Today we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. I’d like to begin with a question. What would you do if you were “king”? Think about it for a moment. What would you do if you were king? Some of us might use our power to have our brothers and sisters be our servants…bring us snacks while we watch TV and play video games, do our homework and our chores. Some of us might use our wealth to buy a bigger house equipped with all the latest technological gadgets; hire a chauffeur, a maid, a landscaper…someone to do all the things that would give us more time to enjoy our families and our own interests. Some of us might direct our efforts at hunting down the terrorists who have caused so much pain and suffering in the lives of innocent people in order to get revenge. What would you do if you were king?
The Feast of Christ the King celebrates Jesus as the world’s true king. In today’s Gospel Jesus stands bound before Pilate and declares that His notion of being king is not like the world’s notion of king. As King, Jesus came to testify to the truth… the truth about God and man. Christ the King came to reveal God to man and to reveal man to himself. “What is truth?” Pilate asks Christ the King. The truth is revealed to us by the way Christ the King lived his life.
The truth is…we are called to give glory, honor and praise to God as creator of the universe. Christ the King lived his entire life giving glory, honor and praise to God by being obedient to the will of his heavenly Father. The truth is…we are called to serve others, not to be served. Christ the King washed the feet of his disciples and said to them, “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.” The truth is…seeking God is the most important, not the pursuit of wealth and riches. Christ the King, who had nowhere to rest his head, told the rich man, “Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven; then come, follow me.” The truth is…we are to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us and to be dispensers of mercy, not to retaliate and seek revenge. Christ the King hung on the cross amidst the jeering of the Jewish leaders and the crowds and called out, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
Today in the Liturgical life of the Church we celebrate a type of “New Year’s Eve”. Today is the last Sunday of the Liturgical year and next Sunday we will celebrate the First Sunday of Advent. Yes…Advent is almost here!…New Year’s Eve is a time when we look back over the previous year and evaluate our successes and failures. Similarly, New Year’s Eve in the Liturgical Year is the perfect opportunity to look back over the past year to evaluate how we’ve lived our lives with respect to the truth that Christ the King reveals to us.
- Have we made giving glory, honor and praise to God the centerpiece of our life?
- Have we made service to others in need a priority in our daily activities?
- Have we pursued a personal relationship with God through persistent prayer?
- Have we loved our enemies, prayed for those who have persecuted us, and striven to be dispensers of God’s mercy?
New Year’s Eve is also a time for making resolutions. Similarly, New Year’s Eve in the Liturgical Year is the perfect opportunity to look forward and to make resolutions regarding how we’ll live our lives in the coming Year of Mercy with respect to the truth that Christ the King reveals to us.
And so I’ll end with two challenges for all of us…myself included. First, find a quiet place where you can be alone for ten minutes. During the first five minutes talk to God about what you would do if you were king and why. BE honest with yourself and with God, even if you think it’s not what God wants to hear! And when you talk to God, talk to him out loud. That’s why you need to find a place to be alone…otherwise, people will think you’re crazy. Don’t simply think about what you would say. Talk to God so that you can hear yourself. When you’re done speaking to God, ask Him “Lord, what would You have me do if I were king?” Then spend the next five minutes in silence listening to God’s response to your question. Some of you are probably thinking, “Ten minutes…that’s ten challenges!” Well, however you want to count I have one more challenge. Share your experience of the ten minutes with someone…a spouse, a brother or sister, a friend. You can share your experience with me when you see me or e-mail me. My email address is in the bulletin. firstname.lastname@example.org . You don’t have to share your thoughts about what you would do if you were king, although that would be great! Just share your experience. Was it easy or difficult? Did you get any sense of what God would have you do if you were king? You see, having a spiritual companion that we can talk to about God and our spiritual experience is a great blessing. I am blessed to have many people in my faith life whom I can talk to about God, and my most trusted spiritual companion is my wife. So spend some time thinking about what you would do if you were king, talk to God about it, listen to what God would have you do if you were king and bring in the Liturgical New Year sharing that experience with someone! Happy New Year!