Today is the Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe.
The title may seem grandiose, but it makes the point:
Jesus is king of everything, everyone, everywhere: no limits!
This feast was established in 1925 by Pope Pius XI.
It was a time of “isms” – that is, causes demanding total allegiance,
and seeking a total reordering of society:
Fascism, communism, socialism and Nazism among them.
Alas, we have new “isms” being added to the old ones.
Caring for the environment is a good and necessary thing,
but for some it becomes a kind of religion, worshipping Nature
while human beings are treated as the enemy.
For others, the object of worship is the self; our own will.
So all the confusion today about sex
and man and woman and marriage and identity?
That’s us saying to God: MY will be done, not yours!
In the end, it’s all variations on the same theme:
People who will not have God as God; they want to be their own god.
This feast is when you and I as Christians must bear witness:
Without God, humanity loses himself.
There is a second point to make on this feast, and it is this:
Bearing this witness means helping to reflect Christ and his Truth
in our society and yes in our laws.
Yes, we live in a pluralistic society, and we have religious freedom.
But that doesn’t silence our own voices or our votes;
That doesn’t mean our consciences must be locked away!
It does mean, however, that you and I must reach out to our neighbors,
who don’t share our faith, but who may share common values.
You don’t have to be Catholic or Christian to value human life,
To know that men are made for women and vice-versa,
And to see that the family is the foundation of human society.
Let me make a third point that isn’t about larger forces in society,
or about a future that you and I can only glimpse darkly.
This is about something each of us can do, here and now,
to make Christ king in our own lives, and show him as such to others.
When the weather is calm, a fence can be put up pretty loosely;
it doesn’t need much to stay standing.
But when the winds start raging,
that fence will be knocked flat, fast,
if it isn’t dug deep and well anchored.
That’s what we are facing today as Christians:
Headwinds that are becoming more ferocious daily.
That means the time is now to strengthen our foundation, dig it deep.
This is why Sunday Mass matters.
It’s our weekly reminder of who we really are: citizens of heaven.
And when our culture is forgetting God more and more,
It’s all the more necessary to make a conscious effort to remember.
To be all the more deliberate and focused.
As a priest, I will readily admit Mass can become routine –
Am I the only one? I suspect not.
Each time we come into this church, we enter King Jesus’ presence!
Each Mass, we witness the renewal of our salvation!
When you and I take advantage of confession,
That is the most powerful tool for re-ordering our lives
so that Christ is at the center,
not work, not sports, not ego, not pleasure.
The tug-of-war is always there for everyone one of us.
Our reading project for Advent and Christmas –
reading our way through the Gospel of Matthew – is a great tool.
The brown books are the Gospel of Matthew itself;
The white folders are study guides if you want it.
The cards in the pews are so you can sign up for a discussion group.
At the end of this Mass, as we do every year,
We will pray together a prayer enthroning Jesus as our king.
How about we pray for each other that what we say in that prayer,
each of us can find ways to make happen
in our daily lives for the coming year?
Individually, and as a parish, you and I can be part of larger efforts
to make a difference in society;
In our own lives, in our daily choices,
you and I can enthrone Jesus more and more as King.
We don’t have to wait to get started.