CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY: HOMILY by Fr. Matthias Lusembo
THEME: THE CHARITABLE WILL GO TO THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST
Objective: That we do more charitable works.
The Church’s liturgical year concludes with this feast of Christ the King, instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 to reassert the sovereignty of Christ and the Church over all forms of government and to remind Christians of the fidelity and loyalty they owe to Christ who made them future heirs of his kingdom.
The title “Christ the King” has its roots in Scripture. a) In Lk 1:33, we read: “The Lord God will make him a king, as his ancestor David was, and He will be the king of the descendants of Jacob forever.” The Angel Gabriel was speaking of Jesus.
- b) The Magi from the Far East came to Jerusalem and asked King Herod about Jesus: (Mt. 2:2) “Where is the baby born to be the king of the Jews? We have come to worship him.” In fact, the Kingdom of God is the center of Jesus’ teaching and the phrase ‘kingdom of God’ occurs in the Gospels 122 times, 90 of which are spoken by Jesus.
- c) During the royal reception given to Jesus on Palm Sunday, the Jews shouted: (Lk.19: 38) “God bless the king, who comes in the name of the Lord.”
- d) The signboard hanging over Jesus’ head on the cross read: “Jesus the Nazarene, king of the Jews.”
- e) Before his ascension into heaven, Jesus declared: (Mt. 28:18): “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.” Implying that He is the King of the universe.
- f) Finally, in Matthew 25:31, we read that “the Son of Man” (meaning Jesus) will come as King in glory and sit on his royal throne. He will welcome into heaven those who will have helped the needy (Mt 25:35-36); those who will have accepted his command to love one another.
In Ezekiel (34:11-17), the Kingship of Christ consists in being the Good Shepherd, who looks after and tends His sheep, rescuing them from evil, feeding them, healing the sick, judging them, separating them from goats and giving them rest.
According to Saint Paul, Christ will raise His sheep from the dead, destroy death and all His enmity, to establish a Kingdom of love and justice, in which there will be no discrimination, no classes of peoples, but brothers and sisters in God the Father, caring for one another (1 Cor 15:20-28).
As disciples of Christ, we participate in establishing His Kingdom, by preparing and participating in His liturgy, by carrying out our different ministries, like the Eucharistic Ministry, Readers, Ushers, Ministry for the Youth, for Catechists, visiting and caring for the sick, cleaning sacred vessels and altar linens, evangelizing, communication, assisting the poor, Christianizing our families and participation in pro-life movements.
In Matthew 25:31-46, Christ Himself, the King of Kings, the Good Shepherd of all human beings, on the last day, will separate those who will have been obedient to His commandment of love from the disobedient ones. The criteria, which He is going to use is: “I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave drink; a stranger and you welcomed me; naked and you clothed me; ill and you cared for me; in prison and you visited me.” (Mt 25:35-36).
This means that in order to enter the Kingdom of God, one must practice the greatest commandment of the law, which is love God with all your heart. And this love is verified in the love of neighbor. The Kingdom of God is a state of perfect happiness. This happiness comes from giving, because “there is more happiness in giving than in receiving”. (Acts 20:35).
The ultimate way through which Christ establishes His Kingdom is through His death and resurrection, the apex of His self-giving love, which we celebrate in the Holy Eucharist. Our participation in the Holy Eucharist is our pledge that we shall continue to spread His Kingdom through works of charity, well-knowing that the charitable will go to the Kingdom of Christ.
As we celebrate the kingship of Christ today, let us remember that we become Christ the King’s subjects when we sincerely accept him as the Commander in Chief of all our thoughts, words and actions. We must give him sovereign power over our bodies, our thoughts, our heart and our will.
In every moral decision we face, there’s a choice between Christ the King and Barabbas, and the one who seeks to live in his kingdom is the one who says to Christ, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.” We need to always ask ourselves the question, “What does Jesus, my King, want me to do or say in this situation?” Am I trying to please him or myself?
We need to listen to him, love him, serve him, and follow him by living our lives fully in the spirit of the Gospel. By cultivating in our lives the gentle and humble mind and compassionate heart of Christ, we show others by words and deeds that Jesus Christ is indeed our king and that he is in charge of our lives. Let us also imitate Christ in his type of leadership in our homes and communities; a leadership of love and concern for the other.
On behalf of Christ Our King, I thank all those who offer their time, talents and treasure to expand and maintain His Kingdom. May Jesus bless you abundantly and enable you to offer Him even more