Saturday, November 20, 2010

Christ the King

34th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Christ the King):


    Today is the feast of Christ the King. This is the last Sunday of Ordinary Time. This feast of Christ the King reminds us that Christ, by his death and resurrection, has been seated on the throne of heaven, where he has already begun to reign. Still, we await his coming when his Kingdom will have no end: long live Christ the King.

    Royalty has been in the news this week. England's Prince William got engaged to Kate Middleton. I was struck by radical difference between human royalty and the royalty of Christ. We know that the royal family of England is mostly symbolic. They are a remnant of the days when Kings and Queens ruled. All that is left, it seems to me, are the palaces. When we see the clips of the engagement announcement we see glitz and glamour. But, there is no substance there. The height of human royalty, it seems to me, has boiled down to flashy clothes, expensive jewelry, extensive paparazzi, but what else? There is certainly no salvation from the royal family of England.

    How much different is Christ! Today is the feast of Christ the King where we remember Christ in all his glory, but which Gospel does the Church give us to shed light on this mystery? Today we hear the gospel of the crucifixion. The cross is a contradiction. On the cross we see the Lord of life, dead. But, what a contrast with the notion of human royalty! With Prince William we see glitz and glamour, with Christ we see blood and nails. The kings of this world have costly garments, the King of the world to come was stripped bare. The kings of this world are crowned with gold and jewels, the King of the world to come was crowned with thorns. The kings of this world used to wield power through force of armies, the king of the world to come wielded power through self-sacrifice. The kings of this world dine in costly banquet halls and eat sumptuous meals, the King of the world to come poured himself out as food and drink for all of us. The kings of this world are seated on thrones of marble or gold, Christ, the king of the world to come was seated upon the throne of the cross. We could go on and on, but I think we see the point. There is a radical difference in the royalty of Christ.

    I'm being a little too harsh on human kings. People turned to kings, and we to our governments today, for peace and security. We hear that the people of Jerusalem went down to King David and begged him to be their king. There is a great desire in the human heart for peace and security. And while we are here in this fallen world, we strive to find that peace and security, and we should. However, we realize that this longing of every human being will never be perfectly fulfilled in this world, which is why we await the coming of Christ our King. True peace and lasting security are only to be found in Christ. He is not the king of our own choosing, we never would have imagined a king who suffered on the Cross. But, it was through this suffering, this self-sacrifice, that Christ defeated sin and death, the two greatest opponents of peace and security.

    The feast of Christ the king is an important reminder for each of us. We long for peace, but we will only find it in Christ. We will not find salvation in glitz or glamour, we will not find it in palaces or in the White House, salvation does not come from armies and power; salvation comes from Christ seated on the throne of the Cross. Like the people who went up to King David, let's approach Christ the King, let's ask him to be our King. Let's ask him to lead us and to guide us into the peace and security we long for. At every Mass we pray for the coming of God's kingdom. Every Mass is like a journey to the throne of God where we ask him to be our King: long live Christ the King.

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