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.

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 (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 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 (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 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 (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 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 (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, 23 November 2014 : 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Memorial of Pope St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr, and St. Columban, Abbot (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great feast day and solemnity of the Church, that is the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ the King, King of all creation and of all the universe. This celebration also marks the ending of our liturgical year, as next Sunday we will begin the season of Advent in preparation for Christmas, and this Sunday is the last great celebration of a liturgical year in the calendar of the Church celebrations.

And the theme of the Kingship of Christ ties closely to the future promised coming of our Lord Jesus into this world. The readings for this period, including the readings for today’s solemn occasion therefore is a reflection of this truth and this fact, that God will come again at a time He has appointed, and He will come again to judge all the living and the dead, as we believe in our Faith. In this we hope, as He will come again to gather us from the nations and bring us to His eternal love and glory.

As the Lord mentioned in the first reading, taken from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel, even though mankind and the people of God had sinned and therefore suffered its consequences, being torn apart as a people and scattered through the nations, He did not abandon them, but still loved them all the same. At the time of the prophet Ezekiel, the northern kingdom of Israel had been destroyed by the Assyrians and its people brought into slavery and exile. The same had also happened to the southern kingdom of Judah, which population was brought to Babylon in a period known as the Babylonian captivity.

While those things had happened because of the sins of the people, who were not faithful to the covenant of the Lord, but it does not mean that God did not give them a second chance. If only that they would repent and change their sinful and evil ways, and adopt the ways of the righteous, then the Lord who is their Lord and Shepherd will gladly welcome them back into His embrace.

The psalm today is the renowned Psalm on ‘the Lord is my Shepherd’, which shows the nature of God as our loving Shepherd, as our Guide and as the provider of everything that we will ever need. And while we follow our Shepherd, who is the Lord, we will have no need to fear anything, as neither the power of the evil one nor the powers of this world and the evils in it have any power over us if we are ever faithful and solidly attach ourselves to our Lord and our Shepherd.

This is the nature of our Lord and Master’s Kingship, that is a Shepherd Kingship, not one where the king enslaves everyone to do his bidding and will, but instead a servant leadership. Remember what Lord Jesus did on the day of the Last Supper, when He acted as a servant, washing the feet of all His disciples. He taught the Apostles that a leader should lead by giving examples and serving others entrusted under his care, and not to lord over the other or even to oppress them.

And like a shepherd, who cares gently and tenderly for his sheep, our Lord’s kingship is one of service and love. He guides His sheep, that is all of us into the right paths and provide us all that we need. We need not fear the powers of evil and death if we stick closely to our Lord, as He is the only One who can bring harm to our soul. Though the powers of this world may be able to harm our body, they cannot do anything to harm our soul.

That is because, the faithful, though persecuted and oppressed by the world, they will be greatly rewarded at the Last Judgment, and their souls will be saved. We have no need to fear, brothers and sisters, if we follow the Lord. Persevere and remain faithful. Remember that in another part of the Gospel, Jesus said that those who seek to preserve themselves in this world will lose it, but those who do not mind to lose themselves will gain eternal life?

Through Christ, we have been made justified and righteous, as He is the new Adam by virtue of His incarnation as Man, as the prime example of the faithful and the just. The first Adam, our ancestor, had been unfaithful, and he followed his own personal greed and desire, and being thus taken in by Satan’s lies, and disobeying God, he had sinned, and sin entered into the hearts of men.

Jesus therefore is the role model for all of us, as the new Adam, who led a life opposite of the first Adam. While the first Adam was unfaithful and sinful, Christ the new Adam was completely faithful and devoted to God, free of any taints of sin in life. And meanwhile the first Adam thought first about himself and succumbed to his desires, Christ the new Adam thought first not of Himself, but of the One who had sent Him into the world, and obeyed the will of His Father perfectly and fully, that He brought about our salvation from sin and death.

And thus, in the second reading today, taken from letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, it was mentioned that for the obedience and the actions Christ had taken, as our King, and yet as a humble and servant King, God was pleased to subjugate all things and all peoples under His authority, that is precisely what He will do in the end of time, the Last Judgment, as the Judge to judge all the living and the dead.

At the end of time, our Lord Jesus will come to judge us all, and nothing that we have done or we have not done will not be uncovered. He knows everything about us, and there is nothing that we can hide from Him. Not even the deepest of our hearts’ secrets will remain hidden before God. The Book of Life and the other books mentioned in the Book of revelation and the Gospels contain all of our actions, our deeds and our words, every single things that we have committed.

Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that our Lord as our King, has two aspects, just as all the other kings also have. First, our King shows us mercy and love, His desire for all of us to be reunited with Him. However, as King, He also has to mete out justice and judgment, which must be impartial. Thus, while He is merciful and loving towards us, but He hates our sins, the taints and blemishes which separate us from the perfection of His love.

In the Gospel we heard how Jesus detailed on what will happen at the Last Judgment. All will come before the Lord their King, and He will judge them equally based on their actions. There were two groups of people at that judgment, and the judgment results are clear cut. It is either that they have done what is right in the eyes of God, or if they have done what is wicked, or failed to do what is right in the sight of God.

This should then bring our attention to the nature of sin. The most common sin known to us, is the sin of action, that is sins committed by doing things abhorrent and wicked before God and men, such as stealing, murder, jealousy, coveting others’ belongings, disobedience against God, fornication of the flesh and many others. However, many of us often do not realise or forget that there is another type of sin that is equally bad, and this is the sin of omission.

What is the sin of omission? As the name said, it is sin committed when we are perfectly in place and capable of doing something good, and yet we consciously choose not to do so, and instead, we often care for ourselves first, succumbing to our ego, pride and greed. Just as the first Adam, we have the tendency to be selfish, to think of ourselves first, and to satisfy our own needs first. And while he got the knowledge he wanted, he sinned.

What did Jesus say to those whom He judged to be on His left? He cursed them and condemned them because they have had many opportunities to do good things and to help the many people around them who are in need, and yet they ignored them and went on doing their own businesses, caring only about themselves. Their ignorance and refusal to lift up and raise their hands to help, had been accounted for, and these weighed in against them at the final judgment.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, on this celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King, what we can we do to improve ourselves and to ensure our salvation? It is by following the example of our Lord Himself, who is King, Lord and Master of all the Universe, and yet, He was humble, obedient and loving in all of His actions. He served those entrusted to Him, and also loved the poor, the meek and lowly, the ostracised and the castaways of the society. He showed His mercy and love to sinners, the prostitutes and tax collectors.

In following the actions and ways of Jesus our Lord and King, we will be able to do what is right, and give to our brethren in need, the love and support which we should give to them, especially whenever we are in position to give our help and our love. Do not forget also, that we must therefore avoid the sin of omission, which means that we should not be complacent or lazy whenever we are able to commit good deeds for the sake of our brethren.

Today, we also celebrate the feast day of both Pope St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr, and also St. Columban, an abbot. The actions of these saints were in accordance to the actions of Christ, and they showed care and love for their friends and neighbours around them. Pope St. Clement I was the Pope in the early Church, one of the first direct successors of St. Peter the Apostle as the Bishop of Rome. Meanwhile, St. Columban was an abbot who lived during the early Dark Ages.

Pope St. Clement I was one of the earliest Popes, and records suggested that he was directly chosen by St. Peter to be one of his successors together with Pope St. Clement’s immediate predecessors. He was pious and devoted to God, and he tirelessly worked for the sake of the faithful. He was a man of prayer and love, often caring for those less fortunate under his care. He provided for them spiritually as well as in material, as far as he could.

It was told that he was exiled under the orders of the Roman Emperor Trajan, who sent him to the far corners of the Empire at Chersonessos, to work in a mine there. He carried out his work dutifully without fear, and when there was a draught in the mine, he prayed to God, and immediately a clear spring appeared, to the delight of his fellow exiles and workers.

It was clear from these examples, that Pope St. Clement I is another role model we can follow, as he truly practiced his faith, and when he was able to, he helped those around him by using the grace God given him, the grace of prayer and faith, which he used to bring goodness to the others poor, oppressed and exiled from their houses.

Meanwhile, St. Columban was an Irish missionary, who travel widely across Europe and Christendom at the time, spreading the faith in various locations, serving and helping others around the places during his journeys. St. Columban established many monasteries around Europe and Christendom, becoming eventually an abbot himself.

The works and dedications of St. Columban might have been different from that of Pope St. Clement I, but nevertheless, what he had done, was also done to help the least of the society, those who have been lost to the darkness, and by giving places to the faithful who sought to devote themselves more to God in prayer, he had done much great goodness for the Lord and His people.

Hence, as we end our liturgical year with this celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King, and with the understanding that upon baptism, we too have shared in the Kingship of Christ, let us all be ever more resolute in truly living our faith, so that in all that we do, and in all that we say and in our actions, we may be loving towards our brethren, especially those who are in need of our help.

Let us be like our Lord and King, who did not boast and be proud of His authority and kingship, but rather remain humble and serve those who had been entrusted to Him. Through our baptism, we share in the kingship of Christ, and we have to realise that all of us have the responsibility to take care of one another, to keep each other in the path of the Lord. May our Lord and King watch over us always, and help us, so that we may remain ever faithful, and in the end, when He comes again, He may find us righteous and just, and thus are worthy of His eternal kingdom. God be with us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/sunday-23-november-2014-34th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-solemnity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-king-of-the-universe-memorial-of-pope-st-clement-i-pope-and-martyr-and-st-columban-abbot-first-readi/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/sunday-23-november-2014-34th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-solemnity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-king-of-the-universe-memorial-of-pope-st-clement-i-pope-and-martyr-and-st-columban-abbot-psalm/

 

Second Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/sunday-23-november-2014-34th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-solemnity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-king-of-the-universe-memorial-of-pope-st-clement-i-pope-and-martyr-and-st-columban-abbot-second-read/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/sunday-23-november-2014-34th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-solemnity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-king-of-the-universe-memorial-of-pope-st-clement-i-pope-and-martyr-and-st-columban-abbot-gospel-read/

Sunday, 23 November 2014 : 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Memorial of Pope St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr, and St. Columban, Abbot (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 house. 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 good people 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 : whenever you did this to these little ones who are My brothers and sisters, 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 : whatever you did not do for one of these little ones, you did not do it for Me.'”

“And these will go into eternal punishment, but the just to eternal life.”

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/sunday-23-november-2014-34th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-solemnity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-king-of-the-universe-memorial-of-pope-st-clement-i-pope-and-martyr-and-st-columban-abbot-homily-and/