We call Jesus Lord because at his resurrection God gave him all power in heaven and earth; he must be king, scripture says until he puts all things under his feet. But our gospel reminds us that Christ is not a worldly king lording it over people but a king of love on the cross. Lets confess ways we fail our gentle Lord..
Do you remember the old stations of the cross. They were full of sweat and blood and a sorrowful Savior rebuking us for our sins. They were partly right, Christ’s suffering were real and a result of our sins. But they missed the fact that Christ also became king and lord of the world on the cross. There he revealed a God who triumphs through infinite suffering love. That’s why our gospel for the feast of Christ the King features him not on a heavenly throne but on the cross. It shows him, in the words of the old hymn, as “king of love on Calvary”. He made that choice at the beginning of his ministry when, in the desert, Satan tempted him to be a corrupt power-loving earthly Hitler. He chose instead to be scripture’s suffering Messiah. And He resisted the apostles also in this. They too wanted him to be a political Messiah and themselves sitting at his right hand in power. Christ had to say to Peter, “get behind me Satan” when Peter wanted to stop him going to Jerusalem to die. Only at Pentecost did the apostles understand the wisdom of the cross.
Its the lesson we must learn too. If we want to be like Christ, his follower, we too must be kings of love, humble servants of God and others. Christ was that to the last drop of his blood and he passed the chalice on to us: “love one another as I have loved you”. He loved us to the extent of giving up everything, even his very soul at last, not only to save the world but to be an example to humanity. For the main temptation each person faces is to pursue one’s own power, wealth and glory at the expense of God, what’s right, and the poor. Its because the church teaches Christ’s law of selfless love that many abandon God and the church today. The world tells them to serve self and their desires regardless, to avoid the cross of doing what’s right, of worshipping God in spirit and in truth, of giving until it hurts for others. Just as the world would have us priests avoid the cross of priestly celibacy, and religious avoid the crosses of obedience, chastity and poverty. Some laugh at the lay person who sacrifices time in church miniseries or charitable works, or give short shift to couples who insist on marriage faithfulness.
Yet to be such kings of love like Christ is our true nobility. The other is the way of the world of which Satan is king: living it up regardless of who we hurt, greedily getting as much money as we can at whatever the cost to our souls or others, being totally ruthless and selfish, dumping God if his worship is inconvenient or challenges our immoral living. All this leaves us empty at last before eternity and spawns a hell on earth. By contrast Christ’s way of love, of weekly worship and daily charity may involve some suffering but it builds up our souls in deeper joy and peace. Moreover, we thereby make a difference for good by our lives and help to make the world a better place for all. And having built treasure in heaven we flower at last into eternal life. For the world’s ruthless values pass and leave us empty at last but Christ is king of life, love, freedom and peace both for our happiness in this world and forever and ever, amen.
As God’s own, adoring Our King and imitating his self-giving faith, love and goodness to save the world, we profess our faith
Prayers of the Faithful
For the leaders of the church throughout the world that they may serve the kingdom of God and bring all to fullness in Christ.
For civil leaders that in serving their own kingdom of earthly power and glory they may not put any obstacles in the way of the growth of the kingdom of God in the world.
For youth, may they see beyond the cruel passing kingdoms of this world of which Satan is lord to the deeper and more enduring Kingdom of God in Christ, and remain true and practicing members of the holy church, his flawed but essential human instrument.
For ourselves in our homes, work places and communities that we may be witnesses to the kingdom of God and bring its eternal riches to our children and all we come into contact with.
For the sick, the aged, and the lonely that through our love and care they may know the consolations of the Kingdom of God.
For the dead that they may come to the final kingdom prepared for them since the foundation of the world, helped by our powerful communal prayers as the body of Christ..
And we ask these prayers through Christ our Lord, to whom belongs the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever, amen.
Kerry is called “The Kingdom”. Apparently it belonged to a ancient kingdom that centered in the Southern area of Ireland. When Kerry played Cork recently in Gaelic football I marvelled at the fervor of its supporters. The same is true of the devotees of English soccer clubs. They wear the jerseys with pride and banners that say “keep the faith”. We should do the same and be as fervent in serving the Kingdom of God and wear our baptismal garments until death. We pray to Mother Mary the mother of the church to make us true in this, unto the great eternal All Ireland or Premiership Cup in Heaven..Hail Mary