My Homily from November 24, 2013 – Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Today we celebrate what has traditionally been known as the Feast of Christ the King, a day that we recall the fullness of our relationship with Jesus. It would be good for us to reflect on that relationship. Here are two key points we should remember:
- Our relationship with Christ is multi-dimensional
- It’s a relationship that is supposed to grow over time
We are first introduced to the different dimensions of our relationship with Christ when we are baptized. During the baptism, the celebrant anoints us with the Oil of Chrism and prays, “As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.”
Beginning on the day we enter the Church we are called to live like Christ – Priest, Prophet, and King. But how do we do that? It may be helpful to get a better understanding of these terms: Priest, Prophet and King.
A simple definition of a priest is one who serves as a bridge or mediator between God and humankind. It’s easy to understand Jesus as priest when we think of “bridge” or “mediator”
- He is God who became man to draw us closer to him
- He taught us to remember his love for us in our Eucharist celebration (“Do this in memory of me”)
- He sent the Holy Spirit to guide us on our spiritual journey
- He continues to mediate for us (to plead for us) to His Father
So, how do we live out our vocation as priest, like Christ?
- When we participate in the sacramental life (when we gather in His name to connect with each other and with God)
- When we cultivate a personal prayer life (our prayers can be a two-way bridge to make our concerns known to God and to receive back God’s grace and blessings in our life)
- When we introduce Christ to others (we can be a bridge to Christ for others)
All of these things help us connect with God
A prophet is a messenger sent by God – one who speaks for God. Jesus is the last and the ultimate prophet. Not only is he a messenger sent by God (to remind us of God’s unconditional love), Jesus IS God, the Word Made Flesh.
So, how do we live out our vocation as prophet, like Jesus?
- By embracing opportunities to grow in our faith and share that faith with others (we develop a habit of lifelong learning)
- By inviting others to join in the life of our faith and the life of our parish (there is no better way to help spread the Word of God than to invite others to see and hear God’s word in action)
We might be a little less familiar with the concept of “king.” Our reference is often works of fiction or dark history. We may think of kings as selfish or deceitful rulers. Or we may think of them overburdening people with taxes and other requirements. But Jesus gives us a different (a better) model of what it means to be king.
A king is a person who has superior authority over a territory. But what is Jesus territory? Where does he proclaim superiority over us? The answer is in today’s Gospel. The territory that Jesus claims as his own is our hearts.
After being mocked as “King of the Jews,” Jesus chooses the Cross as his royal throne. His royal office is not judgment or condemnation (but to forgive the repentant sinner). Jesus teaches us that he is willing to forgive anyone, to love anyone, to serve anyone. All he asks from us is our hearts.
So what is Jesus, the King, teaching us?
- He is teaching us humility and care for others
- He is teaching us love and forgiveness
- He is teaching us to serve others with the heart of a servant
And, how do we live out our vocation as King, like Jesus?
- By being loving, caring and respectful to others
- By sharing our gifts generously in the spirit of service
- By forgiving others … and by being willing to accept forgiveness
We will soon turn our thoughts to the Eucharistic Feast, where our relationship with Christ as Priest, Prophet, and King will all come together. As we listen to today’s prayers, may our hearts be open to all that:
- Connects us to God
- Engages us in service to our parish and the world we live in
- And reminds us of our call to love one another
This week, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, I encourage you to take some time to be thankful for the times in your life when you have been willing to forgive, and The times in your life when you were willing to accept forgiveness.
May our prayerful reflection help us all grow closer to the God
Peace be with you!