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(Part 9)


November 24, 2019

Today’s readings:
2 Samuel 5:1-3
Psalm 122:1-5
Colossians 1:12-20
Luke 23:35-43

Today is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, formerly known as “Christ the King.” It was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, which centers on man and leaves God out of the picture. The feast proclaims Christ’s royalty over individuals, families, society, governments and nations.

Today secularism and modernism are once again upon us, and these have infested even the Church. For Christians today, God seems to still be there, but the greater focus is on man. Christians today look to the well-being of man rather than to the holiness of God. Thus, especially in the Western world, the focus is not so much on sexual morality and purity, on righteousness and holiness, on salvation and heaven, but on social justice issues, such as immigration, climate change, acceptance of LGBTs, and the plight of indigenous peoples.

We need to get back to basics, without neglecting the work of bringing glad tidings to the poor. What are the basics?

First, God reconciles us to Himself through the suffering and death of His Son Jesus. Jesus is our Redeemer. God “delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col 1:13-14). Salvation is only in Jesus.

Second, peace and unity in the world can only come through Jesus. These do not come through the United Nations, or by way of interreligious dialogue, or by eliminating poverty. All these works are important, but at the end of the day, it is only Jesus, the Prince of Peace, who can bring about peace, that is, shalom. Jesus accomplished this through the cross. “For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col 1:19-20a).

Third, the cross is central to Christian life. The world today only looks to making life pleasant for everyone­to eliminate poverty, to make the air cleaner to breathe, to accept everyone even those in irregular situations, to allow people to just freely cross borders to live wherever they want, to be provided free healthcare and education, and so on. Even in Jesus’ time, the Jews rejected him because he was not the Messiah they expected. At the crucifixion, “the people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, ‘He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God.’” (Lk 23:35). They were only looking to their own well-being, and missed the very essence of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

Fourth, Jesus points us to the centrality of the cross in Christian life. We are in this world not to enjoy ourselves (that can happen too) but to travel as pilgrims and make it to heaven. At the crucifixion, the soldiers jeered at him and called on him to save himself (Lk 23:36-37). One of the criminals hanging with him also reviled him and told him to save himself and them (Lk 23:39). The focus of man is only on liberating themselves­from poverty, crime, war, and so on. And if God will not do it for them, then they reject God. Only the other criminal understood what Jesus was about, and was justly rewarded. “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Lk 23:43). Heaven is not in this life, in an earthly utopia as proclaimed by socialists, but only with God in the life that is to come.

Jesus is the Davidic King, the Messiah, the Redeemer. Just as with Israel, so too with the Christian people today. “And the Lord said to you: You shall shepherd my people Israel; you shall be ruler over Israel.” (2 Sm 5:2b). Christ is the King. He rules over the new Israel. He rules over us all. Let us rejoice as we say, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” (Ps 122:1b).

We in MFC are founded on the Rock that is Christ. Let us never forget the basics of our Christian faith. Only in Jesus is there salvation, and salvation comes through the cross. Let us faithfully live out our covenant, as we look to Christ the King. “Then all the elders of Israel came to the king in Hebron, and at Hebron King David made a covenant with them in the presence of the Lord; and they anointed David king over Israel.” (2 Sm 5:3).

Jesus is our King and we have a covenant with him. Let us live out the reality of being truly “of Christ” and continue to be founded on Rock.

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