HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING (34TH SUNDAY) YEAR C.
THEME: THE KING OF PEACE.
BY: Rev. Fr. Gerald Muoka.
R1 – 2Sam 5:1-3
R2 – Col 1:12-20
GOSPEL – Luke 23:35-43
In the 1920s, a totalitarian regime gained control of Mexico and tried to suppress the Church. To resist the regime, many Christians took up the cry, “Viva Cristo Rey!” (“Long live Christ the King!”) They called themselves “Cristeros.” The most famous Cristero was a young Jesuit priest named Padre Miguel Pro. Using various disguises, Padre Pro ministered to the people of Mexico City. Finally, the government arrested him and sentenced him to public execution on November 23, 1927. The president of Mexico (Plutarco Calles) thought that Padre Pro would beg for mercy, so he invited the press to the execution. Padre Pro did not plead for his life, but instead knelt holding a crucifix. When he finished his prayer, he kissed the crucifix and stood up. Holding the crucifix in his right hand, he extended his arms and shouted, “Viva Cristo Rey!” (“Long live Christ the King!”) At that moment the soldiers fired.
Beloved in Christ, today is the Solemnity of Jesus Christ, the King of the whole universe. It is a day we acknowledge Jesus as the King of our lives by jubilantly proclaiming, “Long live Christ the King.”
The solemnity was instituted by
Pope Pius XI in 1925, who proclaimed: “Pax Christi in regno Christi” (the peace of Christ in the reign of Christ); indicating that whenever we allow Christ take dominion of our lives, we live in the peace of Christ. The Pope witnessed the turbulent times in the world’s history within the 20th Century, namely:
(i) The First World War had just come to an end.
(ii) The rise of Secularism
(iii) The Dangerous dictatorships that emerged in Europe and beyond.
At this time, the Pope saw the respect and reverence for Christ’s authority waning in the midst of the unrest during the early part of the 20th century. In response, he set up this Solemnity with the following im mind:
(i) Firstly, to reaffirm and refocus faith and respect in the one, true and eternal kingship of Jesus. Pope Pius XI felt that nations would see that the Church has the right to freedom, and immunity from the state.
(ii) Secondly, that leaders and nations would see that they are bound to give respect to Christ, the prototype of all kingship
(iii) Finally, that the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration, as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies.
The first reading recalls the story of David’s anointing as king of Israel. Jesus is often identified as the Son of David, as the Messiah, and as the Shepherd of God’s people. King David’s successful 40-year reign became the model for the hoped-for Messiah (that is, the Anointed One, or the Christ), in later Judaism. David was a mere man, sinful but repentant. Christ is True God and True Man, sinless and All-perfect. Christ died on the cross to free all men from the damnation of sin.
In the second reading, we see Paul’s acknowledgement of Christ’s dominion every visible and invisible creature. He was responding to the teachings of some group of people who were promoting a detailed belief in angels and their mediating role in our relationship with God. Neither affirming nor denying the existence of these “Thrones, Dominations, Principalities or Powers,” Paul simply states that Christ is superior to the whole lot.
The Gospel presents us with the encounter between Jesus and one of the criminals on the cross who sought repentance. He recognized Jesus as a Savior King and asked Jesus to remember him when he entered his kingdom. Jesus promised the good thief, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise!” Here, we see Christ the King as reigning, not from a throne, but from the gibbet of the cross. A fate he accepted for the sake of others. Thus, he is an altruistic king who thinks of others.
*BIBLICAL MANIFESTATIONS OF CHRIST’S KINGSHIP*
The testimonies of Jesus as the Messianic King was foretold by the prophets in the Old Testament and vastly proclaimed by the four Gospels. Below are some Manifestations of Jesus’ Kingship in the New Testament Scripture.
(i) At the Annunciation, the scripture says: “…and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the House of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there will be no end” (Lk 1;32-33). In fact, the Kingdom of God is the center of Jesus’ teaching (Mtt 2:3).
(ii) The testimonies of the Magi from the Far East came to Jerusalem and asked the question: “Where is the Baby born to be the King of the Jews? We saw His star… and we have come to worship Him” (Mt 2:2)
(iii) The testimonies of the Jews at the royal reception given to Jesus on Palm Sunday: “God bless the King, Who comes in the name of the Lord” (Lk 19:38
(iv) During the trial of Jesus described in today’s Gospel, Pilate asked the question:( “Are you the king of the Jews?” (Jn 18:33) Jesus replied: “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the Truth” (Jn:18:37)
(v) The signboard hung over Jesus’ head on the cross read: “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.” Before his Ascension into Heaven, Jesus declared: “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me; go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations … (Mt 28:18ff).”
(vi) In Matthew’s Second coming judgement, we read that Christ the King will come in glory to judge us on the day of the Last Judgment (Mtt 25:35).
(1) *NO REIGN (KINGDOM) LASTS UNTO ETERNITY EXCEPT CHRIST’S KINGSHIP*
From the dawn of civilization, kings have arisen who have dreamed of possessing a worldwide dominion, a universal kingdom that would last forever. These kings and their kingdoms have risen and fallen. Empires and Emperors have emerged and vanished, yet Jesus’ dynastic terrain remains for ever. In Africa, we have had life-presidents and those who have spent donkey years in offices:
a) Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, is currently the world’s longest-serving president.
He has been in office for 43 years since 1979.
b) Paul Biya, President of Cameron has been in office for 39 years since 1986
c) Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville has spent 36 years in office so far.
(d) Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has been in power since 1986
Yet, it must end one day. Where are the Caesars, Alexander the Great, Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler, Idi Amin of Uganda, Sani Abacha, Robert Mugabe, Idriss Derby of Chad and their empires? They have all gone and vanished. There is only one Kingship that is Eternal – “The Kingship of Jesus Christ.”
(2) *RULERS AND KINGS SHOULD ADOPT JESUS’ SACRIFICIAL AND SERVANT-LEADERSHIP STYLE*
Since every Kingship on Earth is a prototype of Jesus’ Kingship, leaders and rulers in various organs of the society should emulate Jesus’ altruistic kingship, whose reigns not from a throne, but from the gibbet of the cross- a symbol of sacrifice and selflessness.
(3) *WE MUST PLACE JESUS AT THE CENTRE AND SURRENDER ALL TO HIM AS OUR LORD, KING AND SAVIOUR*
If Jesus is truly our King, we ought to surrender our lives to Him every day and like Pope Pius XI exclaim, “The peace of Christ in the reign of Christ.”
We can achieve this by giving priority to all Jesus taught in our daily choices, especially in making moral decisions. We should not exclude Christ our King from any area of our personal or family lives. In other words, Christ must be in full charge of our lives, and we must give Christ sovereign power over our bodies, our thoughts, our heart, and our will.
Finally, we conclude with this saying of Charles Colson, the founder of the Christian Prison Fellowship, to reflect upon as we celebrate this great solemnity: “All the kings and queens I have known in history sent their people out to die for them. I only know one King who decided to die for his people….” That king is Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe. Pax Christi in regno Christi!
MAY GOD BLESS US TODAY AND GIVE US THE DOCILE HEART SO AS TO ACCEPT THE MASTER JESUS AS THE LORD, SAVIOUR AND KING OF OUR LIVES. AMEN.
FR. GERALD MUOKA
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