Homily for Christ the King-Cycle B—2018

FIRST READING            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.

SECOND READING                  Revelation 1:5-8

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                John 18:33b-37

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.”

My sisters and brothers in Christ,

The words kingdom, dominion, king, ruler and such types of words help us understand that others can dominate or guide our lives.  We humans are social beings and belong to social groupings.  We may live in a town or a city; we might participate in various groups; we may have smaller or larger families.  All of these groupings indicate some kind of tie to people outside of ourselves.  None of us is alone in the world except by our own choosing.  And even then, if we choose to be alone, we are still related in various ways.

The challenge of the Solemnity of Christ the King is to belong to Jesus.  Belonging to Jesus does not cut us off from belonging to others but gives direction to that belonging.  Perhaps too often today we make our social belonging more important than belonging to Jesus and thus our faith is weak.  The invitation today is to make our belong to Jesus, our being part of the dominion of Jesus, the Kingdom of Jesus, the most important aspect of our life and all the other belongings that we may have only in terms of belonging to Jesus.

The first reading today is from the Book of Daniel and recounts a vision of the Prophet Daniel.  In that vision, all peoples, nations, and languages serve Him.  This is a vision of what can be, not a vision of what is.  Only be seeking the Lord faithfully will the world ever be this way.  At the end of time, this is what will be.

The second reading is from the Book of Revelation.   We are given a prophecy that at the end of time, everyone will see the Lord Jesus, even those who have pierced Him.  That is to say that even those of us who have wounded Christ with our sins can see Him in the end.  This is not a prophecy of universal salvation but a prophecy that at the end each of us will see the Lord.  This is the judgment that is to come.  Will we accept Him as Lord?

The Gospel of Saint John today makes clear to us that the Kingdom of Jesus is not a Kingdom of this world but a Kingdom in the world to come, life after death, life with Jesus forever—or life rejecting Jesus forever.  We must choose to be in His Kingdom or we shall live forever in the Kingdom of Satan.

The great Solemnity wants us all to be aware that we must choose in this life to live with the Lord Jesus.  We may perhaps not choose always consistently, but the Lord who knows our hearts and our beings will know whether we truly seek Him in our own small and broken fashion or whether we have chosen the Satan as our king.  Strong words for the last Sunday of our liturgical year!  Let us choose the Lord Jesus.  Come, O Lord, and draw us to yourself.

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip