Homily: Christ the King 2016

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Information about Homily: Christ the King 2016

Published on November 20, 2016

Author: Knipper

Source: slideshare.net

1. 20 November 2013 Christ the King Princeton, NJ This morning we bring our Liturgical Year as well as our Jubilee Year of Mercy to a close as we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. Relatively speaking, this is a recent addition to our calendar, established in 1925 by Pope Pius XI in response to the growing sense of secularism taking place in the post-World War I era. In other words he was concerned about the how the focus of so many people was moving away from Christ in favor of worldly desires. At that time the decadence of the roaring 20’s was in high gear, and people were focused on making many things their “King”, the least of which was Christ. Looking to redirect this focus, Pope Pius issued an encyclical establishing the Solemnity of Christ the King. His rationale was that it was not enough for us to hear the Gospel stories each weekend – but that we needed to celebrate them – we needed to make them part of our lives. In short, the Pope was calling for us to actively participate in the celebration of Christ being our true King. That simply reading about Christ isn’t enough – rather, we need to respond to and answer our baptismal call to be a disciple of Christ…to follow Christ…to be like Christ the King. But what does that look like - for there is no shortage of many false ‘kings’ that we pay homage to. So what sets the priorities in your life? Who or what is your King? Is your “King” prestige and money? Maybe it is your job, your social media accounts, music or clothes. Perhaps it is food, or alcohol or drugs? Is the focus of your life worrying all about what others think of 1 Deacon Jim Knipper

2. you and trying to live that life, versus being truly who you are as a beloved child of God? Lately it would seem, politics has been a dominating King in all of our lives. If you are like me, maybe you are exhausted from being barraged for the past 18 months with divisive rhetoric from both sides of the isle filled with anger, fear and hatred and then seeing it repeated and amplified through social media – language and actions devoid of love and mercy…and now we are wondering why hate crimes are on the rise? What are the priorities of our own community when a half-marathon is held on a Sunday morning – with the finish line planted in front of the Baptist Church while many of the streets are closed or detoured when everyone is trying to get to their house of worship? I get what Pope Pius was trying to do 90 years ago – I’m just not too sure we have made much progress. I understand that many worldly “Kings” have much more appeal than a King who reigns from the throne of the cross - a king whose royal crown is made of thorns and not gold. But by virtue of our own baptism – each of us being anointed priest, prophet and king, we are called to take our prayer, our blessings, our communion – this Body of Christ - and carry it outside these four walls and into our daily lives in all that we do – and to all those that we encounter. In other words to make the Gospel stories – our stories. In his book, The Gates of the Forest, Elie Wiesel tells the following parable: When the city was in trouble Rabbi Balshem would retreat to a certain place in the forest to light a fire and say a prayer, and the misfortune that was upon his people would be avoided. After this first rabbi died, 2 Deacon Jim Knipper

3. this task fell to a second rabbi, who knew both the place in the forest and the prayer, but did not know the ritual for lighting the fire. Nevertheless, he did what he could and the misfortune was avoided. A third rabbi knew only the place; but forgot the prayer and how to make the fire. But this too was enough and the misfortune was avoided. Generations later, the task fell to a rabbi who knew neither the place, nor the fire, nor the prayer. He simply remembered the story. All he could do was feel deep compassion and mercy for his people and tell them the story. And this was sufficient to avert the misfortune. In his own way, Wiesel was saying the same thing Pope Pius was saying – which is necessary today more than ever. That’s it is not enough to just come here each Sunday and listen to the Gospel story – rather we need to make the Gospel story part of our story and to carry it with us in all that we do. And this past year we heard many great Lukan Gospel stories of the “good news” of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness as Jesus ministered to sinners and the outcasts of society. The story of the repentant prostitute who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and hair. The tax collector, Zacchaeus, whose encounter with Jesus changed him to be an honest man. The Good Samaritan, who moved with compassion, was the only one to stop and help the one injured along the side of the road. The Prodigal Son who was welcomed into the loving arms of his father. Mercy-filled stories of how to love your 3 Deacon Jim Knipper

4. neighbor, help those who may hate you, bless those who curse you and to pray for those who mistreat you. Gospel stories of people like you and me presented with an alternative option of how to live our lives - reminding us that the true sense of kingship is not gained through the understanding of canon law, encyclicals and doctrines – but rather through the practical and daily commitment of walking with Christ. For as broken as we all are, despite the mistakes that we make, and even as blinded as we can be - Christ is always, always by our side. For Jesus was always eating with wrong people, at the wrong time, on the wrong day with non-Jews, and sinners, and ignoring all the purity codes that his religion required at that time. Indeed, Christ formed new community and new unity wherever he went. Likewise, today, we are called to do the same which requires us to review our priorities… requires us to revisit who or what we hold as King in our lives...and requires us to make decisions that bring us closer to God. Pope Pius XI was on the right track in our need to have the correct focus of kingship in our lives. And just a few weeks ago Pope Francis published six new Beatitudes that focus on our need to accompany other people – to see the other person first – of our need to be Christ in our daily lives – bringing all of creation to fullness and wholeness through our participation. But we know that it is not easy, for at times we are filled with fear and anxiety. We are not perfect. We do fail. We are broken. We do not always make the right decisions. And we will not always be like Christ. But that is okay…for look up at that cross – Christ hangs there with his 4 Deacon Jim Knipper

5. arms outstretched, and as we heard in our second reading – he holds all things together…forgiving all things, reconciling all things and loving each of us unconditionally, just the way we are. Love abundantly and freely given, not earned. So as we end this liturgical year and this year of mercy, may we remember that Christ's Kingship is not one based on “human might” but rather mercy…it is a kingship not rooted in "human power" but rather on loving and serving the powerless…And in doing so may we have the faith and courage to see, to speak, to believe, to trust and to love this Son of David, this Jesus the Christ…this Christ who is indeed our King. 5 Deacon Jim Knipper

6. arms outstretched, and as we heard in our second reading – he holds all things together…forgiving all things, reconciling all things and loving each of us unconditionally, just the way we are. Love abundantly and freely given, not earned. So as we end this liturgical year and this year of mercy, may we remember that Christ's Kingship is not one based on “human might” but rather mercy…it is a kingship not rooted in "human power" but rather on loving and serving the powerless…And in doing so may we have the faith and courage to see, to speak, to believe, to trust and to love this Son of David, this Jesus the Christ…this Christ who is indeed our King. 5 Deacon Jim Knipper

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