Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe – Cycle C
2 Samuel 5:1-3; Psalm 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5; Colossians 1:12-20; Luke 23:35-43
My homily at the 5:00 PM Mass at Our Lady of Fatima
Saturday, November 23, 2019
Today is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, the last Sunday in our liturgical year. Next week we begin the Season of Advent and start our journey anew through the life of Christ, culminating again next year in this great Feast of Christ the King.
Today’s feast explains to us a great deal about the other feasts throughout the year because in today’s feast we celebrate the reason as to why Jesus came to live with us as a man, fully human and fully divine.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth and died for us, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sent his Holy Spirit in order that we might be part of his Kingdom. And today we joyfully acknowledge his kingship, his everlasting rule and authority over all creation, over the entire universe!
OK, I know some of you are thinking, “Yeah, yeah we know and believe all of this. We profess this every week in the creed.” Why is Deacon Scott preaching about this? I wish he would tell me something I don’t already know!
But my question to all of us today is “Do we REALLY know this?” Do we live our lives with this reality at the forefront of our minds? Are the choices we make influenced by the fact that we are children of God and brothers & sisters of the King of the Universe?
Let’s take a moment to look more closely at our second reading so that we might gain a deeper appreciation of who Jesus Christ really is. Then let’s ask ourselves honestly, who is he to me?
The first thing we learn from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians is that there is a kingdom – a heavenly kingdom – of which we have been made citizens. That’s right, in Christ we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven!
God the Father has given us this inheritance that can not be compared with anything else we know here on earth. No inheritance we might receive from our parents or grandparents compares with this gift God has given us! We have been given an eternal inheritance and it is priceless!
We have been delivered from the power of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Saint Paul goes on to tell us these facts about our King:
- He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of ALL CREATION!
- In him ALL THINGS in heaven and on earth were created, both the visible and the invisible.
- All things! All thrones, all dominions, all principalities, all powers! EVERYTHING was created through him and for him. And in him all things are held together. Think about this…it is only in Christ that anything continues to exist, to live, to grow. Our very next breath is literally dependent on him holding us together.
- Our King is the head of his body, the church.
- Dear friends, WE are the church! We are members of his body! We are mysteriously united and intimately one with the King of the Universe! With the one in whom all life comes and though whom all life is sustained.
- Jesus Christ is the beginning of all life, he is the firstborn from the dead and in all things he himself is preeminent.
- And here’s the kicker! In Jesus all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him all of his creation has been restored to life in God. How did this happen? Through the blood of his cross!
Jesus Christ, in whom the fullness of God the Father dwells, brought all of us into his eternal kingdom by allowing himself to be beaten, taunted, abused, and nailed to a cross, as he endured suffering that none of us can imagine, as he took upon himself every single one of our sins. The sins of the whole world for all time crushed him as he hung upon that cross!
And after experiencing this extreme suffering for us, he gave up his life so that we might live. So that we would not have to be punished for our sins, for our rebelliousness against God’s law.
And just before he gave up his life, near the conclusion of this extreme experience of suffering, we see in today’s gospel the depth of his mercy for all of us who repent of our sins. When one of the criminals crucified on either side of him, moments before his death, taunted Jesus for not coming down off the cross to save himself and those hanging there with him, the other criminal spoke up on Jesus’ behalf. He admitted his sinfulness and asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom. And what did Our Lord say to him? He said “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise!”
Yes, Our Lord is merciful. He wants all of us to join him in his kingdom and live with him forever. It is NEVER too late to repent of our sins, of our apathetic attitudes, of our lack of kindness toward others, of our using others for our own personal gain. It is never too late for anyone to come humbly before the King of the Universe and admit that we are sinful, that we have thought evil thoughts and done evil deeds in spite of this amazing inheritance of eternal life we have been offered by our loving and merciful God.
Dear friends, this merciful Jesus is our King and our brother who loves us so much that he came down from his throne in heaven to be one of us, to experience temptation and suffering and to die for us so that we might live. And all he expects from us is that we acknowledge him as our merciful Lord, repent of our sins, and live our lives knowing he is truly in charge, doing our best to understand and do his will as we live this life we have been given.
Today I beg all of us to prayerfully consider who we are in relationship to Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe. To consider that we are very little when compared to him, but, little as we are, we are each loved by him as precious members of his body. Let us never be deceived by the evil one to think that he doesn’t love us or that he wont forgive, no matter how many times we fail him.
I leave you with this question. Who is Jesus Christ to you? Is he just a good man who walked the earth two thousand years ago, healing people and teaching about doing good to others? Is he just one of many religious teachers or prophets who you might listen to from time to time, perhaps when you’re feeling sentimental?
Or, is Jesus Christ the King of the Universe in whom the fullness of God exists? Is he your Lord and your Savior? Is he the most important person in your life, the one you love above all else, the one whose will you TRY to do, always and everywhere?
Do you believe he is alive and truly present here today on this altar in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist: body, blood, soul and divinity? Do you believe that when you eat his body and drink his blood TODAY, you become more and more like him? Do you believe that he established his Church to teach us his ways and administer his sacraments of love, of forgiveness, of grace?
Believing this and living according to this belief is the KEY to our happiness, the KEY to living a JOY-filled life. Knowing this in our hearts, our minds, and our bones is true freedom.
Let us pray today when we approach Jesus, truly present in the Eucharist and say Amen when we receive him, that he will increase our faith and help us to understand and appreciate the dignity we share as children of God.
May Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, be praised now and forever!
Amen? Amen? Amen!