•Daniel 7:13-14 • Revelation 1:5-8 • Matthew 25: 31-46•
Weekly Scripture Readings:Weekly Scripture Readings
Today we conclude our liturgical year celebrating an anomaly — the feast of Christ the King. Jesus never claimed to be a “king!” He asserted his identity as ”The Son of Man,” which means “THE HUMAN BEING.” That title occurs 80 times in the gospels.
Since the end of World War I, although it is an anomaly, we do name Jesus — “king.” Pius XI instituted this feast to counterbalance the turmoil so widespread after that war. It was a time when people had lost trust in their leaders. Then, and still today, trust is lost when leaders oppress rather than serving the people or when those lower on the social ladder are disregarded,or when leaders waste resources on military might, rather than improving the lives of the citizens.
There is widespread turmoil and confusion in our world. The human experience of leadership is quite fickle. It differs from time to time and land to land. Obama and Frances of Rome have gained the trust of many, but not all. The names Assad, Putin and Netanyahu certainly have not.
Autumn leaves falling to the ground remind us of our mortality. The so-called leaders of the world: Begin and Sharon, Mubarak; Kaddafi and Hussein; Nixon, Regan and Bush are no different than any of us. All pass into oblivion.
The taste of a piece of fruit or a glass of beer cannot be conveyed through logical or factual language. There are deep and subtle truths, realities and experiences that can be expressed only in poetic or metaphorical language. We use metaphorical language when we speak of the Risen Christ as the alpha and the omega or the king of the world. We can speak of mystery so much greater than we can grasp, only with metaphors.
Jesus, “the Son of Man” was unique. His authority was established by a life of humility, service and nonviolent love. His life and teaching continue to baffle the world. We still struggle to get it! “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you took care of me.”
Refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have poured into Europe by the thousands seeking safety and welcome. Events in Paris confuse us and reinforce our uncertainty and fear.
We know the message of Jesus. Many families heard his message and are welcoming refugees into their towns, their homes and their parishes. They have learned from Jesus. They inspire us!
The Gracious Mystery we name God is the energy of new life emerging among us. Evolution is the process of life unfolding. That stream of refugees reminds us that we live in a dynamically changing world. The cosmos is unfinished. Something new is germinating in our midst. We name it the Christ Mystery.
Although Jesus of Nazareth did not allow anyone to name him “king,” we do, hoping to awaken our world to a mystery so much greater than we can grasp. The world needs the message proclaimed by his words, his deeds and life. So we continue to celebrate Christ the King hoping and working to extend his rule into the hearts of all people, for all times, and in all places.
That includes us. This feast culminates our year long effort to comprehend and enter into the gospel of Mark. As Mark’s Jesus invites us, this feast also invites us to enter into the ultimate reality – The Christ Mystery! — God’s new reality emerging among us.
So I invite you to renew and maintain your commitment to follow Christ. Doing so means imitating Christ and becoming Christ for others. Thank you for inspiring me!