1988 Nov 20 – Christ the King Sun (Bulletin Letters)
Jn 18, 33b – 37
CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY: We are at the end of the Church year. Today’s text points to the kingship of Christ. Daniel tells of his vision of the Son of Man’s ascent into the heavens. There the Lord God bestows on him the “dominion, glory and kingship” of all the nations and peoples of the world for all times. His reign is everlasting and indestructible. In Revelations, we are told Jesus is the fulfillment of Daniels vision. To read today’s first two readings there should be no doubt at all of the Lordship of Jesus. Yet, nearly 2,000 years after Jesus ‘s “faithful witness” the world seems no nearer to accepting the Lordship of Jesus than it did in those ancient times. What’s the problem? Why the apparent contradiction? What are we missing?
In today’s Gospel from John we see the contrast between two distinct and opposing kinas of kingdom, kings and powers. Jesus is before Pilate. He is charged with the treasonous act of declaring himself King of the Jews. No minor charge. The Romans constantly had trouble with the Jews. Every other year a so-called King would arise and provoke a confrontation with Rome. Each time Romans would ruthlessly root out the rebellion. Jesus had the look of yet another self-proclaimed Messiah. It was a serious charge, not without its merit.
Pilate interrogates Jesus. They are not talking to each other. They are talking past each other. Pilate asks, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus says his kingdom is not of “this world”, not of this kind. Pilate misses the point and surmises, “So, then you are a king?” Jesus take another bent. He declares his reason for being is to “testify to the truth.” If you know truth you know who Jesus is. Pilate missed the point. He missed the truth.
Today is Christ the King Sunday. For those of faith the Lordship of Jesus is obvious. Without faith it is not so clear. On the other hand, what is clear in faith is not so clear in the here and now. The Gospels tell us the Lordship of Jesus rests on the power of love, a power that does not rely on force or coercion or violence in any form. It’s authority rests in the Spirit and not in any external laws. It is inevitable that these two forms of power should clash. Jesus’ life clearly shows this to be true. Jesus asked his followers to live as he lived. The inevitable clash between love and law will continue with the followers of Jesus. To side with Jesus and the power of love is to find oneself up against the Pilates of our day, armed with disarming love against the worldly power of law and violence.
What makes all this more confusing today is that many who claim faith in the Lordship of Jesus put more faith in the worldly powers of law and violence. Little wonder the Pilates of the world are still confused about the truth of Jesus. We Christians keep giving double messages. Todays feast of Christ the King should serve as a challenge for us to seek ways to live by the power of love over and above the ways of the world.
88 11 20
CAMPAIGN FOR HUMAN DEVELOPMENT: This week we are enclosing information and an envelope for donations to the Campaign for Human Development (CHD). Take the time to read this information. CHD is the US Catholic Bishops organization that funds self-help projects for the poor in the USA. This year’s campaign is targeting the plight of the homeless. As we all come with our families to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, let the spirit of thankfulness extend into a generous gift for CHD. The need is real and we have a lot to be grateful for.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED AT WESTMONT: Westmont Care Center is starting a volunteer core. An orientation meeting will be held Tuesday, November 22nd at the Care Center activity room. This is a great opportunity for you to put yourself one-on-one with one of the least in our midst. Time spent at Westmont is time spent with the Christ in our midst. Give this opportunity plenty of consideration. They are not asking for your money.
They are asking for you.