Monday, November 23, 2009

Vespers Homily Year B Solemnity of Christ the King

Reading: Revelation 1:5-8

Jesus Christ is, indeed, "the faithful witness" of God because by his Incarnation he fully reveals God to us. Only because he conquered humanity’s most feared enemy, death, is he the ruler of the kings of the earth, far superior in power to even the most exalted earthly ruler. His rising from the dead is the seal of all that is claimed about him and all he claims for himself. On this last Sunday of yet another year of grace, we look forward to the time when he will return in glory, to judge the living and the dead. In the interim between now and then, as his priestly people, consecrated by baptism and continually strengthened by the Eucharist, it is our task to bring about the kingdom that will be fully realized only when he returns, when it will be made to known to all that he truly is the universal king, whom the Father has given dominion over all things.

We are his priestly people only because he loves us, because he freed us from our sins by the shedding of his own blood. His love for us, shown by his dying and rising for us, is the only power that makes him king. But let’s not forget that God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit- is love and that love is the reason anything exists at all, love is what made the universe, love sustains the universe, and love will redeem and ultimately sanctify creation, making it what it is intended and ordered to be: a communion of love.

As cosmic as Christ’s kingship is, encompassing literally everything that is, was, and ever will be, it is important for us to remember something that Eugene Peterson said recently, namely that "Trinity’ is our theological symbol for insisting that nothing of God…can be understood in an impersonal way." He goes on to remind us that "[e]verything God does and says is personal and can be received only in a personal way." This certainly includes the kingship of Christ. The importance of Peterson’s reminder on this solemnity is simple: It does not matter if Jesus Christ is king of the universe if you do not enthrone him as king of your heart, which is where he most longs to live and reign forever. In all of creation, only the human heart is free to reject or accept the kingship of Jesus Christ.

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