November 20, 2022 – Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/112022.cfm)
Usually during Eucharist, after the homily, we stand up and renew our faith by saying the words: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty..” These words are the very foundation of our Christian faith and of our Eucharistic celebration. By professing our Christian faith, we renew our Christian commitment and we articulate our witnessing to God’s salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are moments, however that we express our faith without any serious intentions and commitments. There are moments that some would even say these words halfheartedly and without sense & spirit at all. Like a memorized formula, saying those words without meaning it. Worse, others cannot even memorize those words. I remember once, during Baptism and Easter Vigil Mass, where we usually renew our faith, when the priest: “Do you believe in God the Father?”, rarely you would hear a loud response: “I do believe”. Others would not even respond at all, as though they don’t care if we and they believe at all.
Today, we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King. We honor the kingship of Jesus Christ in our lives today. However, we hear from our gospel today that Jesus, our King is not only a crucified king but also a king who is rejected, insulted, dishonored, and humiliated by the people. We cannot deny in our gospel today that Jesus Christ is a harassed, rejected, disgraced, maltreated, and persecuted King. Indeed, they proclaimed Jesus as King, but a Redeemer king who cannot even redeem and save himself – a king without a throne, and worse crucified on a cross.
We do need to seriously reflect our gospel today, for it challenges us to deeply understand our faith not only on his Kingship but most of all our faith in Jesus himself. We might ask ourselves: “Do we really acknowledge and believe Jesus as Christ the king?” or “Are we like, Pontius Pilate who admits or not, because others say so?” “Before me, who is Jesus? Who do I say Jesus is?”. Or perhaps ask ourselves: “who and what do I believe and worship? Is it God whom we believe and worship? Or we rather believe and worship our life, work, honor, wealth, and others than God himself?”
This is a concrete call for us Christians to look deeply into our own personal commitment to what and who we really believe in. We honor Jesus today, our Christ and our King whom people have persecuted, humiliated, maltreated and rejected. “Would you still consider him as your King? Would you recognize and bear witness to Him as your king? Or would you reject, dishonor, and persecute him again like what others did and are doing today?”
God’s kingdom then does not rest only the kingship of Christ but on our authentic witnessing and commitment of our faith in Jesus Christ. As His Witnesses now, we consider Jesus as our King, not only because of what he has done but most of all on His own commitment towards the Father and for the salvation of all. God’s kingdom and the kingship of Jesus Christ do not only mean name, power, and prestige of Jesus but moreso our heartfelt and wholehearted profession, proclamation, witnessing and commitment to God’s salvation through our faith in Jesus Christ. The kingdom of God then requires our total and authentic commitment to Christ, as Christ commits himself to us & our Father.
Again, here in our celebration today, we Christians are called to proclaim and witness our faith in Jesus Christ. As Jesus bears witness to his great love to the Father, we are also invited to the same total and wholehearted dedication and faith in Jesus. Brothers and sisters, as Christians, we should not be ashamed to express and proclaim our faith to ourselves, to each others and to others. As Filipino Catholics, we look also forward now to the next 500 years of our Christian faith & witnessing here & abroad.
As we end and about to begin a new liturgical year, let our eucharist today be another beginning to renew our faith, that is to make our faith better than ever. Amen.