Sunday, November 20, 2011

Brought to Life

November 20, 2011

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

Thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will look after and tend my sheep. As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so will I tend my sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark. I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD. The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy, shepherding them rightly. Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-16

For since death came through man, the resurrection of the dead came also through man. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. 1 Corinthians 15:21-24

"Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.'" Matthew 25:37-40


Kingship is something one is born into by family and birth in a special family. Leaders can assume the title of king or president, but a leader is someone who claims the respect of people by deeds. We are born with talents that give us a place in life and our fit with the categories of leadership opens doors to us. Some leaders are born with the qualities that attract the loyalty of followers. Our world today has more than its share of leaders who ruled or rule by fear. Christ empties himself out of family to become one of us. The powers of Godship are left behind in his becoming a slave for our sake. He was born of the family of David and we know today that there are qualities that come by virtue of family. We have Christ as a special leader because his throne is the cross. While he is of the lineage of David who began as a Shepherd, he earns our devotion by his dying for us. The heart that is pierced on the cross becomes the source of the Sacramental life of the Church and even as we are baptized into Christ by the waters of Baptism made holy by the water that poured forth from the pierced heart of Christ, we become his followers and he becomes our king. The kingship of Christ gives focus to our discipleship. His cross becomes the throne of glory that is waiting for us as we take up the crosses of our lives to be his followers.


Our exposure to the events in the life of Christ and our listening to the words of his teaching in the Scriptures open us up to the kingship of Christ. Our love for Christ leads to as much of an identity with Christ as we willing accept by following his example. Christ is willing to give us his life. The only limit on how much of Christ is ours is the lack of putting on the mind and the heart of Christ which we discover by our prayer and study of the way Christ has revealed himself to our world by the Church and his followers.


Our actions are the transparencies of our closeness to Christ. If we die with Christ, we can rise with him. Our actions bring us to our version of the statement of Paul. “Now I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal. 2, 19 - 21.) Our actions show how we belong to Christ. We are his hands and his feet in our world today. Christ goes where we are willing to go in his name. The more we look at Christ by our prayer, the more we become his presence in our world by our actions. Christ is the King of our hearts when we live our lives for him. Our good actions are the reality of Christ’s presence in our world. We are the reality of Christ as King of our world.