Sunday, November 25, 2018

The King and His People

November 25, 2018: 34th (Last) Sunday in Ordinary Time: Solemnity of Christ the King
Daniel 7:13–14 / Psalm 93 / Revelation 1:5–8 / John 18:33b–37
The King and His People

You've seen the cartoons with space people: A little guy gets out of the spaceship, walks up to someone and says, "Take me to your leader." Christians know that whoever appears to be leader in this world is not the leader. We believe Jesus is the ruler over all the kings (and presidents) of the earth. On the day he comes back not only are those who knew it by faith going to be confirmed in that faith, but the people who doubted and the people who rebelled and the people who would have nothing to do with God are going to realize it when he comes in visible glory as King of kings and Lord of lords.

John has a vision of reality in Revelation, and as he writes these titles of Jesus his heart gets full: To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father…. Because Jesus is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth, there can only be one response: To him be glory and power. Amen.

As John expresses his praise he tells us these three things about Jesus. First of all, he loves us. Secondly, he has freed us from our sins. Thirdly, he has made us a kingdom and priests to serve his God. If we are going to be able to keep spiritual equilibrium in a world that is no friend of godliness, we need to come back over and over to who Jesus is.  That's why we read the Scriptures. That's why we come to the Church and confess the Creed. This is the Gloria in the early part of the Liturgy. That’s why we feed on Jesus in the Eucharist. We live in a world that does not understand and thus disdains such things; we are immersed in a bias that does not recognize Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior and King of the world.

We need to keep coming back to this so that we don't lose touch with who we are. Jesus is a faithful witness. He told Pilate: for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. In a time when being able to know truth is ridiculed, we confess these truths every week: After being sentenced to death and going to the cross Jesus died and come back to life, he ascended into heaven, and was glorified at God's right hand; he is coming again. This is the framework out of which we live our lives. These are not words to be repeated mechanically when we confess our Faith with the Creed. This is life for our souls. We should awaken each morning and go through our days remembering that God has loved us through his Son. He has loved us so much that he has forgiven us our sins, and he has made us a kingdom and priests to serve him.

What does this mean? First it is a reminder that our allegiance is to God and his rule in contrast to any other earthly system that would seek our allegiance. The only thing that is worthy of our ultimate allegiance is the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, the kingdom which is going to endure when all other kingdoms have fallen.

There is a description of Christians in Peter’s first letter that is rooted in the kingship of Jesus and our union with him: You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God. Why? That you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

As recipients of the Lord’s mercy, we are to be a kingdom and priests to God––we are called to model the life of Jesus in us. What happens when we do that? Other people find out who God is. What happens when other people find out who God really is? The whole world is transformed into the glory of God! That's what Daniel saw in his vision. It’s the goal towards which all of human history is progressing.

But for that to happen in us, we need to remember who Jesus is. We need to keep before us each day what Jesus has done. We need to give ourselves again and again to the one who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. God wants us to be his people. He wants us to be his witnesses. Through Jesus Christ, he has done everything for us that needs to be done. All we need to do is respond…. every day. 

So for today…. and tomorrow…. and every day thereafter… Let Jesus be the King of your heart!

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