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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING

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This Sunday we celebrate the feast of Christ the King the last Sunday of the Churches year. The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, this is a way of life which leaves God out of a person’s thinking and has us living life as if God did not exist as we all know God does exist and we see this through so many people throughout history right down to ourselves.  In a week that has seen murder, mayhem, and attempts to dominate the world and its people the word ‘king’ might seem a bit  harsh. Having said all of this we need to remember that the kingship Jesus is talking about is not about thrones or dominions or anything as negative as all of the recent violent episodes that have taken place in our world. Jesus is not king in an earthly sense. The acclamations of the crowds on Palm Sunday and the enthusiastic endorsement of the disciples that Jesus is the Messiah might mislead us. Jesus is king because he is the anointed one of God, who comes to do the will of God.

Our Gospel reading for this Sunday has Jesus before Pilate. The exchange between Jesus and Pilate makes it clear that the execution of Jesus is a consequence of his rejection by the Establishment of the Jewish nation. The authorities of the time did not like the truth that Jesus was speaking about on so many things.  In the reading from John’s Gospel  which is also part of the Good Friday Passion Narrative we see  this conflict is described in terms of the “truth” that Jesus  has brought from his Father: “It is because I speak the truth that you cannot believe me” (8:45). Jesus urged the people of his time as he encourages you and me in our time to find again our true calling in the work of God, to be “a light to the nations,” showing the world the life and joy of a people living according to the ways they have learned from Jesus son of the Father. The way for us to be a light to the nations  is to work for the for the relief of the deprived, the oppressed and the outcast. When we do this we are serving Christ because he fully identifies himself with all those in need and we should do the same. The disciple of Jesus cannot afford the luxury of saying “I keep myself to myself” or “I do nobody any harm.”

To be deaf to the cries of the oppressed is to be deaf to Christ. To be blind to the agony of those around and about us is to be blind to Christ  At the end of this church year , we are asked to embrace the cross and walk in the victory of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. What began as a humble event with the birth of Jesus in the stable has changed the world. As we prepare for Christmas during Advent are we with Jesus and his call to us to be merciful as the father? Are our lives an open sacrifice in a demonstration of the love of God? We can be sure that nobody there on Good Friday  thought they were witnessing the death of a great King. The kind of kingship Jesus spoke about has to be learned neither in palaces nor in schools of diplomacy but among the poor and needy and those whom the world has forgotten. For our king is the servant of the poor and we only belong to his court when we do likewise become servants of the poor. As we begin the Jubilee Year of god’s mercy in a few days time on December 8th, let’s not forget the beautiful truths that we have learned, let’s continue to learn more about them, celebrate them, live them, and pass them on. So that when people look at us, they will see that “Christ is King to the glory of God our merciful father.”

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