Saturday, November 24, 2012

Homily for Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe Year B- Fr. Michael U Udoekpo

Homily for Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe Year B- Fr. Michael U Udoekpo
Readings: Dan 7:13-14; Ps 93:1, 1-2, 5; Rev 1:5-8 and John 18:33b-37

Belonging to the Kingship of Christ!

After our Thanksgiving few days ago there is no better way to celebrate the last Sunday in ordinary time than what we have today- the Solemnity of Christ the King; a King of love; a King of mercy full of kindness, a king of justice and King of the Universe. He controls all that we have. He is the sovereign and majesty of creation; the land, the sea, birds, animals and humans. There is no king like Him. He deserves our obedience, thankfulness and worship!

This reminds me of our childhood song growing up in a suburb of Southern Nigeria,-“kara enyong, kara- isong, kara uwem mi-oh-oh (2x) kara, kara (Ruler of heaven and earth, rule my life, rule my resources, my going and coming).

There are stories of kingship all over the place. We read about them in the Bible, especially in the Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles starting from Saul, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Josiah, down to Zedekiah, each of them were to act dependently and take orders from God, the true King of Israel.  Ideally, they were supposed to be representative of God, the ideal King. As we all know in the history of Israel and other world empires, it was not always the case, talk less of modern Presidencies.  In Israel’s history of kingship, Saul disobeyed, David faltered, and Solomon lived a lavish life style. Others took to idolatry and dictatorship! Very few earthly biblical kings were faithful to God.

The readings of today present us the clear irony or the contrast between the earthly kingship and the heavenly kinship. In the Gospel of today Pilate , ironically said to Jesus  “Are you the King of the Jews?  And Jesus answered “do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?’  By implication the Romans and the Jewish elites talked and knew about the Kingship of Christ. It is for this the very reason that Christ was put on trial.  By asking Pilate this question, Pilate is now on trial, while Jesus is the judge. As the conversation between Christ and Pilate went on, Pilate explicitly and ironically acclaims Jesus, King of the universe. Notice, again he said to Jesus, “Then you are a King?” and Jesus answers, “You say I am a King for this I was born and for this I came into the world.”

In John’s Gospel judgment is not trial conducted by God, but self-judgment brought on by one by refusing to be open to the truth.  Jesus’ kingship presents no danger to the political interest of Rome. But Pilate and the chief priests are concerned about earthly power. They are worried about money, politics and positions. They are concern about control. They are concern about themselves; the gains of the few. They are not looking at the larger picture. For Christ his kingdom does not belong to this “world.” His kingdom is not about what Pilate and the chief priests were after. But it is about the well-being of each and every one of us.

Similar contrast is drawn in the vision of Daniel in the first reading.  Daniel lived through the pains and persecutions of exile in the hands of cruel earthly kings, beginning from Nebuchadnezzar down to Antiochus. He foretells the downfall of these persecutors and the coming of the kingdom of God that would set up on behalf of his people. In his vision the earthly kingdoms are connected to beasts. While the heavenly kingdom, the kingdom of the holy ones is connected to one like human beings, “the Son of Man.”

This “son of Man’’ is the one Christ identifies himself with in the Synoptic Gospels (Mark 2:10, 28; 10:45; Luke 17; 22ff). He  has been given great power by God his Father to watch over us and to watch over the kings of the earth; including our  county majors, our congress men and women, our legislators, our supreme court, our president and all the branches of our civil leaders.

The “Son of Man” again is  Christ  talked about in that first reading, the Book of Revelation that:

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the first born of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. ….He is the Alpha and the Omega.”(Rev 1:5-8). And his kingdom is amazing!

While the earthly kingdoms are from below; Christ’s kingdom, the kingdom of the holy ones is from above. While the earthly kingdom is temporal and limited, the heavenly kingdom is universal and eternal. 

Let me live these with you for personal reflections!  In our daily interactions, dealings and relationship with one another and our neighbors, where would you like to belong: the kingdom of Pilate and the chief priests or the kingdom of Christ:  the temporal kingdom of this world or the permanent kingdom of Christ?

The kingdom of violent or the kingdom of peace; the kingdom of truth and life or the kingdom of falsehood and death; the kingdom of hatred or the kingdom of love, the kingdom of holiness and grace or the kingdom of profanity and awkwardness?

The kingdom of injustice or the kingdom of justice; the kingdom of disrespect to children, born and unborn, women, and the dignity of human persons or the kingdom of respect to all persons and lives, the kingdom of terrorism and war or the kingdom of, love, joy and peace?; the kingdom of the yawing gap between the extreme rich and the very poor or the kingdom where at least everyone has the basic necessities of life?