Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Solemnity of Jesus Christ the King Year C

Readings: 2 Sam 5:1-3; Col 1:12-20; Lk 23:35-43

Some of you might recall the movie, For Greater Glory, a true story on the Cristeros War (1926-1929) between the people of Mexico and the atheistic Mexican government. In that movie, our Mexican brothers and sisters go to their death with these words, "Viva Cristo el Rey." Long live Christ the King! The movie features a young man named Luis Magaña, a teenage boy, Jose Sanchez and a priest in his mid-thirties, Fr. Miguel.  When asked to bow before the government, they all say: I am a loyal son of Mexico, but I belong first to Jesus. Viva Cristo el Rey! These three – now Blessed Luis Magaña, Blessed Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio and St. Miguel Pro represent hundreds who gave their lives for Christ in the late 1920s. These witnesses were totally committed to Jesus Christ their king. You and I are challenged by two basic questions. Who is your king? What kingdom do you serve? The account of David’s anointing in the first reading speaks of his closeness to the people and his future role as a shepherd-king. David is the deliverer and shepherd of his people, thus pre-figuring the mystery of Christ, who is King, Shepherd and at the same time the lamb slain on the cross for his sheep. That is the point of Luke’s crucifixion narrative, in which everything said about Jesus comes to be true: the “chosen one”, the “Messiah”, the “Saviour of all”; the one who saves himself by surrendering his own life. Indeed the readings lead us to meet Christ, who, in Paul’s Letter to the Colossians, "is the image of the unseen God and the first born of all creation, for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth: everything visible and everything invisible...everything was created through him and for him"(Col. 1. 15-16). In this beautiful hymn that is highly poetic, St. Paul gives us a glimpse of the Father, who sums up all creation in Christ.

St. Paul's meditation on the Father summing up and reconciling all things in and through Christ, is one of the most beautiful prayers of thanksgiving to the Father. We are invited to offer our gratitude to the Father for all that he has done for us throughout the Liturgical Year that comes to an end this Sunday. Thus in the Eucharist, we offer to the Father a sacrifice of thanksgiving through Christ, the King, who by his death and resurrection enters into an eternal and universal kingdom: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace. The prayer after Communion beautifully sums up the mystery of Christ we celebrate this Sunday: “Lord, you give us Christ, the King of all creation, as food for everlasting life. Help us to live by his Gospel and bring us to the joy of his kingdom”. This last Sunday of the Liturgical Year challenges us to be more determined to live by the values and principles of Christ our King, and to be willing to sacrifice ourselves for those values. Our baptism into the life of Christ was and continues to be a bold statement to the world: Jesus is Lord and King of our lives. We dream His dreams. We share His hopes. We believe that nothing, not even death, can take away the dream of His Kingdom from us. The Solemnity of Christ the King is not just a conclusion of the church year. It takes us to the beginning: ushering in the King who is, who reigns in our hearts, and who is yet to come, a new Advent. So what message do we take home this Sunday? 1) We are invited to live by the Gospel Christ preached; by His values of peace, Justice and love that Christ shared; and by rules that govern His Kingdom –the Commandments. 2) The readings exhort us to let Christ reign in our lives, so we may be truly united with him, and thus be effective witness in Christ’s kingdom. 3) As we conclude the Liturgical Year, let us pray that you and I continue to be faithful servants of our King; that we may continue to bear good fruit for the growth of his Kingdom.

©2016 John S. Mbinda

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