Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King

Today we celebrate the great Solemnity of Christ the King. This is the last Sunday of the liturgical year; next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, beginning a new year.

Interestingly enough, today’s feast is relatively new in the liturgical calendar. In fact, it was instituted only 80 years ago by Pope Pius XI, with the desire to recall our hearts and minds to the truth of Christ’s Kingship over every aspect of our lives. Along with the Feast day, Eucharistic processions and the Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus were recommended to the faithful as ways to establish His Kingship in our society today.

In our democratic society today, how can we understand the nature of Christ’s Kingship? How can we live more fully under the Reign of Christ? And how can we help bring His Kingdom to its fullness?

The first reading today speaks of Christ as Shepherd more than as King; and although the Gospel for today uses the shepherd image from Ezekiel, it transforms it slightly. In the Gospel, we see our Lord at the end of time, coming in glory to judge His subjects. He is a King, and although he separates the sheep from the goats as a shepherd, his task is a kingly one. What are the criteria for admission into the Kingdom?

“To have ministered to the needs of the least ones” is the requirement. Even though the righteous have no recognition of Christ as hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, ill, or imprisoned, they are still welcomed into the Kingdom, because they have cared for these “least ones.” And the wicked, even though they did not reject Christ visibly present, they nevertheless merit eternal punishment because of their hard-heartedness and rejection of the least ones.

How can we understand these readings in light of today’s Feast? Christ must reign in our minds, our wills, our hearts, and in our bodies. When we place Christ as King over all that we have and do – whether in our families, our businesses, or our government – then we will recognize Him in “distressing disguise,” as Mother Teresa often described the poorest of the poor.

Christ is King, not only because all things have been created in, through, and for Him, but also by the victory He won from the Cross, as St. Paul tells us today. From this strange victory in death, we begin to understand something about His Kingdom: it is not of this world, but yet it is found in this world. His Kingship is not like that of men, who lord it over their subjects, who wield absolute power without regard for justice or truth; no, His Kingship is one that begins in hearts, that grows from humility, and seeks to serve the least among us.

Nevertheless, a day will come – whether sooner or later – that all things will be finally and visibly subjected to Christ the King; when the hidden, veiled Kingship our Lord exercises through the Sacraments and through His Church will become visible. No longer will He reign only from His hidden, Eucharistic throne. Then all kingdoms and nations will be under His authority; whether Jewish or Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist, Catholic or Protestant, and all men and women will see the truth of creation subjected to its creator, and Christ will victoriously reign through all eternity. His enemies will be utterly and forever destroyed. “He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet.”

My brothers and sisters, we must not wait idly for this day to come; we must make Christ King of our lives today! He must be King in our minds, our wills, our hearts, and our bodies; He must be the King of each of us, of our families, of our homes, and even, yes, of our nation. We must not be afraid to give Christ the dignity and authority He deserves as our King. Whatever we do, whether it is our intellectual pursuits, our entertainments, our recreation; our opinions and political efforts; our economic lives, and habits; even our exercise, health, choices of relationships; our suffering and anguish, our joy and happiness – everything must be placed under the victorious banner of Christ our Lord and King.

Especially, then, when we recognize the least among us and clothe them, or feed them, or shelter them; when we exercise not just the corporal works of mercy, but also the spiritual, and instruct the ignorant, admonish the sinner, counsel the doubtful, forgive willingly, bear wrongs patiently, comfort the afflicted, and pray for the Church, then we begin to allow Christ to reign.

Practically, we must care for the poor and do all we can to alleviate their needs, especially as we share in such joyful bounty this week at Thanksgiving; but we must also seek to serve Christ with our whole lives, to allow Him to reign, and to receive the Glory, Dignity, and Honor that is His. Are we, my dear friends, ready to give Christ authority over every aspect of our lives, that we might reign victoriously with Him as sharers in His Kingship?

Christ our King, may Your Kingdom Come!