Happy feast of Christ the King! Thirty-Fourth Sunday, we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King! In 1925, Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King at the close of the liturgical year and he proclaimed: “Pax Christi in regno Christi” (“The peace of Christ in the reign of Christ”). This feast asserts the sovereignty of Christ the King. The disciple of Christ, the citizen of His Kingdom, is called to obey the commandment of love: love your God with all your being and love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31).
In the first reading from the book of Samuel, all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron, David made a covenant with God, and he was anointed as the King of Israel. Soul was the first King, and he disobeyed God, so God chose David. David was anointed King of Israel with all the tribes united under him. In this role, he was the type of Christ who all bear the title the King of Israel although his Kingdom is “not of this world” (John 18:36).
The Gospel reading reminds us that Christ’s kingship in this life is manifest by the suffering of the Cross. Jesus willingly accepted the punishment of humanity’s offense and through his sacrifice brought to us redemption. Our King is he who laid downs his life for his people. Throughout the Old Testament, we can read the messianic prophecies. At the royal entrance to Jerusalem, the people shouted, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" (Luke 19:38). Later when Jesus was arrested the same people shouted, “Crucify, Crucify him” (Luke 23:21). Based on the Gospel of Luke one of the criminals who were hanged railed at Jesus, but in the Gospel of Mark 15:32, both railed him. But the penitent thief receives salvation through the crucified Jesus. Jesus’ words to the penitent thief reveal the destiny of the Christian is “to be with Jesus.”
Jesus invites us to establish his kingdom in our hearts, in our homes, in church, community, and so on. It is an invitation to live in the presence of God. The curtain in the Temple separated the presence of God in the Holy of Holies from the people. It's tearing from the top to bottom signifies that the sacrificial death of Christ opens the path of the people to the very presence of God. While we are here, we are called to establish his kingdom in our hearts, but through our union with the resurrection of Christ, the gates of paradise are open for us.
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving! Mother Teresa told this story in the National Prayer Breakfast address in 1994. “One evening several of our sisters went out, and we picked up four people from the street. One of them was in a 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 could not 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!!
I would like to take this opportunity to say, “THANK YOU” to all our cluster parishioners, councils and committee members, people serving as different ministers, Cluster staff, benefactors, and well-wishers… “THANK YOU!”