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Solemnity of Christ the King (Thirty-Fourth or last Sunday of the Year) - Cycle C

Homily Suggestions:

2 Sm 5:1-3
Col 1:12-20
Lk 23:35-43

Jesus Christ is King of the universe. This feast reminds us that we are not only accountable to him as individuals, but also as nations, as a society. It is not only personal (as in individual) actions for which we are accountable; it is the social policy, cultural mores, and organizational structures on every level of society for which we also answer to Christ the King. These realities are the result of the accumulated effects of the actions of many people over long periods of time. Sin is always personal, but there are "structures of sin" that embody the wrong choices individuals have made.

In this regard, of course, the Church has much to say in her social teaching, at the heart of which is the right to life and the dignity of the human person.

Human rulers exercise real authority. Yet it is always the Lord who is the King. In the first reading, we read of Saul and David. Yet in the reading, Israel declares to the Lord, "It was you who led the Israelites," and God declares that they are his people. Both the people and their king always belong to the Lord. The Gospel shows this in another way. Earthly authority made a terrible mistake in crucifying Jesus, and one of the criminals realized that mistake. Jesus shows himself to be the one with the real power, even while on the cross, as he accepts the criminal's acknowledgment that he has a kingdom, and as he asserts that he is the way into Paradise.

Jesus' kingship is based on his identity as God, and on his redemptive act of suffering, dying and rising. It is also based on something else, which comes through clearly in the Second Reading: he is Creator. Although we normally attribute this role to the Father, it remains true that what any person of the Trinity does outside the Trinity is done by all three. In the passage we read today from Colossians 1, Paul is actually commenting on the first words of the Bible, “In the beginning, God created.” He is outlining various nuances of the words “in the beginning,” indicating that that “beginning” is none other than Jesus Christ. He is “the beginning”  because he is firstborn of creation, the one through whom all else was made, the one who existed first, the one in whom all things hold together, and so forth.

That is why the Church is pro-life. That is why followers of Christ cannot find anything in creation that does not deserve a measure of reverence. It all came through Christ and all exists for Christ. To stand with Christ is to stand with life. He is “King” because he is at the very heart of all that is, including the supreme gift of human life, owned only by him, and deserving of unspeakable respect.


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