Sunday, 20 November 2022 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday which is the last Sunday in our current liturgical year, we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, also known as the Solemnity of the Kingship of Jesus Christ. On this Sunday we commemorate our Lord Jesus not just as our Saviour but also as our King. This does not mean that we owe no obedience or loyalty to any earthly powers, nations or rulers. Instead, we must realise that the ultimate source of all power and authority in this world is the Lord, our one and true King and Master, and all the nations, all the rulers of this world are truly under our Lord’s dominion. That is why we are still supposed to obey the laws of the land and our respective countries, as good Christians are supposed to be, as far as they do not directly contradict the Law and commandments of God.

Our Lord is King, not just in spiritual manner but also in real and tangible manner. He is truly the King of all Kings, the Lord of lords and Master of all, and yet, unfortunately, many among us still behave as if the Lord is nobody, and that He has no place in our hearts and in our lives. We act as if the Lord is One Who is far and distant, and we remember Him only when we have need of Him. How many of us remember the Lord only when we have something that we hope He can solve for us, or when we want Him to answer our prayers. And it is not uncommon that we become angry at God when He does not seem to answer our prayers, and even if He does answer our prayers, we are often then quick to forget about Him once again and return to our daily preoccupations, with the Lord sidelined again until the next we have need of Him. Is that how we treat our King, brothers and sisters? Let us hence ponder through our Scripture passages this Sunday to understand our King better.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Samuel, we heard of the story of the time when King David of Israel was accepted as King by the whole nation of the Israelites, having reunited the whole tribes of Israel under his rule and dominion. David was God’s chosen King over His people, and he had to struggle for a number of years against the supporters of his predecessor King Saul, and his son Ishbosheth or Eshbaal, in a civil war that eventually ended up with David being victorious and triumphant, and was finally welcomed to be King over all of Israel. That moment marked the beginning of the glorious time of the United Kingdom of Israel, of the great kingdom of David and his son, Solomon, which many later generations would look up to as a time of great glory and nostalgia, as the days when God’s rule over His people through His righteous servants David and Solomon were at its best.

Those were the days when the people of God still obeyed God faithfully and when their kings still followed the Lord wholeheartedly. When the prophet Samuel agreed to choose and anoint a king over the Israelites because of their demands, he did tell them that they had no need for a king, because the Lord Himself was already their Lord and King, and yet the people insisted. The prophet warned the people that the kings eventually would make their lives difficult, and like the other rulers and kings of the world, they might end up being tyrannical and wicked, and might lead the people of God down the path to ruin if they did not remain faithful to God or did not exercise faithfully what the Lord had entrusted them to do as the rulers, shepherds and guides for His people, and instead following their own selfish desires for glory and power in this world.

Indeed, that happened even with David himself, the model and most righteous among the Kings of Israel at times when he sinned against God as he desired power and glory at times, and when he forgot his place as the Lord’s vicar and guide in this world. When he desired a woman, Bathsheba who was already married to another man, Uriah, David sinned against God by plotting Uriah’s death and taking up Bathsheba to be his own wife. The same happened when he desired to conduct a census of the Israelites, which was done in a moment of pride in desiring to know the vastness of his power and worldly dominion. Then Solomon, David’s son, while mostly faithful and just throughout his reign, was led into sin as well at the end of his reign when he allowed his many pagan wives and concubines to mislead him and the kingdom into the path of sin and rebellion against God, which eventually led to the division of the united kingdom into two halves of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

Nonetheless, their authority and power did come from God, and God was indeed the true King of the Israelites, that when the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were eventually crushed and destroyed by their enemies, the Lord still ruled and reigned over all of His people. He told them all that just as He has promised David that his house and kingdom will last forever, then He would send a Messiah or Saviour to His people, to be born of the House of David, to be the Son and Heir of David. That was the Messiah long awaited by the people of God and the One proclaimed by the many prophets and messengers of God. The people believed that this Messiah would then lead them to victory and freedom from their oppressors and foreign rulers, and would reestablish the kingdom of His ancestors, David and Solomon, of the glorious past days of the united kingdom.

Little did they know that, the Lord Himself would actually come into their midst to be wit them, to dwell among them in the flesh, and to be born as the Son and Heir of David, born of the Virgin, Mary, His mother just as the prophets had prophesied about. This King was born into the world, the Son of God and Son of Man, born as the Divine Word Incarnate, having two natures of Divine and Man, united in perfect love in the person of Jesus Christ, Whose Kingship we are commemorating today, acknowledging Him truly as the King of Kings, the Lord and Master of all, just as He has revealed Himself to be the Saviour of the whole world, and the one true King Who has come to claim all of His people and to gather them all to be His own one flock, with Him as the Shepherd, the Shepherd Who loves all of His flock and cares for them.

That was where then, as we heard in our Gospel passage today, that this same Saviour and King chose to willingly suffer and die for the sake of His beloved flock and people, as He willingly took upon Himself the most heavy burdens of our sins and the punishments and consequences due for those sins and wickedness we have committed. He took upon Himself the heavy burden of the Cross so that by His suffering and then death, He might offer on our behalf, as our Eternal High Priest and King, the most worthy sacrifice that will be the source of our salvation and redemption. He offers on our behalf, this perfect offering of love, that gathering us all as our King, He may lead us all towards righteousness and eternal life through Him, and His most loving sacrifice on the Cross.

For that, as we heard in our Gospel passage today and as we all know, the Lord Jesus our King suffered most terribly at the hands of those who persecuted and hated Him. He was mocked and ridiculed by the Romans as the King of the Jews, and it was for this reason that the chief priests and the Sanhedrin persecuted and condemned him through the Romans to death, for back then, it was a capital offence for someone under the Roman dominion and rule to claim kingship and to be a king. Yet, at the same time, ironically, it was by this action that even those same chief priests and all those who persecuted the Lord said that the Lord Jesus was indeed a King. And at that occasion, the Lord also said to Pontius Pilate, that He is indeed a King, and His kingdom is not of this world.

It means that the Lord’s kingship and rule is not bound like any other kingdoms and rulers of this world. His kingship is a Universal Kingship, one that is outside any limits of time, space and place. He rules over all the whole Creation, of all Universe, of all time and beyond time. And this is our King, our Lord and true Master, Whom we celebrate today, and we ought to be blessed and thankful for the Lord has loved us so dearly and wonderfully. He is the One Whom St. Paul in his Epistle to the Colossians in our second reading today spoke of as the Image of the Unseen God. Through Him, we have seen the manifestation of God, Who has become tangible and approachable by us, and we have therefore seen, witnessed and experienced the presence of our King, our Lord and Master.

He has also gathered us all to be one people and one flock, with Him as our King and the Head of this Church which He has established over in this world, to be a visible presence of the kingdom He has brought unto us, the kingdom of God manifested in this world as the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. And as members of this same Church of God, each and every one of us are indeed invited to examine ourselves and our actions, our dealing and our way of life, whether we have truly appreciated and obeyed the Lord as our King, or whether we have ignored Him, abandoned Him and rejected Him for other things in life which we find more important and desirable than to listen and be obedient to our King’s commands, His Law and will. This Sunday as we celebrate this Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, this is what each one of us as Christians are called and expected to do.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore commit ourselves today to our King anew, renewing our pledge to serve Him, to follow and obey Him wholeheartedly from now on and honour and worship Him as our Lord and King, and enthrone Him in our hearts, in our homes and in our workplaces, in everywhere we are, as our true King and Master, even as we obediently continue to be good and law abiding citizens of this world, and of whichever states we belong to. Let us all be true followers and servants of our King, He Who truly cares for and loves us His people, and Who has given Himself so completely to us, that we may have life through Him, and that we may be reconciled and reunited with Him, in the glory of Heaven and His everlasting kingdom.

May the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the whole Universe, Our Lord and Master, be with us always, and may He remain with us by our side, strengthening and encouraging us that we may always persevere and be strong in faith no matter whatever challenges and trials may come our way. May the Lord bless us all in all of our good efforts, hard work and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Sunday, 20 November 2022 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 23 : 35-43

At that time, the people stood by, watching. As for the rulers, they jeered at Jesus, saying to one another, “Let the Man Who saved others now save Himself, for He is the Messiah, the Chosen One of God!”

The soldiers also mocked Him and, when they drew near to offer Him bitter wine, they said, “So You are the King of the Jews? Free Yourself!” Above Jesus there was an inscription in Greek, Latin and Hebrew, which read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals hanging with Jesus insulted Him, “So You are the Messiah? Save Yourself, and us as well!” But the other rebuked him, saying, Have you no fear of God, you who received the same sentence as He did? For us it is just : this is payment for what we have done. But this Man has done nothing wrong.”

And he said, “Jesus, remember me, when You come into Your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “Truly, you will be with Me today in paradise.”

Sunday, 20 November 2022 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Colossians 1 : 12-20

Constantly give thanks to the Father Who has empowered us to receive our share in the inheritance of the saints in His kingdom of light. He rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. In Him we are redeemed and forgiven.

He is the Image of the unseen God, and for all creation He is the Firstborn, for in Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible : thrones, rulers, authorities, powers… All was made through Him and for Him. He is before all and all things hold together in Him.

And He is the Head of the Body, that is the Church, for He is the first, the first raised from the dead that He may be the first in everything, for God was pleased to let fullness dwell in Him. Through Him God willed to reconcile all things to Himself, and through Him, through His Blood shed on the cross, God establishes peace, on earth as in heaven.

Sunday, 20 November 2022 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 121 : 1-2, 4-5

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” And now we have set foot within your gates, o Jerusalem!

There the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, the assembly of Israel, to give thanks to the Lord’s Name. There stands the courts of justice, the offices of the house of David.

Sunday, 20 November 2022 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

2 Samuel 5 : 1-3

All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your bone and flesh. In the past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led Israel. And YHVH said to you, ‘You shall be the shepherd of My people Israel and you shall be commander over Israel.'”

Before YHVH, King David made an agreement with the elders of Israel who came to him at Hebron, and they anointed him king of Israel.

Sunday, 22 November 2020 : 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, this Sunday we mark the very last Sunday in our current liturgical year cycle, and therefore we celebrate together the Solemnity of Jesus Christ the King, the King of the Universe. Today we glorify our Lord and God, Who is the King of Kings and Lord of all. He alone is the Master of all creation and hence the entire Universe as its King.

At the end of this current liturgical year we are all reminded of the Kingship of our Lord and how each and every one of us are truly subject to His authority and power, for each and every one of us have been created by the Lord as His creatures. But many of us have not understood, appreciated or acknowledged Him as our King as well as the nature of His Kingship.

Yes, the Lord is King, but He is not like any kings of the world that we know of. He was not born into the world in riches and glory like the other kings and rulers of the world’s nations, in wealth and wonders, but in poverty and in the filthy stable of Bethlehem, not fit even for human habitation, and even less so for a king. He did not live in palaces and great houses, but in the wilderness as He Himself said that the Son of Man had no place to lay His head.

And before Pontius Pilate, during the moment of His Passion, when He was arrested and condemned to die by the Sanhedrin and brought before the Roman governor for final judgment, the Lord Jesus spoke of Himself as a King, and answering to Pilate’s questions of His kingship, He again said that He is truly a King, but His kingship is not of this world, referring to the fact that He is indeed unlike any other kings.

The Lord is the one and only true King, from Whom all authority, power and kingship came from. All the rulers and kings of this world gained their authority from the Lord, as the stewards entrusted with the care of God’s people, just in the same way that in spiritual matters, the Lord also entrusted the faithful to His Church, under the leadership of the Pope as the Vicar of Christ and the Successor of St. Peter the Apostle, and the bishops.

Yet, many of the rulers of this world abused their entrusted power and authority, and like the parables which the Lord had used to teach the people, particularly those regarding stewards who had been unfaithful and lazy in the dealings of their works, many of these kings and rulers of the world did not do as they had been called and entrusted to do by the Lord, but instead, sought to gain for themselves for wealth, power and glory.

This was why many ended up becoming corrupt and tyrannical in their actions, causing suffering and harm on many people to satisfy their own selfish and greedy desires. Many had gone to conflict and wars in order to satisfy these desires, their pride and ego, just as our past century’s many deadly wars can show us. The two World Wars that the world had bled from, all had stemmed from those leaders who abused the power and authority entrusted to them.

Against all these, the Lord showed us all true leadership and kingship, one not founded upon pride, ego, greed, desire, and ambition, but rather love, compassion, care, selflessness and righteousness. The Lord shows us all that He is a King Who is always loving and caring towards all of His people, likened to that of a shepherd who loves and cares for each and every one of his sheep.

Shepherds at that time, as it is still today, are those who spent a lot of time taking care of their herd of sheep and other animals, and they knew their sheep well. This is why the Scripture readings today touch on the Lord as the Good Shepherd, as the Shepherd of the faithful, as we are the flock led by our Lord, the one and true Shepherd of all. And as the Good Shepherd, He knows us all well in and out, by each of our names and He knows all about us.

The Lord is showing all of us what true Christian leadership is all about, that as Christians, especially those in the positions of leadership, they all have to look upon the Lord’s own examples, in how He wielded His power and authority with justice, with care and love, concern and compassion on all those who have been put under His power, while dealing justly with others who have misbehaved and did wrong.

And this brings us to our Gospel passage today in which we heard of the account of the Last Judgment as the Lord foretold it Himself. At the Last Judgment, when all of creation shall be judged by none other than the Lord Jesus Himself, as He returns into this world as a triumphant King, to finally claim all for Himself and to gather everything to Him, He shall be the Great Judge judging all of us mankind by our actions, deeds and by our faith.

The Lord said how the righteous will be separated from the wicked, and their deeds revealed before all. The righteous are those who have extended their love, care and affection for the needy, the poor and those who need for the attention and help from others, and the Lord shall bless and thank them for whatever they had done, saying that what they had done for those, they had done unto Himself.

In parallel, those who have been deemed as wicked and unjust had been judged because of their refusal to reach out and help, to show their love for those who need that love most, when they were perfectly in the position and were capable to do so. They were judged by their refusal to follow the example of the Lord in love, in care and in compassion towards one another. Instead, they have chosen to keep everything to themselves and in being selfish and greedy.

This is a warning and reminder that we should not forget that our Christian calling is to follow the Lord and His examples, and first and foremost, to obey the Lord’s commandments of love, that we are first and foremost to love the Lord, our God and King with all of our strength, and then to show the same love to one another, to our brethren, especially those who need that love, even more than we love ourselves. We should not allow our ego, desire and ambition to make us forget of our Christian calling and faith.

Today, as we all rejoice in our Lord, the King of Kings and King of the whole Universe and of all things, we are all called and indeed challenged, called to reflect on whether He is our King in all things, or whether our Christian faith is merely just a formality and the Lord is not truly the King of our hearts, minds, bodies and souls. If the Lord is truly our King, then all of us as His people, His beloved sheep and flock should all follow Him and His examples just as the sheep follow their shepherd faithfully.

Many of us have wandered off into the wrong paths like the lost sheep, and yet the Lord had patiently waited for us to return, and even went out all the way to look for us, wanting each and every one of us to be reconciled to Him. And therefore, let us all as Christians in our every deeds and actions, in everything we say and do, always be exemplary and good, always be just and righteous following the examples of our Lord and King.

Let us all be inspiration of faith for one another, and help each other to remain firm in our faith, and to keep steady in our path in our journey of faith. Let us all not be distracted or be dissuaded by false promises of desire, power, glory and all other things that can lead us astray. Let us put the Lord Jesus Christ, Our God and King at the centre of our hearts and whole existence, that in everything we do, we will always glorify Him and praise Him at all times.

Let us also pray for all of our leaders, all those in the Church and in the secular leadership positions, that they may imitate the examples of the Lord in His humility and genuine care for all those under His care, that they too may be responsible, just and ultimately good rulers and stewards, protecting and caring for all those who have been put under their care and that they may resist against whatever temptations that try to lead them down the path of selfishness, greed and tyranny.

May the Lord, our loving and most wonderful King continue to bless each and every one of us, and help us in our respective journey, that we may grow ever stronger in our love and devotion to Him, just as He Himself has loved us all first with such great intensity and sincerity despite our sins and rebelliousness. May God bless us all and be with us, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 22 November 2020 : Last Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 25 : 31-46

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory with all His Angels, He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be brought before Him; and, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, so will He do with them, placing the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left.”

“The King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, blessed of My Father! Take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your home. I was naked, and you clothed Me. I was sick, and you visited Me. I was in prison, and you came to see Me.’”

“Then the righteous will ask Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and give You food; thirsty, and give You something to drink; or a stranger, and welcome You; or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and go to see You?’ The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you : just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it to Me.’”

“Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Go, cursed people, out of My sight, into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry, and you did not give Me anything to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not welcome Me into your house; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’”

“They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, thirsty, naked or a stranger, sick or in prison, and did not help You?’ The King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you : just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me.’ And these will go into eternal punishments; but the just, to eternal life.”

Sunday, 22 November 2020 : Last Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Corinthians 15 : 20-26, 28

But no, Christ has been raised from the dead, and He comes before all those who have fallen asleep. A human being brought death; a Human Being also brings resurrection of the dead. For, as in Adam all die, so, in Christ, all will be made alive. However, each one in his own time : first Christ, then Christ’s people, when He comes.

Then, the end will come, when Christ delivers the kingdom to God the Father, after having destroyed every rule, authority and power. For He must reign and put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed will be death. When the Father has subjected everything to Him, the Son will place Himself under the One Who subjected everything to Him. From then on, God will be all in all.

Sunday, 22 November 2020 : Last Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 22 : 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul. He guides me through the right paths for His Name’s sake.

You spread a table before me in the presence of my foes. You anoint my head with oil; my cup is overflowing.

Goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life, I shall dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.

Sunday, 22 November 2020 : Last Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezekiel 34 : 11-12, 15-17

Indeed YHVH says this : I, Myself, will care for My sheep and watch over them. As the shepherd looks after his flock when he finds them scattered, so will I watch over My sheep; and gather them from all the places where they were scattered in a time of cloud and fog.

I, Myself, will tend My sheep and let them rest, word of YHVH. I will search for the lost and lead back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak; but the fat and strong will be eliminated. I will shepherd My flock with justice.

As for you, My flock – says YHVH – I will distinguish between one sheep and another, and set apart rams and goats.