Sunday, November 25, 2012

'It is right and just' (Christ the King homily)

In a few minutes, after the Creed and the collection, 
I’ll go to the altar and prepare bread and wine for the Sacrifice. 
Then I’ll sing, “The Lord be with you”… 
“Lift up your hearts”… 
“Let us give thanks to the Lord our God”… 

“It is right and just.”

What is “right and just”?

To give thanks…to worship.
If true, that means it’s wrong--and unjust--not to do so.

Now, we often admit we owe God our thanks. And that’s true.
The late Bishop Moeddel used to say 
that you are allowed to skip Sunday Mass--
if you have absolutely nothing to be thankful for.

Even so, no matter what we do, we cannot injure God.
But when we refuse to acknowledge Christ as king,
We do “injustice” to ourselves--we distort ourselves.
It’s natural--it’s universal--for children to respect their parents.
Now imagine showing no such respect.
What sort of people would we be?

The point I’m making is that in giving worship to God,
We’re not just doing him a courtesy.
We’re doing something essential to our own well being.
And if this is true, then it suggests that in our worship of God, 
something more than good intentions is necessary.

The way we worship as Catholics--through the Mass--
isn’t the result of some bishops or priests somewhere saying, 
“what would be nice to do?”

Now, I know folks will say, 
when I go to the mountains, or the beach, 
that’s my cathedral, I feel like I’m worshipping God there.
OK; and our Lord did spend time praying 
in the mountains and by the sea.
But just before his greatest work--on the Cross--
he gathered his Apostles and said, 
“do this in memory of me”: the Sacrifice of the Mass.

Of course the Mass as developed over the centuries; 
But the Sacrifice at the heart of the Mass 
came from Christ himself.

There is something here that bears reflection.

What person among us would--at the end our lives--
want to look in the mirror and say, 
“I had countless opportunities in my life, 
to deny myself, to give of myself, for others--
for a spouse, for children, for my country…

And I refused every single one!”?

One of the things I respect about my father is how he gave of himself:
for my mother, for his mother, for our family, for so many people.

How remarkable that the king--the God--we worship, 
himself came not to be served, but to serve; 
and to give his life as a ransom for the many?
I submit that:
Worshipping our God in this way, through sacrifice; 
By joining our lives to his; 
Not coming to God to impress him;
And not coming here to “feel good about ourselves”;
But instead to lose ourselves to the King who,
because he did it first, we can entrust ourselves to him without fear…
I submit that this isn’t just a nice thing to do, but a necessary thing.

It is right and just.

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