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11/20/16 Christ the King - Fr. Damian

Today is the final Sunday of the church year, Solemnity of Christ the King. Today, before the church year ends, we recognize the kingship of Jesus. We look not only to Christ who reigns forever in heaven; we look also to Christ the king at Calvary. We look for leadership on the cross, and we find it there.

Today’s Gospel reading shows Jesus at what seems to be His weakest and loneliest, the moment of His crucifixion on the Cross. But here, Jesus is not at His weakest but really at His strongest. He is not at His loneliest but at His most generous.

Jesus seems to be at his weakest here on the cross, but is really at His strongest because here, on the Cross at Calvary, Jesus does what no one else on earth can do. He forgives a man’s life of sin and gives him eternal life and entry into the Kingdom.

Furthermore, here, on the Cross, Jesus is atoning for the sins not of a particular group but of the world, the sins of all times and places, the sins of His time and the sins of our time. Here, on the Cross, Jesus is absorbing, almost like a huge blotter, the all by himself with nobody else’s help, Jesus is unilaterally restoring the life of grace to human history.

What looks like a moment of weakness, then, is really a moment of enormous, supernatural power as, on Calvary, a cosmic lock springs open, a wall is broken down and heaven is again “open for business”.

The Cross is not a place of Christ’s weakness but of His strength. The Cross also looked like a lonely place, but Jesus turned it into a metropolis of grace where billions have gathered and continue to gather each day. More people come to the Cross each day than gather in any football stadium.

The Cross is the hospital where our soul and spirit can be healed.

The Cross is the bridge by which we can go back to the Father.

The Cross is the lighthouse directing our sight beyond the present pains and sorrows to a renewed life in Christ.

The Cross is the school where we learn the truth about sin and about God’s forgiveness.

The Cross is the power station from which we can always draw strength and light.

The Cross is the sword in spiritual battle and the fortress on whose strength we can rely in any temptation.

The Cross is the place where every human being can come to meet Christ.

How many people as they approach death find Jesus to be the only person to whom the can turn! Whatever they did in life, as politician, businessperson, construction manager, rock star, writer, teacher or parent, they can turn only to Christ as the evening of life comes and speak those same words of the dying thief: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

The Cross is a busy place and always will be. Lastly, a word about the Kingdom of Christ here on earth. The Kingdom of Christ on earth is not a kingdom of castles and armies. It is a Kingdom of human lives that have been healed, restored, forgiven and renewed into the image and likeness of God.

The Kingdom of Christ on earth is not a place on a map, that we can locate through global positioning system from a satellite. It is a condition of soul. The Kingdom of Christ on earth does not belong to any particular era, it spans all times and centuries.

On this Solemnity of Christ the King, we look at the Cross: what many saw a place of weakness became a tower of strength, what looked like a place of loneliness continually gives life to the world.

To be at the Cross, to be at the Mass, is to be at the headquarters of the Kingdom of Christ on earth, the center from which Jesus Christ changes lives and our world, because the sacrificial bread and wine of the Mass, the body and blood of Christ, contain all the power of Christ’s Death and Resurrection.

Christ is King not only because He reigns from above but because He reigns from within our life. In this coming Church year, we can resolve to keep a crucifix in our home so we can reflect on it, meditate on it, and consult it. St. john Vianney called it the “deepest book we will ever read.”

The Kingship of Jesus is shown in His taking an old wooden Cross and making it a place of grace and hope for ourselves and others. He can do the same with our life in this coming year and make it a place of grace for ourselves and others. 


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