Christ the King 2021: A Good King

Today’s homily is for the The Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe, Nov. 21, 2021, and the readings can be found by clicking here. The video can be viewed by clicking here soon.

My boys and I have once again committed ourselves to watching The Lord of the Rings–and my wife, who has little patience for battles, usually escapes for some alone-time while myself and my boys marvel at the discipline and courage of the woodland elves! Last night we watched The Two Towers, where King Theoden took his people to find protection in Helm’s deep. 300 men and boys–mostly farmers–against 10,000 orks are hardly good odds, but those were the numbers and in a very powerful scene, Theoden musters up his own strength to give his people words of encouragement and optimism, that they might fight bravely to the end… because that’s what a king does. He moves his people, with what little they have, to hold their chin high, and to fight bravely–and of course, they did. Theoden was a good king.

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This was Daniel’s vision some two thousand six hundred years ago. Daniel lived about 620–538 B.C. He was carried off to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, in 605, and then saw Assyria overthrown by the Medes and Persians, under Cyrus the Great. Daniel saw Jesus’ day in a wonderful vision that was our first reading today. What a treasure the Sacred Scriptures are to us. 

Daniel never saw the coming of the King of Israel in real life, and the disciples mostly didn’t understand and didn’t realize they were in the midst of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords most of the time, though Simon Peter answered correctly when he said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God,” in Matthew 16:16. In fact, John’s Gospel chapter 20 verse 30, reads, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.” 

Daniel had a vision, Peter recognizes Jesus as the fulfillment of that vision, Pilate questions whether Jesus is or is not the king, and John writes the whole Gospel for the sole purpose that we might believe and have life in the name of Jesus, the King of the Universe. Do you believe Jesus is king of the entire universe? All the galaxies, solar systems, planets, earth itself and all the people on it? Maybe a simpler question–is Jesus even the Lord of our own life? Our family life? Our work life? Our prayer life?

I think we’re quick to say yes many times, but how do we know, how would someone else know, if Jesus was indeed the King of our conscience, our soul, our body? Today’s gospel is helpful. Jesus answered, “You say I am a king…Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” If we belong to the truth, and listen to his voice, we are his. We hear our Lord’s voice in the ministers of the Church, in the teachings of the Church, in our conscience, and especially in God’s Sacred Word. One of my favorite quotes from the Second Vatican Council is from Dei Verbum, God’s Word, chapter 21. It reads, “In the Sacred Scriptures, the father who is in heaven meets his children with great love and speaks with them; and the force and power in the Word of God is so great that it stands as the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her sons, the food of the soul, the pure and everlasting source of spiritual life.” 

In other words, we need to listen to the King. Jesus is the King. The battle is at hand, the forces of evil number far more than 10,000 and continue to stand against God, but we who are his, must listen to his voice, his truth, from Sacred Scripture, the Church and it’s ministers, and in the depths of our soul. Today we celebrate Christ the King of the Universe – our everlasting protector and savior, but we must first bend the knee. Not an easy thing to do. No wonder we enter the Church and genuflect. Do it with conviction, make the sign of the Cross, and be roused to greatness and courage by the voice of the king. The battle is at hand. The kingdom of life and love needs warriors. The only question is, are you in?

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