Homily Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Year C (Christ the King): Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo· 2 Sam 5:1-3;
· Ps 122:1-5;
· Col 1:12-20
· Luke 23:35-43
Christ, our King and Redeemer!
Today we celebrate the universal kingship of Christ- the Son of David. This celebration in a sense reminds us of many things, particularly of the true meaning of divine anointing-leadership, or kingship for everyone, in spite the sense of divisiveness that pervades our societal politics today. The kingship after the style of Christ is achievable provided we recognize that there are still something in leadership called, humility, care, love, hard work, endurance, compassion, fairness, and forgiveness, a sense of common good, prudence, truthfulness, selflessness, faith, hope, patience and trust in God’s plan evidence in the ministry of Jesus, our master King and Redeemer! This is recognition is more true, and urgent granted that today, there may be different nations capitals (especially the US) experiencing changes in leadership from President Barack Obama to the President Elect, Donald J. Trump. Remember, there would always be changes. So was, even the case with Saul and David, in biblical story, familiar to us.
In 1 Samuel 8 the people asked Samuel “give us a king so that we might be like other nation.” Saul became that first king of Israel only to be rejected after in 1 Samuel 15 for his disobedience, the breaking of the harem/ban. David became his successor, through divine anointing.
Today’s first reading ( 2 Sam 5:1-3) underlines 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(2 Sam 7; 1 Chr 17). Through divine intervention “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 rose and consolidated power in central place of Jerusalem, with a sense of universalism, unity, togetherness and divine promise. Significantly, 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, and in Second Temple Judaism. Unity separate David from several other divisive and idolatrous kings of Israel. David is model for us. He challenges modern divisiveness in our homes, families and nations. No wonder the generations of prophets (Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah etc) and later biblical books (Ruth etc) would glorify and yearn for another king like David. And Jesus, certainly, for example, in the book of Ruth is be traced back to the tribe of David. He is the son of David (Mk 11:9, 10).
This Son of David, unlike the secular kings of his time(Herod, Pilates) and some of our contemporary kings and nation's leaders today, in his ministry down to his passion on the Cross, ruled and ministered with patient, compassion, prudence, love and kindness. From the strength of the ross, he reaches out to the poor, the despised, the rejected, the weak and the strong. He led by examples. He led from the front not from behind! He led from the cross!
What an irony, Pilate and those who prosecuted him, in today’s gospel proclaimed him the king of the Jews and of the Gentiles not only by those ironical interrogations, but also by the inscription they placed on his cross in several languages “This is the King of the Jews.” What a divine intervention! A divine anointing, like in the case of David. On that same cross, the criminal on the other side of the cross was moved to recognize the universal kingship Christ, saying “Jesus remember me in your kingdom” (Luke 23:35-43//John 18:33-37). Its a kingdom of love and peace; a king of forgiveness, a king joy; a kingdom of mercy. In spite of our human weaknesses, brokenness, divisiveness and disunity, we are invited to partake and work for the kingdom of Christ.
Paul in the Second reading speaks of this kingdom in terms of redemption and forgiveness of sins, particularly of disunity. Paul 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 this divisive earth, living in broken nations, broken families and institutions of ironies and injustices, democratic and republican institutions, diverse political parties, with different ideologies, the challenges grow every day. They are enormous. The challenges for our elected, (at all levels) to lead selflessly and peacefully, with 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, models of a true Kingship!