Saturday, November 23, 2013

Homily 34th Sunday of Year C(Christ the King): Michael U Udoekpo

Homily 34th Sunday of Year C(Christ the King): Michael U Udoekpo
Readings: 2 Sam 5:1-3; Ps 122:1-5; Col 1:12-20 and Luke 23:35-43

 Christ our Universal King

 Today we celebrate the universal kingship of Christ, the Son of David. It is a celebration of true leadership for the poor, the rich, the needy, those in prison, and those out of prison. We celebrate unity, humility, care, love, hard work, endurance, compassion, the good shepherd motifs, universalism, forgiveness, a sense of common good, prudence, truthfulness, selflessness, faith, hope, patience and trust in God’s plan that genuine leadership bears.

The first reading ( 2 Sam 5:1-3) of today reminds us of the unique kinship of David, his family and human problems, his struggle with Saul, but also the everlasting covenant God had established with his house. The young handsome David succeeded Saul as the king of Israel, since Saul had disobeyed God, and had broken the ban (1 Sam 15). David rose and consolidated power in central place of Jerusalem, with a sense of universalism, unity, togetherness and divine promise. We are told, “In those days, all the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said, ‘here we are, your bone and your flesh…. And when all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron, King David made an agreement with them there before the Lord, and they anointed him king of all Israel.”

David was never a king of some elders, some few tribes or some parts of Israel, but the King of all Israel, the king of everyone, a theme that is resolutely developed in 1 &2 Chronicles. This separate David from several other divisive and idolatrous kings of Israel, we have come to learn from the passages of the Scriptures.

 David did so well and stood out among others that generations of prophets (Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah etc) would yearn for another David. Late historical books and midrashim like the Book of Ruth would present the worthy Ruth as the great, great grand mother of Jesus(Matt 1:5), the “Son of David.”

In his ministry down to his passion on the Cross, this Son of David, Christ, ruled and ministered with patient, compassion, prudence, love and kindness. He led by examples. Ironically, both Pilate and those who prosecuted Jesus proclaimed him the king of the Jews and of the Gentiles by their ironical interrogations and the inscription they placed on Jesus cross in several languages “This is the King of the Jews.” Even the criminal on the cross was moved to recognize the universal kingship of cross, when he said, “Jesus remember me in your kingdom” (Luke 23:35-43//John 18:33-37).

Paul in the Second reading re-emphasized this kingdom of redemption and forgiveness of sins when he says " God has delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son… for in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him reconcile all things to him, making peace by the blood of his cross, through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven" ( Col 1:12-20).

For those of us on earth, living in nations, families and institutions of ironies, the challenges grow every day. They are enormous. The challenges for our elected, ecclesiastical and biological leaders(at all levels) to lead selflessly, with peace, patience, humility, transparency, care, love, hard work, endurance, compassion, sense of universalism and shared common good, harmony, exercise of  administrative prudence, truthfulness, selflessness, faith, hope, patience, availability to our subjects, and trust in God’s plan that we saw in David and in Christ Jesus.