C Cycle – Feast of Christ the King 22
Col. 1: 12-20
It has occurred to me how we Catholics will easily acknowledge Jesus as Savior, Lord and how Jesus has reconciled us to the Father. We also acknowledge there will be a time when Jesus will return in glory to redeem this broken and sinful world. But we do not live our lives thinking about either one of those beliefs. Scientists tell us the earth is 4.5 billion years old. So why should we worry about tomorrow as possibly being the day when Jesus comes in glory. We have worries enough about today and ensuring we appropriate for ourselves life after death. After all God in the book of Ecclesiastes does tell us there is a time to “give birth and a time to die” and in the end it is better for us in our lifetime to “do good and to rejoice” (Ecc.3:12).
But each year as we celebrate this feast of Jesus as King of the Universe, we must acknowledge we do profess and believe God will restore this earth to its intended glory and sin will be eradicated from the earth. In fact, if you pay attention to the prayers during our mass, you will see how many times we acknowledge what God’s intended design for earth is not what it is now. In fact, we plainly acknowledge there will be a swift and dramatic change when the power of heaven comes to earth to redeem it. We tend to live our lives only thinking about our redemption and not the earth’s redemption. Why not, because we understand death and we face our mortality each day of our lives. People we know and love die; daily we hear of overdoses, murders, natural disasters, and wars killing innocent people.
Paul’s letter to the Colossians reinforces our belief in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. But Christ himself tells us we “honor him with our lips but our hearts are far from him” (Mt. 15’8). We strive each to appropriate the grace of forgiveness for ourselves, but it is our striving, instead of embracing Christ’s life and death. That striving causes us to a spiritual blindness that prevents our hearts from responding to God.
After all, in the end it is our hearts that God desires us to give to him not our sacrifices or good works. Today’s feast should be a one of those revelation moments awakening our hearts to respond to Christ. Christ came to do more than to be our savior; he came to show us the father. He came to remove the barrier of sin between us and God and to pave the way for the Holy Spirit to change our hearts.
If we would allow that to happen the end of the world may seem to be far off, but we realize the Kingdom of God on earth is where we are called to live. By living in the Kingdom of God on earth we begin to experience the power and presence of Christ and the love of the Father. It is there we begin to hear ourselves proclaim as we profess in the Creed, “he will come to judge the living and the dead.” Acknowledging there will be a judgment day, when the righteous will shine like the sun and those who deny Christ will be judged as unworthy.
We need to pay attention to the prayers said by the universal church each time we celebrate the liturgy. During the memorial acclimation we proclaim, “Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again.” Do we mean what we are saying? If so, we should live each day like there will not be a tomorrow? We should live as if we can die tomorrow, or the end of the world can come tomorrow. How many more times during our liturgy do we acknowledge our destiny is to be standing in the front of Jesus as Judge? Not concerned about our destiny because we lived our lives each day knowing his death and resurrection “he has delivered us from the powers of darkness and brought us into his marvelous kingdom of light.”
These need to be more than words, they need to become the foundation of a life of discipleship. It is when we understand what Jesus accomplished for us, we can boldly say, “thy kingdom Come, thy will be done.” It is then we can respond to the words of our priest, when he concludes the Lord’s prayer by saying, “as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Brothers and Sisters, Christ death and resurrection is the core of our faith, and it is time to have our hearts catch up with our belief. On this feast of Christ, the King, we acknowledge we are living in His Kingdom and His Lordship is what keeps us safe and joyful. Because we have thankful hearts we understand Paul’s letter to the Colossians which acknowledges much his death has achieved for us. Not only are we transferred into the Kingdom of God, but we have the redemption for our sins. Redemption by His sacrifice, not ours. We need to appropriate the grace of forgiveness won for us by Christ and live knowing we have a just Judge who has already paid the price for our sins.
This calls us to live a life pleasing to God not by obeying the laws but by loving and forgiving as Jesus did. Paul put into words who Christ is and always will be. His understanding of Christ came from his intimacy with Christ, and we too should be able to express those same words as they flow from our grateful hearts. Christ is “… the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fulness was please to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of the cross through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven” (col.1: 18-20).
If we can make those words of Paul a given in our lives, then they will become a foundational belief transferring us to the Kingdom of God. We will know we are redeemed, and God delights in us every day. Then daily we can say at End of the World or End of our lives Come Lord Jesus.