Fr. Rick’s Homily – The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Dn 7:13-14; Ps 93:1-2, 5; Rv 1:5-8; Jn 18:33b-37

November 21, 2021

Today after Communion:  Annual Collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development

Today is the last Sunday in Ordinary Time and the last Sunday of the liturgical year before starting a new liturgical year next weekend with the First Sunday of Advent.  As noted last weekend, as we move toward the end of the liturgical year, our Scripture readings point to the end time; the Apocalypse.  The time of the great unveiling of ‘hidden things’.  This is an important point, that what is revealed by our current world and our Church, the celebration of the Eucharist during the celebration of the liturgical year prefigures or foreshadows the true victory that is yet to come.

Hopefully, this past week most of you did the homework I suggested and you made a deliberate point to proclaim with great joy that Jesus Christ is indeed King of the Universe!!  I asked you to share this great proclamation with the people with whom you are most emotionally connected; the people with whom you are most intertwined; the people you trust and who depend on you, and you them.  It’s likely they are not Catholic or practicing Catholic.  I asked you to record and reflect on their reaction or response.  Remember that this belief is critical to the very meaning of life; that Jesus Christ is King and that in a Kingdom the king makes the rules.  If it is a good, wise and strong king, then the subjects follow those rules and experience the order and peace and joy of living in such a realm.

When Jesus was on earth he declared that the Kingdom of God is at hand, the Kingdom of God is among you and the Kingdom of God is within you.  Now, two thousand years after the Resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, how convincing can we be that Jesus Christ is indeed the King of the Universe?  What did your friends and families say when you declared this kingship to them?  Did they catch your excitement?  Did they give you a big smile and a big hug because your declaration gave them an immediate sense of peace and well-being?  Was it a subject of a conversation?  Did your loved ones, those with whom you are most emotionally connected and intertwined, just roll their eyes and frown a little at each other and at you? 

This should be a very telling and practical exercise because this is the Good News!!  What could be better than to have a truly competent and benevolent and wise leader?  Wouldn’t that be nice?  What if Jesus the King really gave us the rules to live by?  Well, in fact He has.  I don’t need to tell you what they are…. (Commandments, Laws of the Church, Corporeal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, Catholic Social Teaching, etc., etc.,)

What does the world look like if Jesus does not make the rules we actually live by? This is your follow-up homework.  Ask your closest loved ones and compatriots which rules they live by?  Who supports their best efforts and who holds them accountable?  Please be specific.  Remember these are those closest to you?  How do their rules compare with the rules of the King of the Universe?

Again, what is the real relevance of Jesus Christ as King of the Universe?  One more easy and fun exercise:

Think of the presidents of the United States over the past eight years?  Have you or your loved ones spent any time talking about Presidents Obama, Trump and Biden?  Hmmmmm?  Of course you have!!  Because it matters, right?  I mean you wouldn’t talk about them if it didn’t matter, right?  Their policies matter!!  The laws they propose and implement can have a real effect on our lives and even the rest of the world.  Presidents and other law makers have strong and conflicted opinions about things such as immigration, health care, child care, marriage, sexual expression, abortion, care of ecology, right to bear arms, right to not get vaccinated, etc., etc.  These things matter. That’s why we discuss them ad nauseum and even argue and fight over them.  The fighting does not seem to be getting us to more peace and justice. But guess what?  Jesus, the King of the Universe, also has strong opinions about these issues and continuously reveals Himself through the official teaching magisterium of the Church. 

So what might it mean if Jesus Christ is really King of the Universe and that point is not even discussed within our most important circles of people?  What is the alternative? Jesus says in today’s gospel that His kingdom ‘does not belong to this world’.  Then who is actually directing ‘this world’?  Are they as wise as God?  Jesus also said in today’s gospel that ‘He was born into this world to testify to the Truth’ and that ‘everyone who belongs to the truth listens to His voice’.

It might be the perfect time for a renewal and a new liturgical year.  It’s time to rededicate ourselves to the real King and the voice of truth.