Mass Readings for Christ the King

First reading 2 Samuel 5:1-3
All the tribes of Israel then came to David at Hebron. ‘Look’ they said ‘we are your own flesh and blood. In days past when Saul was our king, it was you who led Israel in all their exploits; and the Lord said to you, “You are the man who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you shall be the leader of Israel.”’ So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a pact with them at Hebron in the presence of the Lord, and they anointed David king of Israel.

Psalm Psalm 121:1-5

Second reading Colossians 1:12-20
We give thanks to the Father who has made it possible for you to join the saints and with them to inherit the light.
Because that is what he has done: he has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that he loves, and in him, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.
He is the image of the unseen God
and the first-born of all creation,
for in him were created
all things in heaven and on earth:
everything visible and everything invisible,
Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers –
all things were created through him and for him.
Before anything was created, he existed,
and he holds all things in unity.
Now the Church is his body,
he is its head.
As he is the Beginning,
he was first to be born from the dead,
so that he should be first in every way;
because God wanted all perfection
to be found in him
and all things to be reconciled through him and for him,
everything in heaven and everything on earth,
when he made peace
by his death on the cross.

Gospel Luke 23:35-43
The people stayed there before the cross watching Jesus. As for the leaders, they jeered at him. ‘He saved others,’ they said ‘let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.’ The soldiers mocked him too, and when they approached to offer vinegar they said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’ Above him there was an inscription: ‘This is the King of the Jews.’
One of the criminals hanging there abused him. ‘Are you not the Christ?’ he said. ‘Save yourself and us as well.’ But the other spoke up and rebuked him. ‘Have you no fear of God at all?’ he said. ‘You got the same sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it: we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus,’ he said ‘remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ ‘Indeed, I promise you,’ he replied ‘today you will be with me in paradise.’

I am going to ask you a question, can anyone here tell me who are the first five people who reached the summit of Mount Everest? Perhaps we can think of one, or two. But for many, we don’t care. Why is this? Because, these people became only famous in their lifetime, or maybe even, just once in their lifetime. Once they’re dead, their crown or honour went with them to the grave. And the rest is history. This is the main difference between the famous figures in history and Jesus. After Jesus’ death, his cause has continued. His Spirit continues to work  and inspire people all throughout the history of Christianity, up to now. Our presence here today, in this great celebration of the Eucharist, is one real proof of this Spirit of Christ, working in us. This is why we are celebrating this feast of Christ the King today, because we believe that Jesus has emerged victorious over all the enemies, even death, so he is rightly called the King of Kings, Christ the King. This feast was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 to counteract the growing secularism and atheism in that time.

But what  does “Christ the King” mean for us now? Fairy tales would tell us that a king is someone who has kingdom, who has subjects at his disposal, has power, authority, wealth, and a beautiful palace and with  all the things that he needs. However, our Gospel today, reminds us that the Kingship of Christ is not a fairy tale, but a real one. That’s why people in his time could not believe him, because they were imagining a fairy tale king and a fairy tale kingdom.  Luke tells us that even the very idea of Jesus as king is used  to mock him, to bully him. The leaders jeered at him, the soldiers mocked him for claiming as a saviour who could not even save himself.

Our readings  today give us three images of a king, the first reading offers us a shepherd king, the second reading gives us a saviour king, and the gospel portrays to us a suffering servant king.

As a shepherd, Christ as our King, does not just sit on his throne, but he leads his sheep, protects them from enemies, seeks  out to those who are lost, and knows them by name.

As a saviour, according to St Paul to the Collosian community, he “reconciles all things to God the Father, by his death on the cross. He saves us from death. He saves those who are instrumental of his death, by pleading to his Father, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they were doing.” He saves one of the thieves who is the first one to believe that he is really a king, “remember me, when you come into your KINGDOM,” he says. And we hear Jesus’ response, ‘today, you will be with me in paradise.” What a beautiful dying word of Jesus.

As a servant King, he obeyed God willingly even to be executed with a death of a worst criminal, to be mocked by people, to be abandoned even by his closest friends, to be crowned not with a crown of gold but with a crown of thorns.

What can we take from this feast?

As Christians, we are to open our hearts to Christ. We are to let Christ be the master of our life. We are to make him the force deep inside us. He will never let us down. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing. In fact, apart from him, our being a Christian means nothing. If we take the word CHRIST in the word CHRISTIAN, what remains are the letters I-A- and N. Which can mean I AM NOTHING.

In our world today, due to the  overwhelming success of science, which makes the world smaller and smaller everyday, with everything we want we can get in an instant, there is a tendency to put Christ aside. If we put Christ aside, this also means we are not working for the promotion of his kingdom. We have to know and understand, that in baptism, we are privileged enough to share in the mission of Christ, as priest,  prophet and king.

As sharer of his kingly mission, we have been given seeds of the kingdom to plant, to nurture and to share. What are these seeds? The seeds of “Truth and life”, “holiness and grace”, “justice, love and peace.”

Everyday, we can read on the papers, something about killing, suicides and everything. These are just few examples of a culture of death. As Christians we are called to counteract this culture, by promoting culture of life.

We hear on the news people being unjustly treated. It’s  very unchristian for us if we just sit on our lounge watching the fate of these people. We’ve got to do something. We don’t have to go anywhere. We have all these church or government agencies to facilitate our help and assistance to them. Let’s do something. We have to remember today is also a Mission Sunday. Let’s help the mission.

We read in the papers, people trying to discredit the role of religion in the public life. Let them mock us. But we have to remember that we are not promoting our cause here, we are representing Jesus Christ. Bishop Joe told us seminarians,  “If somebody attacks your position, don’t take it personally, remember that you are representing Jesus, so they are not attacking you, but Jesus.” So let’s not get discouraged.It is better to walk in the dark with faith that Jesus is walking with us, than to walk in the light alone.

We already have a glimpse of God’s kingdom, when we experience how beautiful a feeling it is, when  we love each other, when there is peace in our homes, when there is justice in our society. We have to remember this, the Kingdom of God is where this beautiful experience of loving and sharing is prolonged in eternity. So, what are we  waiting for? Let us allow Christ reign in our hearts as our only King, idol, and model, and let’s start planting, nurturing and developing the seeds of the kingdom that God has entrusted to us. Amen.

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