Deacon Fred's Homilies
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe - The Kingship of Christ
Now, some here might be thinking that the evidence all around us seems to point to a society that is increasingly rejecting its Christian heritage. While there is truth to this, I would suggest that it’s not that simple. Every age since the life, death and resurrection of Jesus has been one of both light and shadows. No people or nation has ever been an exemplar of what it means to be Christian. Look at our own history. In the 19th Century, the slavery of millions was countenanced as an economic necessity in the South. Yet, in that same century, entire families in the North, including small children, were cruelly exploited in 60 or 70 hour workweeks. Not surprisingly, Northerners would often condemn their southern brethren and Southerners would condemn their northern brethren and both would leave themselves unscathed. Then, just as the civil rights movement was making great strides in the latter half of the 20th Century, the U.S. Supreme Court fabricated a constitutional right to contraception in 1965, which was then followed in 1973 by a constitutional right to abortion and in 2015 with a constitutional right to so-called same-sex marriage — ALL of these using the same specious reasoning.
My brothers and sisters, there has never, in fact, been a golden age of Christianity — the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God when Jesus returns has not yet happened — and, therefore, we STILL struggle today as have all Christians for the past 2000 years to go and make disciples of all the nations and to build a culture of life and civilization of love. Today, while we continue to soldier on, we celebrate the fact that the defining victory of that struggle — the sacrifice of the Son of David and King of the Jews on the Cross — has already been won.
Today’s feast of the Kingship of Christ was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 to remind the Christian faithful that Jesus is the King of the Universe and that His Kingdom will never end. Listen to the words of this pope in establishing the feast that we celebrate today: “If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should … love God above all things, and cleave to him alone.”
Unsurprisingly, today’s Scripture readings all have the centrality of Christ and of His Kingship as their common theme. Paul presents Christ to us as the first-born of all creation and describes those of us who have been baptized as heirs of His Kingdom. We are, indeed, a royal priesthood, ANOINTED with his power of mercy. This anointing makes it possible for US to proclaim the Kingdom filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
My brothers and sisters, returning to Chesterton’s question, what is wrong with the world is that we do not pay enough attention to what is right with it. Truth, beauty and goodness are what is right with it. The innocent trust and wonder of a child is what is right with it. The vitality and idealism of young people and young married couples are what is right with it. Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the two hands of the God the Father, are what is right with it. In fact, just two weeks ago, our youth group hosted a prayer service here in the Cathedral in which many of our young people were able not only to worship the Body of Christ, but to pray over people, invoking the Holy Spirit and experiencing the power of God. Several people received words of knowledge as well as healing of body, mind and heart. I witnessed this myself and will be making myself available after Mass for anyone who would like to receive prayer and healing.
My brothers and sisters, the Kingship of Christ is not something of the past, as if Jesus were a spent force — it is a living reality and a promise of an even greater future. When the day comes that a society is brimming with disciples who are filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, whose hearts are of flesh and no longer of stone, then and only then, will we live in a Christian society where all are treated as beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord. Today, two and a half billion people — about 1 out of every 3 people on the face of the earth —identify themselves as Christians and, yet, we have only begun to scratch the surface.
On this great feast of Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, let us call upon the Lord to shower his spiritual gifts upon US so that WE, clothed with power, may get about the work of building his Kingdom and a culture and civilization that deserves to be called “Christian.”