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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Reflection/Homily: Solemnity of Christ the King (Nov. 22. 2014)

Theme: Christ is our King
At the beginning of the 20th century, an ideology currently known as “secular humanism” was prevalent. This ideology made people believe that they could exist and survive on their own without being assisted by and accountable to any spiritual being.  Everything, for the promoters of this ideology, began and ended in this world, with man as the supreme architect of his own destiny. Unfortunately, many Christians were deceived to accept this belief and they started to live their lives as if God no longer exists. As a result of this, Pope Pius XI in his 1925 encyclical Quas Primas (On the Feast of Christ the King) established the last Sunday of the liturgical year as the Solemnity of Christ the King. The Solemnity was intended to present Christ as the Universal King who rules over all created things, persons and institutions. Many decades after its establishment, the Church continues to celebrate this solemnity to assure us that Christ is still in charge of the universe and to remind us of the need to allow Him reign supreme in our lives and society. This is the background of today’s solemnity.

In the first reading (Ezekiel 34:11-12,15-17), Christ’s kingship is prefigured in the image of the Good Shepherd who tends his flock. Christ is this shepherd who promises to rescue his sheep from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark. Perhaps, our society have been scattered to the extent that we think it can no longer be remedied, the boko haram insurgence appears to be stronger than God, the political situation of the country appears to be above what God can control, many families are ravaged by hunger, poverty and disease, yet we have continued to look upon Christ as the Good Shepherd. As our King, Christ is telling us never to lose hope because he is still in charge. In the reading he says: “the lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal, etc.” Christ our King is not unaware of what you are passing through now. He will come at his appointed time to seek you out, restore you to your rightful place and satisfy your good heart desires. Just hold on to him. His justice and mercy could be delayed but never denied. Our King is seated and waiting for us in the tabernacle where he has made his Palace. How often do we visit our King to present our problems, disappointments and sorrows to him?

The Gospel reading (Matthew 25:31-46) presents us with the theme of judgement as an important aspect of Christ’s kingship. As the second reading (1 Cor. 15:20-26,28) puts it, Christ is going to be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and he will then hand over the kingdom to his Father. Before handing over the kingdom to his Father, he will judge all men according to their deeds. The Gospel reading says he will separate the sheep from the goat. While the just will rejoice, the wicked will suffer and perish. Interestingly, Christ reveals to us in the Gospel reading, his areas of emphasis - to give food to the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the prisoners and to do other spiritual and temporal works of mercy. He would not ask how much theology we have learnt or how pious we have been or how much we donated in the Church or how brilliant we have been in class but how we have manifested our love for God in our dealings with others. He assures us that whatever we do for the least of the brethren has been done for him. 

Beloved friends, today, the wave of secular humanism is still strong in our society. Christians in most parts of the world are being persecuted. Evil seems to triumph over good. Divine laws appear to be at the mercy of civil laws since most states promulgate and enforce laws that contradict divine laws. In the midst of all these, do not lose hope. God is still in charge. He is taking his time. Only be prepared to face his throne of judgement when he appears in glory for that day will be great. Those who recognize him as their King will be saved while those who thought they could do without him will perish. May Christ our King continue to reign in our lives. Amen. Happy Sunday. God loves you.

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