November 22, 2020: Homily- Solemnity of Jesus Christ the King

Today, the last Sunday in the liturgical year, we celebrate and confess Christ as our king. The Scripture Readings revolve around the Last Judgment scene of Jesus Christ coming in glory and power. The Feast was also a reminder to honor Christ as the King of the Universe by enthroning Jesus in our hearts, surrendering our lives to God. This feast challenges us to see Christ the King in everyone, especially those whom our society considers the least important, and to treat each person with the same love, mercy, and compassion Jesus showed.

When Jesus was crucified, a wooden sign was nailed over his head with the inscription INRI, which in Latin means “Jesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum”; in English “Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews.”

Is Christ really a king? Standing before Pilate, Christ did not deny that he was indeed a king. But then he said, “My kingdom does not belong to this world” (Jn 18,36). Jesus’ reply means he was not the kind of king Pilate imagined: a military or political ruler, but rather a spiritual ruler.

Our readings for today are worth pondering because these talk about some themes of the end-time.

The first theme that the readings give is one of an assembly or a gathering. In human terms, a gathering or an assembly is an event that we need to be prepared for, and at the same time, an event in which we put our hopes and expectations. We have nothing to hope for but a success of the gathering. Similarly, the gathering in the end-time is something we look forward to and a big spectacular event, for sure. What makes it more amazing is that all will be in communion with Christ.

The second theme is one of judgment. The first reading and the gospel both talk about the separation “of rams and goats,” “of sheep and goats.” Here, there can be a different feeling. On the first theme (i.e., assembly) there is a kind of excitement, expectation, and joy. But here, on the second theme, there could be an element of fear and anxiety because of the separation, because of the coming judgment. He will decide on that final day who will or will not share his kingdom forever. This could have bring worries and fear. It’s a dreadful scene.

But for those who’re faithful to Jesus’ teachings, it will be a day of glory. If you read carefully the parable of the Last Judgment (Mt. 25, 31-46), you will notice that our judgment will not depend on our intelligence, good looks, fame or fortune, nor even our long prayers. Obviously, these are important but they should be put at the service of the “least, last, and lost” of society. Hence, the question we shall be asked: How much have you done or not done for them?

Jesus as king will become visible in the last judgment but, according to the parable, he is already present among us–although hidden in the face of the poor, the hungry, the sick, the suffering.

The story is told about a Roman soldier Martin of Tours who lived in the 3rd century.

One cold day as he was entering a city, a beggar stopped him and asked for alms. Martin had no money, and the beggar was shivering in cold. Martin took off his cloak, cut it in two and gave half of it to the beggar.

That night, in a dream, he saw Jesus wearing half of the Roman soldier’s cloak. Asked where he got it, Jesus replied, “My servant Martin gave it to me.” The story illustrates Christ’s words: “Whatever you did to the least of my brethren, you did for me.”

Christ who “went about doing good” is our model for living. If we want to walk in his footsteps, we must look for opportunities to help people. So, if we want to enter Heaven, we have to do acts of mercy. It’s not that easy but that’s the only way we can become fully human and fully Christian.

Third, it is important to reflect on who is this God who will stand before us on judgment day. Christ is not a mere judge. Christ, according to the second reading, will stand as King and Lord. In fact, everything will be subjected to him. Acknowledging him as Lord would mean allowing him to rule over our lives. Indeed, he is the master of our life.

Conclusion: The Solemnity of Christ the King is not just the conclusion of the Church calendar year. It is also a summary of our lives as Christians. On this great Feast, let us resolve to give Christ the central place in our lives and to obey His commandment of love by sharing our blessings with all his needy children. Let us ask the Lord to help us serve the King of Kings as He presents Himself in those who reach out to us. “To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His Blood and made us a Kingdom, priests for His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Rv 1:5b-6).

Older Homilies