Christ OUR Lord

This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Since 1925, when Pope Pius XI instituted this Feast, the Church has made a strong statement time and again as we close our liturgical year. The message, in the midst of decades of change, remains simple: “Our King is Christ. His Kingship is different from all those before and to come. It is unlike anything with which we are otherwise familiar. Jesus Christ rules, not with political power or military might. He rules as one of us.”

To proclaim Christ king over all is one thing. To proclaim him as our king—or rather, for each of us to profess him as king over our individual lives—is yet another. Personal ownership of Christ’s kingship is to place the precious daily moments of our lives at his feet. For most of us this proves considerably more challenging than mounting a public outcry over the condition of society as a whole.

In order to truly embrace surrender to Christ as one’s King, there are difficult questions that we have to ask ourselves. The answers are seldom comfortable, and are not often easy to face. Today, as we remember who it is that is King of our very lives, we must ask ourselves: Is Christ the King of my life? If yes, do I surrender to his standard of living out his Kingship? How do I feel about my obligation to the least in our society? What am I doing to help meet the needs of the hungry and thirsty, the foreigner, those who are ill or in prison? Or am I among those who out of selfish interests frustrate all attempts to ensure that the needs of these most important people in Christ’s kingdom are met?

The extent to which we are able to ask and seek genuine answers to these questions is the extent to which we confess Christ is King. It is Jesus’ great love for us that defines his rule and so it must be what defines his subjects—us.

To be Christian means to have Jesus as our King. To have Jesus as King means to live according to the principles of his Kingship. To live according to the principles of Jesus’ Kingship means to help spread his love. We do this by our words and our actions, in our homes and places of work, before our friends and members of our family, and especially before those who are of special interest to Jesus during his earthly ministry: the poor, the weak, the widow, the orphan and the stranger. Or, to use the language of Jesus himself in the Gospels, to care for the least of our brothers and sisters.

The timing of this feast is itself fortunate. Time flows from this feast on the last Sunday of this liturgical year through the secular Thanksgiving feast and on to the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the next liturgical year, when we begin our preparation for the great Nativity of Our Savior. Thanksgiving is made even fuller in meaning for Christians. We are invited by grace to come to receive the gift of Jesus’ death for us on the cross for what it is and then to give back to our King through living our lives in Christ for the sake of the world.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end,” says the Lord. (Revelation 22:13) As we move from one Church year to the next, we also move along in the timeline of human life allotted to each one of us. The certainty of our own death is meant to illuminate our life and its purpose and culmination in Christ. On this great Feast as we consider the timeline of God’s unfolding plan, we are invited to re-dedicate ourselves to living differently. We are to live as though time really does matter. We are invited by grace to give ourselves away for others, to imitate the One who gave Himself for the entire human race. We are invited to pour ourselves out as Jesus did. If we live life this way, when we face Him on that final day, we will do so with our arms full of gifts borne in time. These gifts will have paved the way for eternity.

Let us walk through this last week of the year and join with those whom we love around the table of Thanksgiving. When we give thanks, let us express gratitude to whom it belongs. As we indulge ourselves in abundance—of food, of joy, of love—let us call to mind those whom Jesus loves above all others, those who go without. In acknowledging Jesus as our King, let us open ourselves to the gift of the Mass which God has given us as a way to celebrate thanksgiving over and over again. The word “eucharist” means thanksgiving and each time we enter into the great prayer of the Mass we enter into the Kingship of Jesus as he poured himself out for our sake.

In these ways: asking of ourselves where we have room in our lives to live as true subjects of our loving, selfless King, stretching ourselves to better engage with our sisters and brothers who want or are strangers, to gather more enthusiastically and more often at the Thanksgiving table of our Lord, we more fully celebrate Jesus as King. Then, opened, stretched, and humbled, let us walk the way of faith into the new Liturgical season, Advent, getting ourselves and the world of our own time ready for the coming of Christ the King.

All Praise be to Christ the King. Amen.

 

 

 

 

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