Sunday, November 25, 2007
Our King on a Cross (homily for Christ the King)
How very strange, our king upon a cross!
"Some king," they mocked, passing by.
"Look at him--there on the cross!"
This scene confuses us; it also haunts us:
what would we have done, had we been there?
Better question: what do we do...now?
How do we receive him as king...now?
He's here in the church, at all times, in the tabernacle.
He asks us to honor him in everyone we meet,
particularly the poor and all who suffer.
So, if we wish we could have stood with him, then,
we have every opportunity to stand with him, now.
And we have every opportunity to lift him up as king.
As you drive home today, let him be king behind the wheel!
Look for him among those who are suffering or neglected;
care for his wounds there.
There is something else to consider as we contemplate the Cross.
The Cross isn't something we Christians "invented."
The Cross was already in the picture long before Jesus came.
Crucifixion is what we all do to one another in our self-will,
our anger, and our indifference.
It is what our culture does, oh so seductively,
through advertising that sells happiness in a bottle,
and tells us, particularly our kids,
that we have to look a certain way to be happy.
Commerce is so important
that even one day of Thanksgiving can barely be tolerated.
Our nation is so powerful,
and we like to think we only use our power for good.
But let's not kid ourselves--
our nation was not conceived without sin.
At the other end of that power, in faraway places,
are a lot of crucifixions we never see.
Sometimes we want to look away from the Cross.
But until our King returns again in glory,
at the end of time, this is how we behold him.
One more thing: the Cross is a cross-roads.
It is where we choose between our path--
the path of self-will, of being our own king--
and the path of following Christ.
And this cross-roads is what the Mass is.
We wonder what it was like at the Cross that day;
we wonder what we would have done.
We don't have to wonder: the Cross is here!
The Mass is the Cross.
It happens, it becomes present, right here!
If we think of the Mass as merely people gathering together,
to say prayers or listen to readings,
we might wonder why that's a big deal.
But the Mass is the Cross!
You wish you could be with the Lord that day?
This is the Day!
You want to come to his Cross?
You want to touch his broken Body?
Do you long to be redeemed by his Blood?
Here it is:
His death for our life happens here;
His Body is offered here;
His Blood is poured out and shared with us, here!
We find our King on the Cross.
It may seem strange.
But then, when we consider our world, our own lives, we realize:
That's exactly where we needed him most.