Fr. Charles Irvin
Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18:33-37
Each year in our liturgical cycles we, as Catholics, celebrate the mystery of our salvation which God has prepared for us in Jesus Christ and which, from the Fall of Adam and Eve until now, unfolds in our human time. There was a beginning, there is a time in which we now live, and there is an ending yet to come. We live in that time that is already but not yet. Christ has come, and Christ will come again as King of the Universe.
We are integrated into the history of mankind’s salvation, a history that had a beginning, that is unfolding in a dynamic way through our response to what God has offered us, and which, without interruption, speeds toward the Final Coming of Christ as King of the Universe.
I use the term “dynamic” with precision. This is because the whole of the history of our salvation, as presented to us by God, is present to us, and is the “today” in which we live throughout the days of our lives as members of the community of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ.
All that we think, say and do has consequences – infinite and everlasting consequences – because God is offering us, each day, all that He has done and all that He will yet do in the gift of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. To ignore Him is to offend the generosity of God. To ignore Him is to snub God’s love for us. To ignore Him is to place in peril all that God is yet going to accomplish in human history, with or without our personal response, our individual cooperation, our reception of His gift to us.
What I have just said is so important that I’m going to repeat it. The state of our souls when we die is at risk. The truth of what I am about to repeat is THAT important. So let me repeat: All that we think, say and do has consequences – infinite and everlasting consequences – because God is offering us, each day, all that He has done and all that He will yet do in the gift of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. To ignore Him is to offend the generosity of God. To ignore Him is to snub God’s love for us. To ignore Him is to place in peril all that God is yet going to accomplish in human history, with or without our personal response, our individual cooperation, our reception of His gift to us.
You have often heard Jesus speak of “the last days.” You have heard, repeatedly heard the words of Christ, when He tells us: “This generation will not pass away until all these things are accomplished.” Well . . . He’s telling us that everything that God has done, and everything that God will yet do, is immediately present to you and to me in Jesus Christ. One rejects Him at peril of losing one’s soul (providing, of course, that you even recognize that you have a soul – a recognition that is fast fading from the consciousness of youngsters and young adults these days).
The Son of God has, in his humanity, became the Son of Man, living among us in his twofold dimension of being both God and Man at one and the same time, living our human history according to God’s planned salvation history, amongst all of our slowness, resistance, heaviness, and trials, up to and including our ignominious crucifixion of our King, a title he accepted only when falsely judged by Pilate, one of the princes of this world.
Pilate’s judgment, namely the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, brought forth an cry of recognition from a pagan non-believing Roman soldier, a cry that had not come forth from the lips of the believers: “Truly this man was the Son of God!” The only Jew who recognized Christ that way was Doubting Thomas, the apostle who resembles so many of us these days, the myriads of doubters who hesitate to receive what God is offering us in Jesus Christ. Doubt joins us at the hip with Thomas, the doubting apostle who, after he put his fingers in the wounds and his hands in the pierced side, cried out: “My Lord, and my God!”
The prevailing heresy of our day is not so much active doubt as it is passive indifference. Secularism and materialism have so seduced modern souls that they, almost unawares, worship a whole temple full of false gods, idols to whom they have given over their lives. Idolatry is at the bottom of pornography, lust and sexual promiscuity. Idolatry is at the bottom of acquisitiveness, the lust for more money and more power, for prominence, notoriety and the fanciful fame of this world. Idolatry is the driving force behind the media hype that raises up the Madonna of MTV to be worshiped along with the other manmade, media made icons at which we throw our money – and whom we wish to be like. Secular and material idols capture the modern heart and soul.
Which is why we celebrate this Solemnity of Christ the King at the end of each liturgical year. For unless we have a clear vision of the meaning and purpose of our life, we will wander aimlessly in spiritual hunger and thirst through the trackless wasteland of modern culture. We will end our lives only to discover that we have lived purposeless lives, shallow and wasted lives, lives devoted only to those things totally outside the plan of God and the gift of God given us in the history of our salvation.
We live in the already and the not yet. Where do you see yourself in that time, if you see your self at all? But perhaps there is someone here to whom what I am saying means nothing. If so, then how can you make any claim at all that Christ is indeed your King?For that question is always before my eyes, too. Just how much is Christ really the King of my life? And just how much is Christ really King in the life of any one of us gathered here?