November 21, 2021 – Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/112121.cfm)
“If & when given another chance, would you do it again or anew? Would you do it as before or better than before?”
2014, before going to Korea to minister our Filipino Migrants & workers, I was assigned as a parish priest in our big Redemptorist parish found at the very heart of Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental Philippines. However, amidst the busyness and burdens of my responsibilities then, I was more drawn to the challenging life-question: “At this stage of your life, if and when given another chance by the Lord, would you do it again or anew? – would you do it as before or better as before?” These questions challenged me to review (to look again) my life as it, to think outside the box and out of my comfort zone, and to openly consider once again another vocation God is challenging me to be at midway of my life. While I responsively considered “a life not again but anew, and a life not as before but better than before”, eventually I found myself in Gwangju Korea, serving God and the Church as Redemptorist missionary in an entirely unique culture, working with new set of people, both fellow Filipinos and foreigners, doing migrant ministry, which specifically distinct from what I was used to do in parish work. Because of this and since then, my life is never the same again. Never I could imagine then to live my life in Korea for five years then because I reconsidered a life anew and better than before with our Lord. Difficult it may be but surely my life has been more fruitful, enriching and blessed than as before.
Sharing you my life-experience somehow give and offer you a glimpse of the spirit and meaning of our celebration today of the Solemnity of the Kingship of Christ.
Today on the Solemnity of Christ the King, we celebrate the reign of Jesus Christ in our Christian life. We, the whole Christian world proclaim and witness today to Christ’s leadership and sovereignty in our Christian lives. Jesus Christ our King is our Way, Truth and Life who is our leader, guide, and force in faith & life as it was, as it is, and as will always be. Also, today on the Solemnity of Christ the King marks the end of our liturgical year. For the past year of Christian worship, we have followed and journeyed with the Lord in our life as we praise, believe, proclaim, serve, love, and live our faith in God with Jesus. Our recent past year with the Lord amidst pandemic does have its own challenges, difficulties, sufferings as well as blessings, growth, and opportunities.
As we bid farewell to liturgical year B (reflecting mostly on the Jesus story as told to us through the gospel of St. Mark), better also for us to review our life with the Lord this past year, and be more open to consider another and a new chance to journey in faith with our Lord. Perhaps also consider the question: “At this stage of your life, if and when given another chance by the Lord, would you do it again or anew? Would you do it as before or better as before?” – “Sa buhay ko ngayon, kung at pag-binigyan ng muling pagkakataon ng Panginoon, gagawin ko bang muli o panibago ang aking buhay? Gagawin ko ba gaya ng dati o mas Mabuti pa ang aking buhay?”
These questions take into account two important considerations: the role of Jesus in our life and our choice to follow and journey with Him in our life always. On one hand, these challenges give importance to the role of Jesus in our life. The life that we have and live now is a life of chances and opportunities God has given and shared us. In simple words, our life is a gift from God – not made, built, and programmed by us. Now, consider how we live our life now. Do we recognize, believe, and worship our life-giver and life-sharer God who gives us the chance to live our life now? Does Jesus have a part, a role in our daily lives? Or rather, we recognize, believe and worship only ourselves &/or our life now with others than God? So, in humility, healthy for us to reconsider our life as “If and when given another chance by the Lord” for we don’t really know how this God-given life could and will be.
On the other hand, these challenges give importance to our choice to follow and journey with Jesus in our life always. As we consider our life as God-given chances and opportunities, we should also have to make a choice and commitment to live, lead and journey our lives in accordance and in faith with our Lord Jesus Christ. Here we are to live our lives as Christians disciples – following and journeying with Lord in life creatively. Being Christian is our choice of lifestyle – our way of being & living our life as human in the world, and participating in God’s recreation of our world. Living our life as Christian then gives meaning, spirit, and direction to live our God-given life anew and better than before, as well as fully reveals to us the leadership and sovereignty of the Lord’s kingship through our lives to the world.
Our gospel reminds us our Lord Jesus Christ is a rejected and persecuted King and Leader. His kingship then is not based on his command and authority with us His disciples, but on our choice to follow and journey with Him in life – living our life with Him. More than honor, praise, prestige due for Him as our Lord and King, Jesus desires our companionship, participation, and commitment to be and live with Him in our journey of life. Ask not the Lord like Pontius Pilate: “Are you the King?” but rather “Is Jesus my King?” Rather than probing on His kingship, anew and better then recognize, believe, choose, and live our lives with Jesus as our Way, Truth and Life in our world.
Again, as we say Goodbye to Year B and say hello to another chance, but a new year of living with and in the Lord’s kingship, healthy for us to reconsider this question: ““At this stage of your life, if and when given another chance by the Lord, would you do it again or anew? Would you do it as before or better as before?”