Thought you might enjoy my homily for this weekend’s solemnity of Christ the King:
Today, the last Sunday of the liturgical year, we celebrate the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe; yet, our Gospel presents to us a scene that recalls Good Friday. For we again hear and visualize Pilate’s interrogation of Christ and His kingdom.
In the Book of Revelation Jesus is given the title King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16); and today, at the heart of this Gospel, we are challenged to respond to that title.
It is a challenge that implores us to answer the most important question that we will ever confront:
“Do I recognize – accept – and live my life – as a witness to the truth that Jesus Christ is my Lord and King?”
In 1925, when this solemnity of Christ the King was first instituted by Pope Pius 11th, the Pope realized that humanity was beset by all sorts of conflicting thoughts, ideologies, movements and distractions that continually cried out for attention and acceptance.
Pius 11th knew that the situation had to be addressed and that he needed to clearly state to the world that Jesus the Christ should be the only King of our hearts and souls.
“The Pope understood that “the claim of Christ came first: Pax Christi in regno Christi: the peace of Christ in the kingdom of Christ (as related by Fr. Ronald Knox).” In other words – the peace of Christ comes only when we live our lives within and according to the kingdom of Christ.
We are here today because we know this to be true. Yet, there are many Catholics, and maybe even some of us – clergy and laity alike – who are similar to the people that Pope Pius was addressing in 1925.
We are conflicted. We are distracted. We are beset by numerous loyalties that, when examined are truly not of Christ – loyalties whether social, political, sexual, or financial that are more akin to the Kingdom of Darkness and Shadows – the Kingdom of Deception – than the kingdom of Light and Truth.
We are beset by numerous confusions or lack of comprehension that affects our entire understanding of who Jesus is, what He accomplished on the Cross, and is capable of doing for us in our own lives.
We shouldn’t be surprised by the statistics. There are approximately 68 million Catholics in this nation, but only 30% – or 21 million of them – actually practice their faith on a weekly basis and these numbers hold true for even our own parish. (Gallup Poll, Parish census)
Based on these numbers alone, we must again ask the question: “Is Christ our King?”
If Catholics do not participate in the great prayer of the Kingdom of God – which is the Holy Mass – and have no understanding of the reality of Christ’s true presence in Holy Communion, and rarely receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation because they have lost all awareness of the concept of sin and have convinced themselves that they do not sin – will they receive the welcome of God’s love and fellowship at the time of their deaths?
My brothers and sisters – Jesus Christ is truly our Lord and King – but He will never force Himself on us. He gave all of us, repentant and unrepentant, the gifts of reason and free will; and through the Sacraments He freely gives to us the gifts of His saving grace.
Jesus does not want mankind to be robotic in their love and worship of Him; we can freely choose to be members of the Kingdom of Light – or – the Kingdom of Darkness.
Remember Christ’s words in His Gospel – ‘Choose one Kingdom or the other’ – regardless of what the pundits say – there is no middle ground.
Next weekend we begin a new liturgical year, and as we do so it is incumbent upon us, in this Year of Faith, to evaluate ourselves and do everything we can to accept, practice, and proclaim that Jesus Christ is the king of our lives and souls – not just for an hour on Sunday – but for all eternity.
Copyright © 2012 Deacon Paul O. Iacono All Rights Reserved.
Thanks to livingscripture.wordpress.com for the icon of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The artist of this image was not listed.