Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gospel Reflection

November 25, 2012
Sunday – Year of Faith
The Solemnity of Christ the King
Anticipated Sunday Mass
by Rev. Fr. Jim Ferry (San Carlos Pastoral Formation Complex EDSA, Guadalupe, Makati)
Mass at Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel, Greenbelt, Makati

Reading 1 Dn 7:13-14

As the visions during the night continued, I saw one like a Son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; when he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 93:1, 1-2, 5

R. (1a) The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed;
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.

Reading 2 Rv 1:5-8

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. All the peoples of the earth will lament him. Yes. Amen."I am the Alpha and the Omega, " says the Lord God, "the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty."

Gospel Jn 18:33b-37

Pilate said to Jesus, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?" Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?" Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here." So Pilate said to him, "Then you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."


In the Liturgy of the Word that has just been proclaimed, we see in the Book of Daniel a prophecy, that there will be the Son of Man who will be presented to the Ancient One - the Father. And He will be given dominion over all the earth. This is the prophecy concerning Jesus.

And then in our Second Reading, in Revelations, we see Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father, and will receive the acclamation of all, as a consequence of His Kingship, over all the kings and the queens and the leaders and presidents that we know of in this world.

As a consequence of Christ proclaiming the truth, He lived out the very reason for His coming among us. He is a King indeed, but He came under one who wants to rule by power, who wants to rule by fear, who wants to rule by way of people coming and adoring before him, not because of love, but because of the desire to share in his power, to share in his earthly wealth. This is not the king who proclaims the truth. This is not the king who explains the proclamation of truth by the way he lives a life of love, a life of forgiveness, a life of service, a life that calls each and everyone of us today. 

Let us keep Christ at the center of our Catholic lives. Don't take this gift for granted. That wonderful gift of faith. That wonderful gift of being able to live out that faith in love, and in courage, and in service. Let us not be afraid even if darkness comes upon us because of the evil that we experience in this world. There may be tremendous times when our faith is tested. But keeping Christ at the center of our life of truth and love, with Christ as Victor, we will share in that victory.

May I give you an example from my own life. When I was 19 years of age, I celebrated my first feast of the Christ the King here in the Philippines, in Zamboanga. The invasion has just been finished, and we were there for about six months. Finally, the war ends on August the 15th. And during November, on the last Sunday of the Liturgical year, I saw the faith of our Filipino brothers and sisters. Your ancestors in the faith. 

In 1945, our people had just ended four years of war. Many, especially the children, were hungry because of the scarcity of food, and the people were mourning their deaths, because they would rather fight for freedom in their country rather than give it up to the invaders. The churches in Zamboanga have long been destroyed due to the war. But on the feast of Christ the King, the Filipinos came into our chapel, into our naval base, and what did they bring? Yes, their children, yes their old. But so many of them brought images of the Sto. Nino, images of the Sacred Heart, images of Christ the King. And yes, images of the Blessed Mother. They have held on to these images during those terrible, dark years of war. And now they have an opportunity to celebrate in freedom. And they came. They wore clothes that were a result of war, but their hearts were the hearts of those who kept faith in Jesus. They remained faithful, they remained full of hope. And during that time, they practiced the charity of Jesus, caring for one another, praying for one another, and sharing whatever they have with one another. And when the opportunity came to express that, they came together in procession on the feast of Christ the King, in a small chapel, in a quiet, isolated place, not like the grandeur of Makati, not like what we have today.

After many years later, I celebrate the same feast of Christ the King. And year after year, after so many years after my ordination, and returning to the Philippines, this feast always reminds me to ask myself a question. Self, is your faith as strong as the people of Zamboanga in 1945? Is Christ truly the center of my life as a Christian, and my life as a priest? 

You are invited to ask yourself the same questions in this mass. Is Christ the center of your hearts? And as lay people, and as married people as many of you are, is Christ the ruler of your families? Do we all live the truth? Do we all pray to strengthen our faith? Have we the courage to remain one with Jesus even as you and I struggle against sin? Even as you and I find it hard to forgive? And maybe even to confess our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

Christ is a King of love. A King of truth. A King who calls us to walk in His footsteps. Just as our brothers and sisters in those many, many years ago, walked in the footsteps of Christ, bloodied by war and starvation, and sacrifice, we, too, are called to walk in the footsteps of Christ, the footsteps of sacrifice, footsteps of penance, footsteps of acts of charity, the footsteps that will enable us to live truthful lives, truthful to what God asks of us, and true in our relationships with one another, in marvelous, marvelous numbers.

I hope you, too, can reflect in your own heart, to go back in your own lives, to those moments when it was very, very difficult to stay one with Jesus, the times perhaps when it was almost impossible to speak the truth, because we were afraid of the cost that proclaiming the truth will demand of us. Allow your memories to stir up within you those wonderful moments, when, through the example of other people, your own faith was strengthened, and when your own faith encouraged you to proclaim in your own heart and in your own families, and in your own places of work, that Jesus Christ is King. 

May Jesus reign over each one of us, as our sovereign king and servant leader, as the One who came to sanctify us, as the One who came to teach us, as the One who guides all of us.

You may also want to see:  A Holy Life - The Solemnity of Christ the King

A Holy Life

The Solemnity of Christ the King

The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, a way of life which leaves God out of man's thinking and living and organizes his life as if God did not exist. The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ's royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations.

Today's Mass establishes the titles for Christ's royalty over men: 1) Christ is God, the Creator of the universe and hence wields a supreme power over all things; "All things were created by Him"; 2) Christ is our Redeemer, He purchased us by His precious Blood, and made us His property and possession; 3) Christ is Head of the Church, "holding in all things the primacy"; 4) God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as His special possession and dominion.

Today's Mass also describes the qualities of Christ's kingdom. This kingdom is: 1) supreme, extending not only to all people but also to their princes and kings; 2) universal, extending to all nations and to all places; 3) eternal, for "The Lord shall sit a King forever"; 4) spiritual, Christ's "kingdom is not of this world". — Rt. Rev. Msgr. Rudolph G. Bandas

According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, this feast is celebrated on the last Sunday of October.

Christ the King as Represented in the Liturgy

The liturgy is an album in which every epoch of Church history immortalizes itself. Therein, accordingly, can be found the various pictures of Christ beloved during succeeding centuries. In its pages we see pictures of Jesus suffering and in agony; we see pictures of His Sacred Heart; yet these pictures are not proper to the nature of the liturgy as such; they resemble baroque altars in a gothic church. Classic liturgy knows but one Christ: the King, radiant, majestic, and divine.

With an ever-growing desire, all Advent awaits the "coming King"; in the chants of the breviary we find repeated again and again the two expressions "King" and "is coming." On Christmas the Church would greet, not the Child of Bethlehem, but the Rex Pacificus — "the King of peace gloriously reigning." Within a fortnight, there follows a feast which belongs to the greatest of the feasts of the Church year -- the Epiphany. As in ancient times oriental monarchs visited their principalities (theophany), so the divine King appears in His city, the Church; from its sacred precincts He casts His glance over all the world....On the final feast of the Christmas cycle, the Presentation in the Temple, holy Church meets her royal Bridegroom with virginal love: "Adorn your bridal chamber, O Sion, and receive Christ your King!" The burden of the Christmas cycle may be summed up in these words: Christ the King establishes His Kingdom of light upon earth!
If we now consider the Easter cycle, the luster of Christ's royal dignity is indeed somewhat veiled by His sufferings; nevertheless, it is not the suffering Jesus who is present to the eyes of the Church as much as Christ the royal Hero and Warrior who upon the battlefield of Golgotha struggles with the mighty and dies in triumph. Even during Lent and Passiontide the Church acclaims her King. The act of homage on Palm Sunday is intensely stirring; singing psalms in festal procession we accompany our Savior singing: Gloria, laus et honor tibi sit, Rex Christe, "Glory, praise and honor be to Thee, Christ, O King!" It is true that on Good Friday the Church meditates upon the Man of Sorrows in agony upon the Cross, but at the same time, and perhaps more so, she beholds Him as King upon a royal throne. The hymn Vexilla Regis, "The royal banners forward go," is the more perfect expression of the spirit from which the Good Friday liturgy has arisen. Also characteristic is the verse from Psalm 95, Dicite in gentibus quia Dominus regnavit, to which the early Christians always added, a ligno, "Proclaim among the Gentiles: the Lord reigns from upon the tree of the Cross!" During Paschal time the Church is so occupied with her glorified Savior and Conqueror that kingship references become rarer; nevertheless, toward the end of the season we celebrate our King's triumph after completing the work of redemption, His royal enthronement on Ascension Thursday.

Neither in the time after Pentecost is the picture of Christ as King wholly absent from the liturgy. Corpus Christi is a royal festival: "Christ the King who rules the nations, come, let us adore" (Invit.). In the Greek Church the feast of the Transfiguration is the principal solemnity in honor of Christ's kingship, Summum Regem gloriae Christum adoremus (Invit.). Finally at the sunset of the ecclesiastical year, the Church awaits with burning desire the return of the King of Majesty.

We will overlook further considerations in favor of a glance at the daily Offices. How often do we not begin Matins with an act of royal homage: "The King of apostles, of martyrs, of confessors, of virgins — come, let us adore" (Invit.). Lauds is often introduced with Dominus regnavit, "The Lord is King". Christ as King is also a first consideration at the threshold of each day; for morning after morning we renew our oath of fidelity at Prime: "To the King of ages be honor and glory." Every oration is concluded through our Mediator Christ Jesus "who lives and reigns forever." Yes, age-old liturgy beholds Christ reigning as King in His basilica (etym.: "the king's house"), upon the altar as His throne.


Sources for this article were taken from:  The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch



Father all-powerful, God of love,
 You have raised our Lord Jesus Christ from death to life,
 Resplendent in glory as King of creation.
 Open our hearts, free all the world to rejoice in his peace,
To glory in his justice, to live in his love.
Bring all mankind together in Jesus Christ your Son,
 Whose kingdom is with You and the Holy Spirit, One God,
for ever and ever.


Christ, our King – have mercy on us