Homily for Christ the King-Cycle B—2009 Daniel 7:13-14
As the visions during the night continued, I saw one like a Son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; when he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.
Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. All the peoples of the earth will lament him. Yes. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.”
Gospel Cycle Cycle B
Pilate said to Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.” So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
We continue the theme from last Sunday, about the coming of the Lord at the end of time. This Sunday, however, we focus on Jesus’ role at the end of time as King of the Universe. Just as last Sunday, however, we can say that if the Lord Jesus is not our king now, how would we expect Him to be our king at the end of our life?
Perhaps the figure of a king does not mean as much to us today as it may have to earlier generations of Christians. On the other hand, if we read the Old Testament, the Jewish Scriptures, we do come to understand much more about kings and the symbols of kingship.
In the Old Testament we find that the king is really deputizing for God and must try always to do the will of God and lead the people in God’s ways. A true king is one who always seeks to know what God wants and who is first of all a servant of the living God. A king wants all of his people to have true life and to have abundant life. A king in the image of God wants everyone to have the best of everything. This is the meaning of the type of peace that we find idealized in the Old Testament. It is not just spiritual goods that the king wants for his people, but material goods, physical goods as well.
Always in the Old Testament the king is an intermediary for God Himself. We can understand fairly easily that when a king is bad, the people begin to long for God Himself to be their king. It is in this understanding of our deepest longings that we can understand the Book of Daniel when it begins to put together the figure of an ideal king with the figure of God.
Jesus comes to us as our Lord and Savior. He begins to show us what true kingship is and how it serves others. Instead of dominating us, this true service of leadership helps us become ourselves as God created us to be. For this to happen, we must accept the kingship of Jesus Christ and allow Him to transform us. He not only frees us from our sins, but he transforms us into a holy people, a people set apart, a people who are happy to do God’s will and rejoice in knowing the Lord. The Book of Revelation speaks strongly to this reality today.
It is John’s Gospel today that tells us to listen to the voice of Jesus if we want to live in truth. May this celebration today help us live this mystery of our faith more profoundly and rejoice as we follow our Lord. Surely we are sinners and surely we fail our Lord, but just as surely it is His love that always draws us to continue following Him with total confidence and trust. Let us rejoice in our King!