman governor of Palestine, stands face-to-face with the Lord of the universe, yet he is unable to discern that Jesus has the words of everlasting life. Why? Jesus himself gives us the explanation when he tells Pilate, “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
In the verse immediately following today’s gospel reading, Pilate snarks “What is truth?” Doesn’t this sound like so many people in our world today who don’t accept that truth is an objective reality, rather than their personal opinion about ethics and morality? How often do we hear the objection that “Your truth is not my truth?”
Hatred for or fear of the truth, makes us deaf to the whisperings of God’s voice in our hearts (as it did in Pilate’s case). This denial of objective truth is called moral relativism.
Relativism does not recognize anything as definitive truth and it’s one of the greatest threats against the common good that the Church is facing today. We find it everywhere in our society. We hear its voice every time someone says, “I’m sorry, but I just don’t think that’s a sin. Who are you to tell me what I should believe and do? Don’t you know the teachings of the Church are outdated? They need to change and get with the times!”
Sadly, so many have come to believe the lie that truth has somehow changed over time. The lie that our Beloved Church’s teachings are no longer relevant. I’m here to tell you that truth is eternal and it does not change. Truth can only be found in the person of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, and it does not change!
If we “belong to the truth,” if we do not let selfishness and self-centeredness turn us into enemies of the truth, then, Christ promises, we will be able to “listen to his voice” and follow him into his eternal Kingdom. If we believe that Jesus Christ is the King of the Universe, we must also believe that his words are words of truth…objective truth, not just the opinion of some holy man.
“For this was I born and for this I came into the world to testify to the truth.” With that sentence, Jesus teaches us the secret to intimacy with God. Whoever lets himself be led by what is true will be drawn into communion with Christ. He will hear and heed God’s ceaseless invitations to follow him more closely.
Being led by truth requires HUMILTY. It requires recognizing a higher authority than oneself. If I am obliged to discover, accept, and conform to what is objectively true, then I am not the master of my universe. I am not in charge. I am not God.
When we make Christ our king and accept all that he instructs us to do and believe, we experience true freedom, the freedom found only in Christ’s Kingdom. This freedom is an interior freedom, a peace and strength of soul that only his grace can give us.
As Christians we must listen and conform our lives to Jesus Christ our King, the King of the Universe, as he teaches us his way of life. Any other way is a lie that leads us away from Christ.
So, let us ask ourselves honestly today on this Feast of Christ the King, in which kingdom do we live? Do we live in a kingdom of our own making, following our own notions about what is right and just, about what is morally acceptable and what is not? About what is sinful and what is not?
Or, do we live in the Kingdom ruled by Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe? Do we place our ego, our feelings, and our selfish desires under his rule? Do we accept his ways, his love and his absolute truth – regardless of how challenging this may be living in the midst of our secular culture? Do we believe everything the Church teaches and do our best to live our lives accordingly?
Dear friends in Christ, let us choose to live in HIS kingdom, as HIS friends, knowing that this world is not our true home. Let us look forward to his everlasting reign and live each day as members of his eternal kingdom.
Let us give thanks today that we have been given the dignity to be counted among those who are truly brothers and sisters of the King of the Universe and conform our lives to his will.
We are so privileged to be called Christians … let us resolve today more fully embrace God’s unchanging truth in the coming year and conform our lives to Christ the King’s teachings, the teachings preserved and proclaimed by our Mother Church, the Church established by the King of the Universe to guide us home to our everlasting dwelling place.
God bless you.