November 25, 2018

A HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING –  CYCLE “B” –  11/25/18 –  SMG

+  Pax et Bonum!    Peace and goodness to you this day!

One of the titles for our Lord that we probably use the least, is “King of the Universe”.  And it is this exact title that we celebrate today as we come to the end of our liturgical year.  The challenge is NOT that Jesus isn’t our King or our leader.  The problem in 2018 is that we don’t have kings.  Our country broke away from its last king nearly 250 years ago.  And Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson were not real kings, they were musicians who were good at their art.   So the closest thing that we have to a king or a monarchy is the British Royal family.  And a lot of times they are fun to watch, like when one of them is getting married.   But most of the time I think we would all be in agreement that we would not want them to be our leaders.  The truth is that down through history Kings and monarchies are notoriously selfish and self-serving.  And that clearly isn’t the way that we see Jesus, today or any other day.

You see, this Feast celebrates that Jesus really was a different kind of King.  Jesus is no less royal or no less exalted, or no less admired and to be followed.  But He is NOT your typical King!  Jesus was a servant King.  Borrowing much more the ancient notions of kingship, than our more modern examples,  Jesus was a King Who served His people by making decisions with wisdom, and mercy, and justice.  He lived those values out in His life by living in service to His people, living as a faith-filled and servant-like example for others.  As a King He was a peacemaker, and He was even willing to give His life in service to His people.  As the very best of kings, Jesus teaches us by His example that true kingship is not about glamour, or power, or wealth.  It is about service!   As our King, and as the example and model for our daily lives, Jesus shows us that by His life that we are called to humble, loving service.   Our King shows us that we are to be merciful, just and truthful, willing to bring God’s peace to challenging situations.  Like Christ, our King, we are also called to lay down our lives so that others may live.

So in our Gospel today, St. John has Pilate asking Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?”  And we recognize this as part of the beginning dialogue leading up to the Passion of our Lord.  The truth is that Jesus was NOT the King of the Jews.  And why not?  Jesus wasn’t the King of the Jews because the Jewish people had rejected Him.  They didn’t want a servant King!  They didn’t want a healing peacemaker King!  Jesus excuses this rejection away by saying that His Kingdom is not of this world.  And we know that’s right.  And Jesus goes on to say that if His Kingdom DID belong to this world, that His attendants would be fighting to keep Him from being handed over to the Jews.

My brothers and sisters, this is a very different kind of King and a very different kind of Kingdom, one that last forever!  And today, and every day, you and I have to ask ourselves the question that Pilate asked, “Is Jesus our King?”   Is this Jesus really Who we follow and Who we let lead and guide our lives?  Is Jesus the Authority in our lives?  Or are we just going through the motions?   The Jewish people rejected the most perfect King that this world has ever known!  We can’t make the same mistake!  We want to follow!  We want Him to lead us!  We want this Jesus to be our King forever!

It also has to be pointed out, that this is also the kind of Kingship into which each of us has been baptized!  At our Baptisms, was said very clearly, that we were being baptized “priest, prophet, AND KING, just like Jesus!  They weren’t talking about King like the British Royal family!

They were talking about us being a King like Jesus!  This sort of kingship offers a vision of a new Heaven and a new earth.  It also demonstrates for us, that we too, like Jesus, must be willing to stand in tatters before the greatest powers of this world, always ready to offer our lives in pursuit of the Kingdom of God.  Now that’s a challenge!

Is Jesus our King?  Are we really ready, willing, and able to live different from the rest of this world?  Those are questions that we must answer every day with our lives.   May God give us the strength to be like His Son!   Long live Christ the King!  And may He live and reign in our hearts always!