Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nov 22: Christ the King (34th Sunday) Year B

Nov 22: Christ the King (34th Sunday) Year B
Readings: Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18:33-37

The Solemnity of Christ the King ends the Liturgical Year. It was established by Pope Pius XI to celebrate the jubilee year and sixteenth century of the Council of Nicea (325 AD). I once heard the story of a man giving a wonderful testimony to the kingship of Jesus. He was on a business trip in Boston, far from his wife and two young children. He especially missed his three-year-old daughter, whom he adored. That night he had a horrible dream. In it he was seated on a staircase, holding his dying daughter in his arms. He could do nothing for her and was sobbing bitterly. When he awoke, he immediately called his wife in California. She assured him everything was ok, the children were fine – and she reminded him that it was 2 AM. Still agitated, he called his father who lived in another country. His dad was surprised to get a call in the middle of the night, but also happy to hear his son's voice. The man told his father about the terrible dream. His dad spoke some profound, powerful words, “Remember that everything you have, everything you cherish – even your daughter – is only yours on loan. Jesus has entrusted your family to you – and you must give him thanks every day for such beautiful gifts. Care for them in Jesus name.” When he hung up the phone, that man knelt down by his hotel bed and prayed. “Jesus, protect my family. Help me to be a good husband and a good father. I am grateful for all you have given me. I acknowledge you as my Lord and King.” The readings of this Sunday invite us to celebrate Christ the King who is exalted and humiliated at the same time. The Book of Daniel, written in a time of severe persecution speaks of one like the Son of Man (one in human form), who is a humble king in contrast to the crumbling powers of world empires. In the Old Testament history, no other king had ever conquered sin and death. The first reading therefore points to Jesus who did so by dying and rising from the dead. He is a different type of a King who saves others by his own death and resurrection, and thereby enters into the glory of the Father. The writer of the Book of Revelation shows that the glorification of Christ does not come at a cheap price. The King of all creation, is revealed to us on the cross for the love of the Father. Christ is a King with a difference, a King who brings justice, love, peace and healing to all people by his suffering, death and resurrection in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Gospel presents one of the most dramatic scenes in the New Testament, in which an arrogant Pilate learns ironically that Jesus is a king, but of different kind he could not deal with. When asked if he is a king, Jesus does not claim the title, but says, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.” Jesus further shows that his kingship is one that witnesses to the truth which implies the revelation of God’s wisdom. Jesus speaks the truth about God and humanity, and defends that truth with his blood on the Cross. Accepting such truth leads to freedom. So what is the message? 1) We can accept or reject the author truth and life, or we can reject him cynically like Pilate. 2) Like the man in the story, we have to kneel down in prayer and ask Jesus to transform us into his own image, as instruments of justice, peace and love. 3) Being a member of Christ’s kingdom means being ready to let Christ into our lives; it means that Jesus is in-charge of my life, my family in brief Jesus reigns over my life.

©2009 John M. Mbinda

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