Homily Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe November 22, 2015
Here’s my first point today…
I. The Kingdom of God is found by listening to the directions and to the Director. It will lead to a second point that this feast today, on this last Sunday of the Church year, is an appropriate time to do a little looking back, as well as some looking forward.
But first, one needs to have directions of where they are going, and to be getting them from a good director. It will take some listening and following to Jesus. He is reliable. The guy in the Tom-Tom GPS device that I owned a few years ago, he wasn’t so reliable. I was with a parishioner driving up on Interstate 95 and we got hungry for a meal that wasn’t a fast food, rest stop one. We programmed Tom Tom to find us a restaurant off a New Jersey exit. He spoke to us in our car to take his directions to get to a hotel restaurant, which sounded good, and so from the highway exit we turned where and when he told us to turn. Tom Tom took us all over this remote Jersey countryside, with left turns, right turns, left turns and driving through meadow lanes– until finally we got to the restaurant, which turned out to be right back there near the highway exit again. We had wasted 20 minutes following Tom Tom, and the restaurant wasn’t taking customers. I don’t follow Tom Tom anymore, but I am still following Jesus.
The Kingdom of God is found by listening to Jesus and His guidance for us, and to try and follow what He says. Hear the gospel today as Jesus is saying how “everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My Voice.” So, if the Kingdom of God is everything that is truth (everything that is true and good–hence, the directions for living), then we need to get with belonging to the truth by being good listeners and followers to Him. We listen to Jesus because He IS Truth itself. So, as Christ the King Sunday is at this end timing of the Church Year, we can ask ourselves: What have we been hearing and following and practicing (from Jesus)? Or what might have we missed, in because we were not listening to the True and Living Lord Jesus? Or did we get lost following a different voice?
The kingdom of God is found by listening to the Director. Jesus claims to be your path of success, even the holy road map or GPS to the full human life, which also leads us eventually for Glory and our perfection of life in God. He is the Director to that destination and a good driving of life to it. In John 15 it proclaims that Jesus said: I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life. Now in today’s gospel of John 18, our Redeemer Lord continues to explain how He will be The Way among us, even providing the Spirit of God for our help. If we but follow Instruction #1. (Listen. And Act upon the Lord’s guidance), then we act true to who we are, and become new in Christ even unto the Kingdom of Glory. Christ the King says so today in His Holy Word. Believe it. Why? Because you won’t get lost or misled. Most people do not pay much head to Instruction 1, of listening to The Director Jesus, so all other instructions steps after that are moot. They want to be a self-guide, by pride.
Last weekend in the homily I reminded you of how we are in the dichotomy of the already and not-yet experience of salvation. We are already “in the Lord” but we are not yet in the experience of Glory and the full realization of God’s promises and entrance into His Glorious company. We are pilgrims on the road of life. We have our calling already and our destination, but our way of getting to Heaven has its challenges. Thus, we really could use guidance. And Jesus came to give it. He says that we have a destiny which is His Father’s House: Heaven. So we have a foot in the door of Glory already–at least spiritually. Yet we have to traffic this world by using faith and those spiritual aspects of our being that gets us into contact with God. We people of today have found that God has put His GPS– the Glory Positioning System— into our lives of faith.
That connects us to my second point. God’s GPS doesn’t just show what’s ahead, it also helps us to know how to live by some helpful looks back. We can learn by it. God may also need for us to reconcile with Him over some sins in that looking back. He wants our past to be at peace, so that we can move forward. On this last Sunday of the Church Year, just take a bit of time to look back on the past months, all the way to Advent 2014, and see what God has been doing in us. And then, to where is He leading? Even in our humanity, there is His holy purpose. For Christ was one of us in humanity, and He choose to live in our own flesh and blood today, and in our minds and souls. He is our foundation; He is the ground of experience for us. He wants us to realize that a blessed humanity will lead to a blessed eternity.
Do you 40 yr. olds and up remember the famous dj Casey Kasem and what he would say at each American Top 40 music countdown show, in ending each show with the same sign off? Casey would sign-off saying: “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching to the stars.” I guess it was Casey’s way of talking about that already and not-yet part of life. About being grounded so to also be looking up to Heaven. We are earthly creatures but born for greatness (or, better said, born-again for greatness and great possibilities). Our souls want to reach out and reach up! Why so? Because we are made in the image and likeness of God. Speaking of Kasem, Casey was a Catholic in practice, and he knew that music lifted people up to consider new things, and perhaps, then, of what lay beyond and ahead of us all. Casey maybe had hoped that some song’s lyrics or inspiration sound could have listeners to ponder the greater realities of the existence of God. Rest in peace, Casey, I hope you are in Heaven now among the stars, indeed the angels and saints, in the Presence and Light of God and in Christ the King’s high realm.
If “the end is near” on this last Sunday of the Church year, then what is in sight ahead? Well, Advent is next week, and soon begins a Year of Mercy in the Church. Jesus will want to guide us into more meaning and experience of His Divine Mercy. We can listen to God and wonder: What is God’s Spirit telling the Church in this theme of Mercy? What will God give us through Pope Francis as we journey the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy? What are our personal lives going to do in highlighting God’s Mercy? Do we realize a need in our hearts for deeper experiences in Mercy?
In the communal sense, how will we act as a parish for a Year of Mercy? In St. Edwards, you will see a physical change, as the parish church will changed inside with some Mercy symbols and words and posters. You will be given next Sunday in the bulletin a schedule of Advent, we more confession times available to you here. We also have booked two priests and a lay evangelist to come to our parish during the year to call us to know Mercy. One will be a priest-monk to speak of The Cross of Jesus. Another priest will come at another time and speak of how the 12 Steps program has been a help to him and many of who he’s counseled through the years onto a healthy self, and how the conversion stories all are about Mercy. Thirdly, we have a three-evening retreat lined up in Lent with a layman-evangelist-retreat master, and he is speaking on Mercy. He will apply the everyman experience of Mercy, and the parish spirituality of it. Last Friday evening, we got a jump start on the Year of Mercy with a concert and testimony by Kathleen Fowle (Catholic musical artist). She gave us a beautiful evening of meditating on Mercy through her songs. I hope you were there. Mercy was in the air! (The Spirit.)
Happy Christ the King to you all. Make Christ guide us all under His reign and home to The Father in Heaven.
Kathleen Fowle photo