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cappie

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE

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cappie

This Sunday is the last Sunday of the Church’s liturgical year. On this Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. Each year we set aside this Sunday to reflect upon this title that we have given to Jesus.

 In today’s reading, we hear  a dialogue between Jesus and Pilate. Pilate questions Jesus about the charges brought against him.  Pilate distances himself from the Jewish leaders who accuse Jesus; he is not a Jew, and he seems to want little to do with this Jewish affair.

 The dialogue between Jesus and Pilate, terse though it may be, illustrates the clashing of worldly and spiritual kingship. One is the threat of raw and absolute power with which we are all too familiar and to which we are often subjected. It is the power that has called us to war as a legitimate, but seldom necessary, solution. The other is a power that comes from disavowing the power of strength and might and turning to the power of love and redemption. The two are not compatible. We have to decide which we uphold.

Another topic in the Gospel is one very much at the centre of our politics and culture today, and that is truth. Jesus tells us he came into the world to testify to the truth. “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” There is no lie here; there is no shading or twisting of fact. The truth is that God loves the world, all of it, and gave his only Son to redeem it from sin and death. In a world where so many people define their own truth, Christians believe there is one truth that holds for all people everywhere and for all time. That is the truth to which Jesus testifies. Until people come to know and accept that truth, our world will be pulled in every direction but the right one!
 The words of Christ himself remind us that to belong to the truth means listening to his voice, which may mean tuning out the voices of others claiming to have the truth. In the Second Reading (Revelation 1:5-8), we are told, “Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.”
So, how do we live in this time as citizens of the Kingdom of Christ?

We live as people of the truth, meaning we offer ourselves as ambassadors of the Good News to everyone. This does not happen by a sheer act of will. It happens by cultivating our attitudes and behaviour through regular worship, the reading and study of Scripture, and our prayers. The more we feed from these sources, the more truthful our lives become, and less vulnerable to falsehood.

We live as servants of Christ the King. That means we find ways to serve him by serving others both within and without our faith community. If we think we can’t do that because of our limitations or fears, then we need to ask Jesus to show us what we can do. These actions replenish our depleted resolve and strengthen us for living in a chaotic world.

We live as a people who see opportunity in the community of others. This includes embracing the stranger, the refugee and the homeless, those who have no helper. Just singling out one person in these categories and finding ways to help them are ways to honour Christ the King.

We live as a people who hope in the life of the world to come. That doesn’t mean we discount this world altogether. It is God’s creation, given to us for our joy and benefit. But we know it is not where we are destined. Our hearts are restless as we await what is to come. Next Sunday, we begin a new church year and the season of Advent. As we sing, “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” we are challenged to bring that coming closer with our hearts and minds and strength.

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