Monday, November 25, 2013
Homily - "Christ the King on the Cross: #winning"
Click HERE to listen to Sunday's homily.
The collection at all of the student Masses this weekend will go to the relief efforts in the Phillipines. 100 % of what you give will go to Catholic Relief Services who are on the ground there helping the people in that awful, awful situation. Please be generous.
I hope that you are full when you are home for Thanksgiving. I’m not advocating gluttony…but I won’t be able to stop you anyway. I mean, stuff-ing happens. What I am talking about is being full of virtue when you go home. I definitely want you to evangelize your family and friends, but know that it can be hard to do this with words. So, teach them about Christ in your actions…through your virtue. If we focus on one – generosity – then be full of generosity. Be generous in your cheerfulness, your joy, and enthusiasm to see your family and friends. Be generous in helping out around the house – that will freak them out. I know that you are going home to get some rest, and you should. But, for some, home is more stressful than here. But, be generous in helping out, especially with the meal on Thursday. My family has relegated me to clean-up after dinner. They don’t even ask me anymore to bring anything, much less cook anything. My job is dishes, and I try to be generous in doing that. Be generous in praying for your family. Pray for them on your way home. Pray for peace and reconciliation in your family, if needed. Pray for safe travel of all of your family members. Be full of generosity!
Today, the Church celebrates the solemn feast of Christ the King of the Universe. The majestic language of St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians helps us to enter into this feast so well. He really nails it! “For in him were created all things in heaven an on earth…all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Think of all the kings who have ever lived…all the kings in history. They can’t touch this! Or, think of all the “kings” of our world…kings of the culture….celebrities. They can’t enter into this. Christ is the King of Kings. In him all things were created. All things were created through him and for him. He is before all things. He has power over all things. He is King of the Universe! This helps us to see the majesty and glory of Christ the King.
But, then, we hear the Gospel passage about Christ on the Cross (Lk 23:35-43). He certainly doesn’t look like a king at that scene. He is mocked as being a king…"the king of the Jews”. They give him a crown…but it is made of thorns. He is given a throne…but it is a cross. In fact, all of the things and people at the scene are created through him. It’s pretty incredible to think that He created the tree on which he would die. He created the people who would kill him. So, he is definitely the king of the scene.
Someone asked me last week, ‘what is the deal with the Cross for Christ or for Christians? Is suffering just something to endure and then you receive your reward for it in Heaven?’ Well, yes, that’s part of it. But, the Cross is where Christ takes sin head-on. He enters into his suffering and death in order to reign over sin. He becomes King of sin…King of suffering…King of death. Through his death and resurrection, he wins victory for us. The people there said, “(come down from the Cross and) save yourself”. He could have. He could have saved himself. But, he chose to save us. He chose to win victory over sin for us.
St. Paul writes that he made “peace through the blood of his cross”. Blood is a symbol of life. So, the Cross is a symbol of life, not death. It is a symbol of victory, not defeat. It is a symbol of power, not powerlessness. It’s like we can put “#winning” next to the Cross! He is King of the Universe, not just the good parts, but the bad or ugly parts, too. He is winning and reigning over the bad parts from the Cross and in his death and resurrection. It’s like at last week’s Healing Mass: you came to him and said, “Lord, reign over the bad parts of my universe. Take them, Lord, and heal them, win victory over them for me”. Or, when you go to Confession, you are saying, “Lord, you have power over all things. Free me of my sins, and help me to reign over them”.
At this and every Mass, we commemorate Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. We celebrate and receive His precious, life-giving Blood and Body. And, we ask Him to reign through us. When we unite our suffering to His…when we take up our share of the Cross, we become sharers in his victory on the Cross. We share in His kingdom. May the Lord reign through us on earth and in Heaven forever.