FR. BEN’S HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING YEAR B
THEME: MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD!
BY: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY NOVEMBER 21 2021
*Dan 7 : 13 – 14, Rev 1 : 5 – 8, Jn 18 : 33 – 37.
Nothing tramples on the truth like party affiliations. As soon as you belong to POLITICAL PARTY GREEN, I bet you, the whole world begins to look green to you. And when you deflect to POLITICAL PARTY BLUE, funny enough, the whole world must begin looking blue to you. This is because political parties are about interests; usually selfish interests, the need to remain in power, control human and physical resources or lose relevance. But that is not what it is supposed to be when good Christians are involved in politics.
In today’s gospel pericope, the movement of the crowd from the court of Caiaphas to the Jewish Pretorium (their own Lion building/ Aso Rock) was quite dramatic. Jesus had completely flawed Herod, Caiaphas and other local politicians and was headed to the State headquarters to confront the Governor himself. Imagine the commotions and distractions of Special Assistants, PAs, Protocol Officers, Camera men (if any then), Journalists and political appointees of both the Jewish and Roman Government.
B. PILATE’S INTERVIEW
To the utmost embarrassment of the Governor Pilate, his first question : ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ was thrown back to him. Jesus querried the motive behind his question. Mhhh! This was quite unusual going by worldly politics – a man who thought he had all the powers to make or mar Jesus’ destiny was surprised to see him not fidgeting at all at his presence. Pilate wanted to decipher the source of this confidence and Jesus revealed it : ‘Mine is not a kingdom of this world…’. Instead of this statement arresting Pilate’s fears, it heightened it. ‘So then you are a King?’ He asked. As a politician he knew what Robert Greene will call THE 48 LAWS OF POWER. He also knew that power was power, whether you call it political, spiritual, financial or emotional power. Pilate needed to assess this kind of power exuded by Jesus Christ – the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Jesus now dropped him a bombshell; His power comes from the TRUTH. He is the King of all those who were on the side of TRUTH. The double entendre here is that from that moment, Pilate became the villain/ the accused and Jesus Christ became the Judge/ Pontiff over his conscience. He tried to riggle out of the political enigma. He even ended up calling for a basin of water to wash his hands in a bid to assuage his embattled conscience. But that was not to be. Even his wife warned him . Pilate realized his spiritual weakness as a politician. And when he tried for a minute to act ‘unpolitically’ by trying to declare Jesus innocent, they gave him the ‘friend – of – Caesar – blackmail’. And that is ‘political – party – syndrome’ for you. He chickened out in order to retain his political appointment as Governor and the truth was torpedoed for eternity.
C. THE KINGDOM OF THIS WORLD
Worldly politicians can hardly stand for the truth – because they are not ruled by the yardstick of objectivity but confused by the madness of power equation and division. I usually laugh when I watch the ding dong game of Party Primaries like the type we had in Nigeria few years ago; how candidates are usually selected under the facade of election – the arguments of equity, zoning, party loyalty, consensus agreements, one tenure vs multiple tenure agitations, loyalty to cabals, affiliation to major stakeholders, the dynamics of vote buying and selling, etc. At the end of all these worldly considerations, the last thing that ever counts will be the truth/ objective consideration of the most qualified candidate for the job or the choice of the people. With suggestions now mooted by the electoral bill reforms; the call for direct primaries, electronic voting and transmission, etc, the die is cast. The governors are in dilemma whether to acquiesce to the true call for democracy or whether to continue to deceive us with ‘selections’ in the name of ‘elections’.
The kingdom of this world is characterized by materialism/selfishness; indefinite acquisition of wealth and positions – where in a place like the University, connection to the Vice Chancellor guarantees employment/ admission opportunities for one’s wife, children and coterie of friends. The kingdom of this world is characterized by selfishness, violence, bribery and corruption, immorality – where moral principles like marital fidelity are completely being jettisoned at the altar of sexual freedom, skimperly dressing, immodest dancing and partying.
D. THE KINGDOM OF JESUS
Jesus is a King in 3 ways;
1. By Blood; He has a royal lineage linked to King David, Micah 5 : 2.
2. By popular acclamation; He was acclaimed king by the Shepherds, Matt 2 : 8 – 17, By the 3 Wise Men from the East, Matt 2 : 1 – 11, By the overwhelming crowd of Jerusalem, Matt 21 : 8 – 11, and even By his executioners, Matt 27 : 54.
3. By his sayings and deeds; He said he was the good Shepherd and that he had come that men may have life in abundance, Jn 10 : 10 -11. He washed the feet of his disciples and taught them the leader – servant – paradigm, Jn 13 : 1 – 15. He taught them to forgive whoever offended them, Jn 20 : 24. And he finally paid the ransom for our liberation with his precious blood on Calvary, Col 1 : 12.
Jesus is only the king of those who are on the side of TRUTH: those who stand for righteousness, objectivity in politics, giving appointments to the right people without favouritism, etc. He is the Son of God and redeemer of the world.
On this feast of Christ the King, we expect Christians to tell themselves the truth about who is really their king; their political leaders? their sexual passions? their alcoholic addictions? their fettish traditional practices? OR Jesus Christ?
Religious syncretism and fanaticism will not help us anymore. Political dualism will also not help us. If we pledge our loyalty completely to Jesus, we will surrender more firmly to his lordship through obedience to the Word of God. We will then be bold to stand for the TRUTH even before the highest of our ‘Herods’ and ‘Pilates’. The onus lies on Christian politicians in Nigeria to sanitize our political platform by turning the tables of materialism, consumerism, godfatherism and subjectivism and restoring internal democracy in our Primaries, free and fair lections, modest salaries/ remuneration for political office holders and objectivity in the search for leaders at every level of governance. We must remember always that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world.
Happy Sunday dear friends!