Sunday, 8 December 2019 : Second Sunday of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday we celebrate the Second Sunday in the season of Advent, and as we continue to progress through this special and blessed time of preparation for the celebration of Christmas, we continue our Advent journey and this Sunday we focus on Peace, as the second in the four theme set for each of the Sundays of Advent. Peace is also a reference to Our Lord and Saviour’s title as the Prince of Peace, as it was prophesied that His coming would bring about true peace into this world.

And that is what has also been alluded to in our Scripture passages today, especially in our first reading today which was taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah. In that portion of the Book, the prophet Isaiah was speaking of the prophecies of the time of the coming of the Saviour or God’s Messiah, of the coming of the time of peace so wonderful and great that even ferocious animals would come and sit together with their prey in harmony.

This message of peace must have been truly satisfactory and pleasing to the people of Isaiah’s time, considering that at that time, as it was often in the past, mankind have often been involved in conflicts and wars, and many had to suffer because of those conflicts, losing family members and loved ones, losing their properties, houses and possessions, being looted and having to see their cities, towns and villages destroyed.

All these had been how the world went by since the beginning of time, as the powerful and mighty preyed on the weak, and how the rich and influential ones manipulated and exploited the poor ones. Suffering, pain and sorrow that were created can indeed be traced to how we mankind abused the free will that God has bestowed on us, as we chose to act in ways that seek our own satisfaction and happiness, to fulfil our needs and desires and if need be, over the suffering of others.

That is why peace has often eluded many of us all these time because we are by our nature selfish, because of our disobedience and sins, the corruption of sin which led us to think about ourselves first and not about what others think or need. That was how wars had been fought over resources, prestige, glory, and the many other worldly things we often seek in life. When peoples and nations, their leaders and all those involved in the conflicts seek to gain things for themselves and not minding the needs and happiness of others, that is why people suffer and peace is broken.

If we look at our world today, peace is more elusive than ever, as there are more and more parties in conflict and fighting against each others, groups being set against each other and divided against themselves. Governments and kingdoms are set against one another, setting up groups and alliances working to thwart their opponents and their goals. We also see how civil wars and conflicts arise from time to time, again and again, and even many instances when governments are brought down by divisions and wrecked by infighting.

And all these while, the Prince of Peace, Our Lord Jesus Christ has been present in this world ever since He came to our midst over two millennia ago, in the small town of Bethlehem, when He came proclaiming the coming of the Lord’s true peace. Yet, if we realise, that He has often been ignored by mankind, rejected and unwanted, as the world continued on with mankind’s relentless pursuits of maintaining their selfish desires and wants. He has spoken the truth to us, and yet, He was silenced, put to suffer and die on the Cross by those who hated and opposed Him.

That was what the many prophets and messengers of God had also suffered from, and in the Gospel passage today, we also heard how the one who was the Herald of the Messiah, St. John the Baptist, also suffered from the same rejection and oppression the Lord has suffered. Many prophets of the Lord had suffered and had to endure scorn and ridicule just because they stood by the missions which God has entrusted to them.

We heard how despite all the works that this faithful servant of God had done, his courageous faith and effort in calling many people to repent from their sins and wickedness, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law still opposed the saint and made it hard for him, doubting him and refusing to believe in the words he had spoken, and even doubting him and the authenticity of what he had done and spoken before the people.

That is exactly why the Lord was unable to make any progress with those who still attached themselves to worldly thoughts and desires, those who allowed their selfishness and pride, their greed and their attachments to the world to close their hearts and minds against the Lord’s truth and love. And that was how the true peace of God remain elusive for many of us, as it had been for millennia, as most of us did not truly welcome the Prince of Peace into our lives and into our hearts.

In our second reading today, St. Paul wrote to the Church in Rome and spoke of the peace of Christ and how the coming of the Lord into the world has brought forth the dawn of a new era of peace. And St. Paul also exhorted the faithful there to welcome one another and to make peace with each other, just as the Lord Jesus has brought the peace of God into the midst of the people He has touched, and thereafter passed on that same peace to those whom He has commissioned and called.

In Rome at that time, which was the cosmopolitan and populous capital of the mighty and expansive Roman Empire, there were numerous peoples of different origins and backgrounds, of different cultures and traditions, as besides the Romans who were the lords of the land, there were also Greeks, Syrians, Jewish populations, Gauls, Germans, the peoples of the Northern African regions, Thracians, Dacians, Berbers, Arabs, Persians and even many others, of many different nations and languages.

Many of these people did not exist peacefully with each other, and it did not help that many among the non-Roman populations, especially in the city of Rome, were slaves. And the Romans were the largest landowners and also slave owners. Even among the Romans themselves there were often wide disparity in the wealth and property they owned, and all these divisions and categorisations among the peoples often led to conflict and unhappiness.

And the Christian faith interestingly managed to bridge these differences even in the earliest days of the Church. St. Paul was in fact exhorting and reminding the faithful to put aside their differences, whatever past animosities and unhappiness they might have had towards each other previously and instead focus themselves on peace, and to live with one another harmoniously, bonded together by a new bond of love born from God. This is how God’s coming into the world has therefore transformed His people, from people divided by many differences and identities, into a united people by faith.

Division and conflict is typical of mankind corrupted and afflicted by sin, but as God entered into our lives and touched us, peace also entered into our midst. The question now is, are we allowing God to enter into our lives and transform us with His love, peace and goodness? Are we open in our minds and hearts to embrace the peace of God in our lives? The fact and reality is that as long as we remain attached to our many worldly desires, remaining selfish and self-centred, proud and egoistic, it will be difficult for us to find true peace in our lives.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Christmas we are all challenged to return to the true essence of Christmas, and that is welcoming Christ, our Lord and Saviour into our lives, so that we may truly live in harmony, peace and love with one another. This is what Christmas is all about, and what we should prepare ourselves for in this blessed season and time of Advent.

Instead of focusing on excessive festivities and parties, merrymaking and joy without truly understanding why we celebrate Christmas in the first place, let us all bring our joy and celebrations by first of all, making peace with all those whom we have probably been angry with, feuding with all these while. Let us all learn to forgive one another, just as the Lord Himself has forgiven us all first from our sins. This is how we bring peace into our lives, and only with peace then we can truly celebrate Christmas in its fullness.

Let us all be peacemakers and strive to live in harmony and unity with one another. Let us all strive to die to our pride and to remove from us the traces of ego and selfishness, and instead allow God to enter into our lives and transform us, so that through all of us and our good works, peace and harmony will reign once again in our world wrecked by wars and conflicts. Let us all bring the Peace of Christmas to everyone, beginning from ourselves and our own families, and then to our communities and then to all the peoples of this world.

May the Lord, Our Prince of Peace give us His peace, that we may come to celebrate this Christmas joyfully as one people, no longer bickering and fighting over trivial matters of the world. Let us all be genuinely concerned of one another and show genuine love in our actions and interactions with each other. May God bless us always as we continue through this blessed season of Advent and guide us in our journey of faith, now and forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 1 December 2019 : First Sunday of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we begin the season of Advent and the new liturgical year cycle with the celebration of the first Sunday of Advent. On this Sunday we begin the time of preparation for the coming of the great celebration of Christmas, a time for us to recollect ourselves and to redirect our thoughts and interior disposition that we may truly celebrate Christmas with the fullness of faith and love for God.

On this first Sunday of Advent, we focus on the first of the four themes of the Sundays of Advent, namely hope, peace, joy and love. We begin with hope as we light the first of the four candles of the Advent wreath. This hope that we focus on today is a reminder that first and foremost, the theme of Advent itself comes from the origin of its name, ‘Adventus’ in Latin, which means ‘The Coming of…’ and the appearing of none other than the Saviour of the whole world, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, first and foremost, this season of Advent is a time for hope and to look for that hope, the hope which we can truly find in God alone. Advent is the time for the renewal of that hope within our hearts and minds, as we begin the new cycle of the liturgical year and as we look forward to the coming of Christmas. As with all New Year celebrations in our world today, we know of how everyone looks forward to a better year, filled with hopes and expectations. It is no different with what we are celebrating today.

And Christ is our one and true hope, hope that overcomes even the darkness of the world, the tyranny of sin and death. It is because we have hope in Christ and in His salvation that we are able to look forward to the coming year and persevere through life with faith. His coming into this world that we celebrate every Christmas is the wonderful light that pierces through the darkness of the world, and gave us a new hope.

This is what has been alluded throughout the Scripture passages today, beginning from our first reading from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, in which we heard of the vision that the prophet Isaiah saw concerning the last days when the Lord will come again in His glory to rule over His people and gather all of those who are faithful to Him, the time when God will bless and hold up His people forever.

This is the hope that God has given to all of us, the hope for His salvation and the eternal life of glory and true joy that we are all looking forward to, which Our Lord, Jesus Christ has revealed to us by His coming into this world. That is why during this season of Advent, we are in fact celebrating a two-fold celebration, first of the remembrance of the time when we mankind awaited the coming of Our Lord and Messiah, and then secondly the expectation of the coming, once again, of Our Lord at the end of time.

That is why we rejoice so at the time of Advent, but in a more muted and subdued way because we are anticipating for the coming and the fulfilment of the fullness of joy which is to come through the Lord and which we remember and commemorate at Christmas. That is why the nature of the liturgical colour of this season being that of violet or purple, which is reminiscent of the penitential and preparatory nature of Lent in the preparation for the coming of Easter.

Yet, for all these joy that we are expecting, if we observe all around us, we can see what is often missing from the celebration and festivities is none other than the One Whom we truly are celebrating for, that is none other than Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, and the reason why we have Christmas and its joyful commemorations in the first place. But the world has largely forgotten Christ and Christmas and its festivities has become nothing more than just another festival and celebration.

That is why it is always sad to see how secularised and materialistic the many Christmas celebrations around the world had been, as many people took to the secular and worldly ways of celebrating Christmas, even many among us Christians, who have forgotten the true essence, significance and importance of this joyful and wondrous occasion of the birth of the Saviour of the whole world. Instead, we ended up focusing on the parties, celebrations and festivities.

Let us all look at the obscene amount of marketing, advertising and promotions done to advance the case for the materialistic and worldly Christmas, ironically without Christ being at the centre of the attentions and all the celebrations. Many people thronged to shop and to gain as many bargains as possible from all the Christmas holiday shopping, busying themselves haggling over goods rather than to remember the One Who made all these possible.

We focused on what we want to celebrate on Christmas, on what gifts we are to give or to exchange with each other, focusing on the nitty gritty and details of the celebrations and the festivities, on what decorations and glamorous things we are going to put up or include in the feasts, the food and drink that we are going to partake and enjoy, and yet, in all those things, Christ has often been left out.

Today, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are called and are reminded strongly of the very important need for us to return Christmas back to Christ, and this means that Christ must be the very centre, focus and the very reason for all of our celebrations and joys throughout this upcoming Christmas season. And that is why we should be blessed that we have been given this time of Advent as a time for us to reflect and to prepare ourselves heart, mind and soul, so that we can truly appreciate and celebrate Christmas in the best way, that is in the Christ-centric manner.

And let us all today also remember that not everyone in the whole world can celebrate Christmas joyfully in the way we do or what we may often see around us. There are parts of the world where our fellow Christians, our brethren who were unable to celebrate Christmas openly, because of persecution and oppression, because of prejudices and other difficulties. Let us also not forget those who had little or no means to celebrate because they are poor and without means to spend to celebrate.

This is why this season of Advent and for the upcoming Christmas season, let us all challenge ourselves to focus our Christmas joy and celebration on Christ, and to remember our brethren in our prayers, those who have no chance to celebrate Christmas because of difficulties and persecutions, and help whenever possible, by our own charitable actions. This means that we should be generous in sharing our joy with our fellow brethren, especially those who are poor and needy and without joy.

Let us all make our upcoming Christmas celebrations more meaningful and wonderful by sharing our joy with one another and remembering that after all it was God Who has first shared with us His joy and love, by sending unto us, His most perfect gift of all for us, Christ, His own Beloved Son, to be Our Lord, Saviour and Redeemer. May all of us have a blessed season of Advent, and may God be with us always in this journey of faith. Amen.

Sunday, 24 November 2019 : Thirty-Fourth and Last Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday, the thirty-fourth and the last in our current liturgical year cycle, we celebrate the great Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ as the King of Kings, King of all Universe, rejoicing together in our one and only True Lord and King. On this day we honour and adore our Lord and King, the One to Whom all glory and honour are due. All the other kings and rulers of this world derive and receive their authority and power from God, our King.

And His kingship is truly a very unique and wonderful one, which is different from the ways of the kings of this world. For this is not a king who uses his power and authority for his own gain and benefit, and neither did He make use of the authority to show His glory and might before His people as the kings and rulers of this world often did. Instead, if one were to look at the whole life and ministry of the Lord, one would not be able to recognise that He is a King if we make use of the standards of this world.

That was what the Pharisees and the enemies of the Lord took issue against Him for, as they could not recognise how He was truly the Messiah of God, the One Whom God had promised from the beginning of time, to be the perfect fulfilment of all those promises and all the words of God to us. The people thought of the Messiah as the mighty and conquering King like that of David and Solomon, and that the Messiah would come as a mighty King that will restore the kingdom of Israel as how it was during its glorious days.

Yet, Christ is truly a King, and King of all kings and Lord of all lords. His coming into this world precisely showed us all what His true purpose and mission, as well as the true nature of His kingship. His kingship and leadership is not one of pride and tyranny, but instead is one of service and of generous giving, in leading by example and in reaching out to every single one of His people without bias or prejudice, without fear, full of compassion, mercy and love.

Through Him, and by what we have heard today in the Scripture passages, we are reminded of the love which God has for each and every one of us, that He, our King, was willing to do everything He could for our sake. He came into this world to gather us all in to Himself, to be reconciled because of all of our sins and wickedness. And He has willingly bore the Cross for our sake and to suffer because through all that, all of us may live and not be destroyed because of those sins.

Here therefore, we have a great and wonderful King, One Who truly knows us all by heart, and Who is always ever concerned for our well-being. He has always sought our welfare and we are always foremost in His mind all these while. Yet, for all and everything that He has done for us, we mankind, His beloved people have not treated Him in the manner that we should have treated Him. We ignored Him, abandoned Him, betrayed Him and chose other things that we prefer more than Him.

Although the Lord is truly the King of our lives, but we acted as if our king and lord is something else, be it our own pride and ego, or our attachments to worldly possessions, to money and all the likes. We put our trust and hopes in these much more than we have placed our trust and hope in the Lord. And essentially, in our many pursuits of worldly glory, power, honour and all the sorts, we have forgotten about God, ignored Him and abandoned His ways.

Though we call God our King, but the way we behaved and the actions we take in life, the words that we uttered and spoke, the attitudes we adopted in this life all spoke of a different thing, as it is often quite evident that we have other kings in our lives other than God. And it is the sad reality that we even honour all these false ‘kings’ more than how we honoured and treated God. This is sad and truly ironic considering all the things that God, our King had done for our sake.

On this day, as we celebrate this Solemnity of Christ the King, we are therefore called to discern carefully on our lives, our every actions and deeds, our words and interactions with one another. Let us ask ourselves if we have truly regarded Christ as our Lord and King in our lives, or whether we have instead turned our back against Him and put other ‘kings’ that we deem to be more important than Him, by putting the idols of worldly glory and achievements, human praise and power, money and possessions in our hearts and minds?

Today we are all called to reflect on what we are to do if we truly love God as our Lord and King, and we are all called to action, if we sincerely and truly believe in that faithfully. For if we truly honour God as our King, then we need to begin to show it through our every day lives and actions. Otherwise, we will end up scandalising Him and our faith in Him, if we call Him our King and yet our actions and words show otherwise as what often happened in our lives today.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how do we then honour Our Lord Jesus Christ as King? First of all, let us all embrace the wonderful love and compassion which He, Our King has shown us, accept His generous offer of love and mercy, opening our hearts and minds to welcome Him and enthrone Him therefore in our hearts. And then, having welcomed Him into our hearts, there can be only place for one King in us, and that is why we need to remove from us all the other false ‘kings’ that we have filled our hearts with.

And from now on, let us truly behave as one of God’s people, following Him as King. It means that we have to live our lives with faith, genuinely devoting ourselves to the path which God has taught and shown us. We have to show that God truly is our King, and all who see us will know that we belong to Him, and to Him alone. It will not be an easy path for us to take, as we all know how the Lord was rejected and despised by many, how He was persecuted and condemned to die when He came into this world bringing and revealing His truth to us all.

Yet, Christ willingly stood up for our sake, speaking the truth even though it meant His suffering and crucifixion. He willingly embraced the worst sufferings out of love for us, truly a King Who loves us all His people, worthy of all praise, glory and honour. And since God loves us all so much, to endure all these for us, then should we not love Him in the same manner, even if it means that we have to bear our own crosses in doing so?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, from now on therefore, let us all cease treating God less than that of the one and only true King of our hearts, and let us steadfastly proclaim Him as our King and Master, not through mere words alone, but through real and concrete actions of faith, by being exemplary Christians in all things, becoming genuine witnesses of the Lord’s truth by our lives. Let us all truly make Jesus our King, not just in name alone, but in reality and all truth, in all things.

Let us obey Him and follow Him and His truth in everything we say and do from now on, and glorifying Him by our lives. Let us bear our crosses patiently with Him, and follow Him to the end of our earthly lives so that when He comes again in the fullness of His glory at the end of time, He may gather us all and find us all worthy of the glory of His eternal kingdom, and bless us with graces everlasting and true joy and happiness with Him forevermore.

May the Lord Jesus Christ, Our King, and the King of all the Universe reign gloriously ever, and reign gloriously in our hearts and minds, that every inch of our being and existence may be filled with our love, devotion and dedication for Him, that we will no longer allow any false ‘kings’ or idols to occupy our hearts and minds, from now on. Let us all adore Our Majestic King and glorify Him always by our lives. Christus Vincit, Christus Regnat, Christus Imperat! Amen.

Sunday, 25 November 2018 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we celebrate the last Sunday in our current liturgical year, and more importantly the great Solemnity of Jesus Christ the King, King and Master of all the Universe, Lord of all creation. Today we celebrate the divine and true kingship of Christ, which corresponds to the authority which Our Lord has over all things, and above all worldly and earthly authorities.

In the first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Daniel, we heard about the vision which Daniel received of the heavenly glory of God, in which He saw the revelation of the Holy Trinity, the One of Great Age Who is the Father, giving all power and authority over all things, over all of the world, all dominion and glory to the Son of Man, the Son, Jesus Christ, Who has been sent into the world to bring all things to Himself, Lord and King of all.

Through that vision, the fact of the kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ is eternal and unrivalled, and that He is the One True King of all, from whom ultimately, all authority, power, and honour came from. God Who is the Creator of all things, naturally has the jurisdiction and authority over all creation. And thus, He is both our Creator and our King, the very centre and focus of our whole lives.

This is what the Lord Himself reiterated in the Gospel passage we heard today, of the account of the encounter between the Lord Jesus and Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea, just before the Lord was to be sentenced to die on the cross. When asked if He was the King of the Jews, not only that the Lord reaffirmed that He is the King, and not just any king, for His kingship transcends any earthly kingdoms and dominions.

And therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today, as we rejoice together as one universal Church, for our glorious and ever mighty King, let us all spend some time to reflect on our own lives and actions thus far. A king is not a king without a country and without its people, and in a kingdom, the people obey the laws and the regulations and rules as decided by the king and his advisors.

Therefore, if we are indeed God’s people, and if we acknowledge Him as our Lord and King, then naturally and rightfully, we must follow and obey God’s Law, as the Lord has commanded it and revealed it, through His Son, Jesus Christ, Our King Himself, and passed on to His Church through His Apostles and their successors, which constitute the Church of God, preserving the truth and the commandments of God down through the ages till this day.

Yet, unfortunately, in how we act and behave, many of us Christians have not been exemplary and good in how we lived our lives. We have not obeyed the Lord’s commandments and laws, and instead, lived our lives in accordance to how we liked to live them, especially following the ways of the world, the ways of pride, greed and human desires. We have chosen to side with the world and with the forces of the evil one, rather than with God, our true King.

Pope Pius XI through his Encyclical Quas Primas published in the year of Our Lord 1925 established this Feast and Solemnity of Jesus Christ Our Lord, the King of the Universe, just several years after the end of the Great War, later to be known as the First World War, at the time when the world was going through great upheavals and changes, where the authority of Christ as the true Lord and King of all mankind was being challenged, by all those who championed atheism such as the Communist states, and also from those who wished to secularise the society, by distancing God and the Church from the people’s daily living.

If we really consider God as our Lord and King, then naturally we should strive to do what the Lord has commanded us to do, and do our best to follow His ways. Unfortunately, this is not something that can easily be done, as temptations and challenges are plenty, and there are always pressures and forces that are trying to pull us away and to distract us from our focus on God.

This is why, it is important that we now make the conscious effort to focus our attention on God, and to resist those temptations, of power, of wealth, of pleasures of the world and other forms of worldly attachments and glories, which can become serious obstacles in the way of our faith and obedience to God. Satan knows very well what he needs to do in order to keep us away from attaining salvation in God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are called to reflect seriously on our lives and our actions, as we approach the end of the current liturgical cycle. Are we going to continue on living our lives in whatever way we see fit, succumbing to the temptations of the world, and therefore, treating not God but Satan as our king? Or are we willing to make the effort to turn once again towards God with a renewed faith and commitment to live our lives from now on, in accordance with God’s will?

If we truly consider God as King, then we must indeed allow Him to exercise His kingship over our lives, and over our every actions, that in all the things we do, we bring greater glory to God, and remain centred on Him in all that we think, say and do. We must keep Him at the centre of our existence, and carefully discern our way of life in accordance with what He has revealed to us and taught us, through His Church.

Therefore, today, let us all pray for one another, that each and every one of us may become ever closer and be ever more committed to God, and that God may be truly our King, not as a mere formality or in superficial terms only, but in our every actions and deeds, in every moment we live, and in our whole beings, that through us, not only that others may know that God is our King, but our lives also reflect the truth about Who our King is. After all, how can we call God our King if we do not act in the way as taught and shown by Him?

The Lord our God, our King, although He is a King, but He is also humble of heart, and is filled with love. Therefore, we should also fill ourselves with great humility and lots of love, in loving one another, and in ensuring that not our will be done, but God’s will instead. Let us all follow in the examples of Christ, Our Lord and King, in humble obedience to Him and in loving relationship with Him.

May the Lord Jesus Christ, Our Lord and King, be the King of our hearts, our minds, our bodies and over all of our beings, and may He continue to reign in our midst, His beloved people, that we may be ever faithful to Him, and grow ever closer in our faith and dedication to Him. May the Lord continue to be our guide and our strength, from now on, till forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 20 November 2016 : 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Christ the King and Closing of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the last Sunday of this current liturgical year, which the Church has crowned as the great Solemnity of our Lord Jesus, Christ the King, King and Master of all the Universe. On this solemn feast day, we commemorate our Lord Who is the past, present and future, as He was, is and will always be King of all kings, Ruler and Master over all.

All other kings and rulers gain their authority from the Lord, and no ruler has true power or authority unless it has been devolved upon them in one way or another from the Lord, on Whom all authority and power belong. But His Kingship is different from the kingships of the world, and the nature of His kingdom is different from the kingdoms and countries of this world.

Let us all look at the examples of the kings and rulers of this world. The kings and rulers of this world like to dress in the finest clothes and wear the best accessories, have the best vehicles, the nicest looking ones, and in our modern world many even have their own private jets and planes, helicopters and all the gimmicks and luxury of our world today. Many dwell in sumptuous and large palaces and residences, all designed to bring awe to all others who look upon them and witness their power.

And what do all of these bring these rulers and kings of this world, brethren? Many of them did so in order to garner more prestige, honour, praise, fame and wealth for themselves, trying to awe all those who view and witness their majesty. Many even tried to extort and made others to provide for more in order to do these. Yet, the reality behind all of these is that, they felt insecure because they did not have real and genuine power and authority with them.

And our Lord Jesus, Who is the One True King did not need to do all of them, for His authority came from Himself. In fact, He chose to lower Himself and empty Himself of all of His power and glory, becoming one of us as a Man, becoming one of His lowly creations, for one singular purpose in mind, and that is love. Yes, God Who is our King loves all of us without exception, each and every one of us are always foremost in His mind.

And that, brethren, is true kingship. A king and a ruler must always have his people first in mind, and not himself. When kings and rulers abandon this important tenet, that is when tyrants were born, those who oppressed the people and acted in ways that brought about benefits, glory and other goods for themselves at the expense of those over whom they are ruling and governing.

Jesus our Lord showed that by His own examples, going about to care for His people, all of them without exception. He went forth seeking those who had been lost to Him through sin, and that was why He went to seek for the lowest of the lowest in the society, those who have been rejected and ostracised because of their sins, the prostitutes and tax collectors. The Pharisees and the tax collectors failed to see and understand this, the reason why Jesus wanted to be with these people, who they themselves had condemned and cast out of the society.

The Pharisees, the elders and the teachers of the Law represented the elites of the Jewish society at that time, those with power, authority and influence, who were highly jealous of those whom they considered as rivals to their power, and that included Jesus, His followers and His teachings which are often against the ways of these leaders. That is because they have corrupted and twisted the laws to serve their own purpose and not the purpose of God.

But Jesus showed them all, all of the people, and us, His true kingship, as a King truly devoted to His people, and as One Who really show by example of what a ruler should do for the good of his people. He showed us that He is a King Who is also the Good Shepherd, ready to lie down His life for His beloved sheep, so that the sheep, His flock, may be safe amidst the danger around them.

The Kingship of Christ is the Kingship of love, mercy and compassion, and not of pride, hubris or ambition, unlike the kings of this world. His Kingship is the Kingship of truth and justice, as He proclaimed before Pontius Pilate just before He was condemned to die on the cross. He came to proclaim the truth before all His people, the truth about His love and the truth about how we can be reconciled with Him, but truth is not always pleasant to be heard and understood.

Many of us mankind profess to believe in the Lord, and yet, in our actions, we would rather have Satan, the devil as our king. To many of us, we put our human needs and desires often ahead of our responsibilities and duties as Christians, as those who ought to obey the Lord. And yet in how we carry out our lives and our actions, we do not resemble those who are called children and people of our God, our King.

Let us reflect and think of our own actions, and what we have witnessed in this world resulting from our actions, the actions of man. As I have related to you earlier on in this discourse, many rulers and kings of this world act in ways contrary to how the Lord had acted, because they shirked the responsibilities they had over their people, they served themselves and their needs first.

Wars and conflicts raged on in this world to serve the purposes of people’s greed and desires, the futile pursuit of worldly glory, wealth and human fame and praise. For the sake of a piece of land, or for wealth and properties, or even for the sake of hubris, ambition and human pride, mankind and particularly their rules have waged wars and conflicts that brought about pain, sorrow and destruction for many. And this is the sad reality of our human actions, of how flawed our humanity is now.

And today, therefore, as we rejoice and celebrate together this great solemnity and feast of Christ our King, there is that urgent need for us to really devote ourselves anew to our King, no longer with just mere words or paper proclamations alone, but rather with actions and real deeds. We must be truly devoted to Him in our ways and deeds, or else we are not being faithful to Him, and we will face the consequences in the end.

Rather, let us all be like the repentant thief at the side of Jesus, who acknowledged his sins before Him, and how he deserved to die while Jesus Who was innocent did not. Yet, Christ our King willingly laid down His life for our sake, even forgiving and dying for His betrayers and enemies. This is our One and True King, Who has shown us the way forward by His own actions and examples, through which He made known to us His infinite love and mercy.

Now it is the time for us to choose, shall we side with the king of this world, that is Satan? If we treasure and value the goods and pleasures of this world a lot, and spending our time so much on these things, even to the detriment of others around us, then we are siding with the devil. Or shall we instead side with the true King of all, Christ the Lord, Who is Lord even over the devil and all of his fellow rebel angels?

As Christians, we are all called to follow the examples of Christ. Therefore, just as He has shown us how to love, and how to forgive one another our sins and mistakes, we too should do the same. Let us all be good servants and followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, our King, the one and only King we have, Whose ways is our ways, and Whose laws is our delight.

May through our works and actions, the Name of our Lord and King will be glorified, and by our own examples, may we reflect His Glory and His truth, that we may be able to find our way to Him, with many others who will be inspired by our examples. O Lord, our Eternal and Almighty King, be with us always and never abandon us. Amen.