Frederich Nietzche, the German philosopher said, “God is dead.” In 1966 Time Magazine published a cover story that asked, “Is God Dead?” Is God dead or alive for you and me?
Only a minority will say God is dead, but lots of us live like God is dead. Our God is alive, he is with us. Today we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King, which marks the end of liturgical year B and next weekend, the First Sunday of Advent begins the liturgical year C. Solemnity of Christ the King reminds us not to forget about our King and his Kingdom. God loves us and through Jesus, He gave us an easy way to be close to Him. Jesus emptied himself and became a man and identified with every human being, except sin. Another way to look at it, Jesus is hiding in every human being we meet.
The first reading is from the book of Daniel chapter 7 which is about Daniel’s vision. The apocalyptic book of Daniel, talks about the Kingship of the Lord, that of the Promised Messiah. Daniel says, “I saw one like a Son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven (7:13).” His vision of the “Son of Man” refers to the one who brings salvation to the world, which is a clear prophecy of the coming Messiah. Last weekend we saw in the Gospel of Mark 13:26, Jesus identifies himself as “Son of Man.” In Daniel's vision, he saw God seated on a throne, with millions of people serving him. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Glory, His kingdom will last forever. In the book of Daniel, the everlasting dominion of the Lord and His Kingdom is repeated several times. We can read the 3:33 and 4:31. The New Testament proves that Jesus, the Messiah, is the King of Kings. Christ, the eternal King whose kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36), sits at the right hand of the Father, as we proclaim in the Nicene Creed.
Today’s Gospel reading is from John. The heavenly kingship is a dominant theme of John’s Passion narrative. Christ did not deny he was a king, instead he proclaims before Pilate that he is a king and clarifies that his kingdom “does not belong to this world.” Jesus did not come to liberate from the oppression of Romans, but to liberate from the oppression of sin. He was accused by his own people of calling himself a king, but he certainly didn’t appear to be a king. Later we see Pilate order a sign to hang over the Cross which reads, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” We know what his crown was, it was not a jewel, but a thorn. He is the King of Hearts! Happy Christ the King!
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I would like to share a story which Mother Teresa told in an address to the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994. She said, “One evening several of our Sisters went out, and we picked up four people from the street. One of them was in the most terrible condition. So I told the other Sisters, ‘You take care of the other three: I will take care of this one who looks the worst.’ So I did for the woman everything that my love could do. I cleaned her and put her in bed, and there was such a beautiful smile on her face. She took hold of my hands and said two words in her language, Bengali: ‘Thank you.’ Then she died. I couldn't help but examine my conscience. I asked myself, ‘What would I say if I were in her place?’ My answer was simple. I would have tried to draw a little attention to myself. I would have said, ‘I am hungry, I am dying, I am in pain.’ But the woman gave me much more; she gave me grateful love, dying with a grateful smile on her face. It means that even those with nothing can give us the gift of thanks.” Happy Thanksgiving!!