Christ The King
Cycle A | 26 November 2017
Ez. 34: 11-17
I Cor. 15: 20-28
Mt. 25: 31-46
INTRODUCTION: At the end of the Liturgical Year, the Church celebrates the Feast of Christ The King. This is a feast that people have trouble with, especially those who live in countries like ours where democracy holds sway. People are skeptical of kings! Especially those types that tend to be tyrants, people become nervous. Kingship might be alien to us because of our experience but know what? It is a very central theme in the whole Bible and especially for us Christians.
(1) In Genesis 2 at the end of God’s Creation, we find a kind of procession of all God’s creatures starting from light and ending with human beings that reminds us both of a Liturgical and a Political procession at the end of which are either the priests and the altar servers or the King and his entourage.
From the beginning of Scripture, Kingship has both a priestly and a kingly character. Adam as God intended, being created in his image and likeness, is both a priest praising God and a king reigning over God’s Creation as his viceroy according to his own purpose. Adam, however, allowing himself to be duped by the serpent in the Garden by his Sin, proved himself to be a bad priest and a bad king. He now wants to govern the world according to his own desires, not according to God’s purpose.
Bad Kingship leads to troubles now across the board. When the King goes bad, the whole Country goes bad! In the History of Salvation, God continuously establishes kings from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph to Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Saul up to the King par excellence David.
What is God doing? Not just establishing an ever improved political order but something deeper, he is setting a human figure who could be a steward of his Creation. As this King rules the world aright, he is meant to become the ruler of the whole world as we read of the David stories in I and II Samuel. What more do we know of King David? He is also a fallen, tragic-driven, compromised figure. Even more so is his son, Solomon, in whose aftermath the Kingdom of Israel is divided into two North and South and what follows is a string of bad kings who rule its divided parts.
In the wake of all this, we hear in the Psalms and the Prophets a longing for a new David, a human figure through whom God is going to reign. We get a glimpse of how a good king reigns in the way God takes care of his people in our first reading from Ezekiel 34: 16 “I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall watch over the fat and the healthy.”
(2) In the light of this background, we now look at this Jesus, presented in the Gospels as a human figure like David but a perfect viceroy of God reigning over his creation. In the Christmas Story of Luke, we see this King as a new born child surrounded by angels in rivalry with the powerful Caesar Augustus. Watch this child come of age and choose his 12 Apostles to unite together the 12 Tribes of Israel. He goes to the margins reminiscent of Pope Francis and brings together in table fellowship saints and sinners alike in a gesture of forgiveness drawing those alienated from the life of Israel.
Watch this Jesus as king confronting the recognized powers of this world, the Scribes and Pharisees, the Military, and those kings representing the Roman Emperor, even the spiritual powers of evil and the devil behind every dysfunctions in humans.
At the end of his life, those powers he made enemies of nailed him to a Cross and made him in the eyes of this world another failed king. But God’s power raised him up from the dead and made him the true King. Pilate places over the Cross the inscription INRI and announces in the three languages of the time Hebrew, Greek, and Latin that Jesus of Nazareth is the true King of the Jews that has arrived.
This is Paul’s message today in the 2nd reading from First Corinthians 15: 24-26 “After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last enemy to be destroyed is death.”
(3) Our Country too is longing for a bunch of good leaders to govern us according to God’s purposes. We respect and love our Country’s leaders! For our sake, especially the poor, let us all together help our Country to move forward.
Too much time is being wasted in hearings of accusations and counter accusations in aid of legislation against all branches of Government. Leave those to all of our Courts, including the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan.
The people have given their trust on our leaders by their votes. Respect the will of the people. Politics should not thwart their will! Our Country among the Countries in Asia is lagging behind in well deserved development. The Gospel of today reminds us that Christ our King will judge all of us on Judgement Day on the basis of love done to “the least of this King’s brothers and sisters.”
CONCLUSION: Our National Hero, Jose Rizal, made a sculpture of the Sacred Heart in his younger days at the Ateneo. He retracted from his membership with the Masons just before his death. Just before he was shot to death at the Luneta blindfolded, he was mumbling. Only God knows what he was saying! Perhaps, “Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me!” Or “Viva, Cristo Rey!” The first, he learned from the Jesuits as a young student; the second, was a taunt to the soldiers of the Spanish Government against whom he was revolting but from whom we received the Cross of Jesus Christ.
Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches
Click the link to download:
The Bishops Homily – Christ The King 2017