HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING OF THE UNIVERSE

HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING OF THE UNIVERSE

EZEKIEL 34:11-12, 15-17; PSALM 22; 1CORINTHIANS 15:20-26, 28; MATTHEW 25:31-46

There are four homily notes here; kindly scroll down the page. God bless you! 

 

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Fr. Paul Oredipe:  In the Loving Service of Christ the King

Fr. Daniel Evbotokhai: Proclaiming His Kingship  

Fada Udochukwu Ibekwe: In what Sense is Christ the King?

Fr. Evaristus Okeke: Our King is the Good Shepherd!

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Fr. Paul Oredipe:  

In the Loving Service of Christ the King

My dear brothers and sisters, today’s Solemnity, Christ the King, brings to a close the Church’s year.  It is a solemn reminder of the fact that Christ our Lord is the True King of this world, and indeed, of all worlds.  Christ is the beginning and end of all life.  At Christmas, we shall celebrate His first coming among us as a baby.  Today, the Church directs our gaze to His second coming, in majesty, at the end of time, and what that final appearance of His will mean for each of us. 

The end of the Church year, the end of time, the last judgment, the Solemnity of Christ the King – all these themes fit together as we are to meditate on the gospel.  Christ sits enthroned as King of Kings.  He judges each of us on our ability to enter heaven.  He confronts us with the fact that if we have not shared a portion of His love with others, we cannot be exposed to the fullness of Christ’s love in heaven. 

Today, we have the consolation that our acts of mercy toward God’s little ones are vindicated already in the court of heaven, because God sees everything from above, and is the ultimate beneficiary of any of our poor, yet sincere efforts to care for the needy, the marginalized and the dependent, the hungry, the thirsty, the strangers, the naked, the sick and the imprisoned citizens of God’s kingdom. 

Today’s gospel passage adds another important dimension.  The criterion by which we will be judged when we come into the presence of God is practical, simple and clear.  It is not so much what we do for the God ‘we cannot see’ that matters, in the end, but what we do for one another – expressing the fact that we are true children of the same Father (cf.1 Jn 4:20). 

It is interesting and really challenging that Jesus identified Himself as one of those who needed help.  He identified Himself as existing in them, as living in them.  He was born poor and helpless, born in need and died in need.  He lived and moved and had His being in need.  And on the day of judgement, the surprised will discover Him there. 

How many of us can discover our being in His?  How often do we admit that we exist in need, that you are not self-sufficient, that you are on spiritual welfare, and that you and Jesus find each other in need?  That is the big point of this parable – and it is always missed.  At the last judgment, Jesus will be found in those who were in need.  These are mine, and I am theirs, and they are in me, and I live in them.  Jesus did not speak of them in the third person.  No, He spoke of them in the first person. 

My dear friends, let us be honest with each other here.  A text message I received says: “The three most difficult things to say to someone are: “I love you”  “I’m sorry”  “Help me”.  When last did you say any of these? 

Jesus talks about the least ones.  Who are the least ones for us?  Who are the ones we take most for granted?  Who are the ones we do not seem to worry about very much.  Is it not true that these are often the ones closest to us – our own family?  Is it not true that so often we just presume that everything is okay or will be?  And is it not true that at times we can pass one another as strangers passing in the night – not really noticing what is happening with the other? 

Perhaps, the foremost authority on today’s gospel was Mother Theresa.  Her comment on the gospel is that at the end of our lives we will not be judged by how many diplomas or degrees we have received, how much money we have made or how many great things we have done.  We will be judged by “I was hungry and you gave me to eat.  I was naked and you clothed me.  I was homeless and you took me in.” 

Mother Theresa goes on to say, “Hungry, not only for bread, but hungry for love; naked not only for clothing, but for human dignity and respect; homeless not only for want of a room of bricks, but homeless because of rejection.  This is Christ in distressing disguise.” 

When Christ returns in glory, He will not judge us on carefully calculated quantities written down as on a balance sheet.  He will judge us on the quality and depth of our love.  “As you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me.”  And from His stern words in today’s gospel, it is clear that we will be held to account not only for the evil we have done, but also for the good we have failed to do, our sins of omission.  “As you did it not unto the least of these my brethren, you did it not to me.”  Those condemned were too blind even to notice that they had failed in their duty.  They failed to recognize Christ the King when He appeared in a manner that did not match their narrow expectations. 

We can recall various other episodes in the gospels when our King was not recognized; as a baby in the stable at Bethlehem; as a child instructing the teachers in the temple; as a healer of the sick; as a criminal hanging on the Cross.  During His earthly life, many saw Him, but very few recognized Him.  We are better off.  We have the evidence of the gospels, and the hindsight of the Church’s teaching.  We who have the light of the gospels and the teaching of the Church to guide us will have very little excuse for our blindness when our King returns in glory, on the last day, to judge the living and the dead. 

We are troubled by a gospel that tells us that we are accountable not just for the things we do that are wrong, but also for the things we fail to do.  We are troubled because we cannot get away with relegating our following of Christ into the compartments and slots of our life marked “religion”.  The gospel tells us that is simply insufficient.  To profess ourselves as Christians demands that we make a clear and conscious decision to integrate Christ into every thread and fiber of the fabric of our lives.  There can never be a time or a situation that we refuse to recognize his presence in others. 

On this celebration of Christ the King, we are called again to discern Him in the poor and the needy.  There is just this one word of caution though.  We should not mistake the laws of our King for the laws of the welfare state.  His Kingdom is not merely a branch of the social services.  Social services are a vital part of any truly humane society, and we should do all we can to support and develop them, but they are not of themselves the Kingdom. 

Following the teachings of Christ is not a matter of joining a “charitable organisation”.  Being a disciple means living the life of charity: service of our neighbour done for the love of Christ, when we discern Christ Himself, truly present, though hidden, in that stranger who is hungry, cold, lonely, abused, sick, or in prison. 

This is the Solemnity of Christ the King.  At the conclusion of the Church year we are asked what the Christ event means in our lives.  We are asked about our world view.  Do we view others as those loved by Christ, as those who Christ is present in, or are we so tied up in ourselves that we rarely integrate our living of the Christian life with our profession of Christianity ? 

We conclude the Church year by asking the Lord to help us serve the Kings of Kings as He presents himself in those reaching out to us.  In the words of St John of the Cross: “In the evening of life we shall be examined on love.” 

On today’s celebration, as we end another year in the Church, let us renew our dedication to live more faithfully as Christ’s subjects in the future.  Let us resolve to live by His law of charity, in His State of love. 

Then, when our period of apprenticeship is over, we would hear these merciful words addressed to us: “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world.” 

May God bless you all.  

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 

Fr. Daniel Evbotokhai:

Proclaiming His Kingship  

 

Today is the Last Sunday of the Liturgical Year – the calendar of the Church. In this Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe. A festival celebrated in honour of Jesus Christ as lord over all creation. Pope Pius XI instituted the feast of Christ the King in 1925 to remind Christians that their allegiance was to their spiritual ruler in heaven as opposed to earthly supremacy. Pope Benedict XVI remarked that Christ’s kingship is not based on “human power” but on loving and serving others.

The titles of “Christ” and “king” are not used together in the Bible, but “Christ” is in itself a royal title (the anointed [king]). In the Greek text, the Christ is explicitly identified as king several times, so in Matthew 2:2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” In John 18, Pilate refers to the implication that the Christ is a royal title by inquiring explicitly if Jesus claims to be the “king of the Jews”. Similarly, in John 1:49, a follower addresses Jesus as “the king of Israel”. In Luke’s gospel the Angel Gabriel proclaims to Mary, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” In 1Tim. 6:14–15 explicitly applies the phrase of “King of Kings and Lord of lords” In Revelation it is declared that the Lamb is “King of kings, and Lord of lords”.

This King according to the first reading is the one who rules as the Good Shepherd. The psalmist says “the Lord is my Shepherd there is nothing I shall want”. Other shepherds may fail but God is the Shepherd that never fails. Jesus is the supreme King no matter who the civil leaders might be, and he is to be loved, obeyed and honoured above all others, because he alone can bring eternal life. Let us honour Jesus his Kingdom has no end; earthly kings and leaders have ends. This kingdom is not also about food and drink, power and riches, fame and competition but about justice and peace, love and mercy. Today rather than spread love and mercy in churches many men of God have succeeded in breeding a kingdom of disunity and war.

Lastly, as the Good Shepherd he has genuine and unending concern for all his people. He wants us to have this same concern for all. Precisely because of this, the Gospel reading tells us about the corporeal work of mercy which gives us the ways we could express genuine concern for one another. Jesus tells us that all peoples and nations will be assembled before the throne of glory and they will be sorted out according to their deeds. Beloved, it is our deeds on the basis of the works of mercy that we determine our entrance into the Kingdom of heaven.  Beyond clap and dance today let us extend hands of genuine concern to a friend or a neigbour. Through the works of mercy let us proclaim that Jesus is the King of the universe.

 

Fada Udochukwu Ibekwe:

In what Sense is Christ the King?

“For you anointed your only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, with the oil of gladness as eternal Priest and King of All Creation, so that, by offering himself on the altar of the cross as a spotless sacrifice to bring us peace, he might accomplish the mysteries of human redemption and making all created things subject to His rule, he might present to immensity of your majesty an eternal and universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice love and Peace.”

Culled from the Preface for the Feast

 Today been the last Sunday of the liturgical year the church celebrates the Solemnity of Christ the King. This Sunday helps us a great deal  to look towards our future, our final destiny, when Jesus will return in glory.This feast of Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and is observed on the last Sunday of the liturgical year as it helps us to meditate on Christ the King and Lord and also on the Second (parousia) and Final Coming of Christ, the Last Judgment, and the end of the world. The Pontiff was witness to a turbulent time in the world’s history. The First World War had just come to an end. Secularism was on the rise and dangerous dictatorships were emerging in Europe and beyond. Christ had long been referred to as King, but the Pope could see the respect and reverence for Christ’s authority waning in the midst of the unrest during the early decades of the 20th century. In response, the feast was set with the intent to reaffirm and refocus faith and respect in the kingship of Jesus. Pope Pius XI felt that nations would see that the Church has the right to freedom, and immunity from the state. Secondly that leaders and nations would see that they are bound to give respect to Christ who is King per excellence.  Finally that the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration of the feast, as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies, that He must reign over our desires, aspirations and ambitions, over our troubles and trials. It was because nations and states were abusing their power that the Pope instituted this feast. Thus, Christ became a picture and indeed a model to be emulated by the earthly kings, Princes and Rulers and indeed all who hold offices both small and great

Today with the many abuses of power and authority, with an increase in selfishness and hate, with the growing rate of insensitivity to the plight of the masses, with an increase in the quest for power, wealth and riches that lead to murder, theft, gross wickedness, hate, hostility and envy,  it has become more relevant as it were when this feast was instituted to think more and reflect on Christ who is  the King of the Universe and thus, ask ourselves, if our lives reflect Christ even in the very little positions we see ourselves.

In the first reading taken from the Prophet Ezekiel 34:11-12.15-17 we see God as the shepherd of Israel who sets out to search and take care of His wounded Flock. At the background of this reading we saw that Israel’s leaders are indicted for their failure to care for the nation and the people placed under their care. Thus, Ezekiel 34 uses the metaphor of shepherding to illustrate how Israel’s leaders (shepherds) oppressed the people (flock). They shepherds looked only to their own interests by clothing and feeding themselves at the expense of the needs of the flock, Instead of strengthening and healing the sheep in their time of need, or seeking  them out when lost, the shepherds fiercely dominated them, leaving the  sheep vulnerable to hostile nations and scattered them throughout the world. Thus, the voice of God is heard with promises to restore and save the sheep from the “mouths” of the shepherds (Israel’s rulers), search and care for his sheep, and bring them back from where they were scattered. He will lead them back to their own land, feed them, and have them lie down in safety in good grazing ground. Ultimately, God will judge between the fat sheep (beneficiaries and participants in the oppression) and the lean sheep (the weak and oppressed). This deliverance climaxes with the future appointment of the ultimate shepherd, a second David, who will feed and care for God’s flock as a prince should under God’s kingship. In this line, The psalmist (Psalm 23) recounts the saving work and divine providence  of the good shepherd  in the same line as the first reading “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want”. We must be able to embrace the Psalm. We should make it our own prayer.  We must recognize God as our shepherd, guide, protector and provider. We must be willing to be guided, to be fed and instructed by the one and only Good shepherd.

St Paul in His first letter to the Corinthians 15:20-26.28, reflects on the mystery of the resurrection of Jesus.  In his reflection, He considers that: – resurrection is not just a bodily resurrection, but an affirmation that Jesus comes from God (it is God who raised him. Jesus did not rise by himself.) Hence, Resurrection makes Christ the first born (pre-eminent among all people). Resurrection empowers Christ to destroy his enemies (anything / anybody that contradicts his teachings and mystery), including death. If we believe in Christ we will surely  be like Him resurrecting, defeating all enemies.  We cannot understand Christ’s kingship without faith in his resurrection. Christ’s kingship is about His total submission to the will of  Father.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, One thing that runs concurrently in the readings of this Sunday is judgment. The reoccurring  shepherding metaphor sends a message  to all who see themselves in positions of authority, as kings and leaders, it sends a signal to the Church Leaders who use their positions of authority to devour the sheep entrusted to their care, who are not able to speak out but play diplomacy in the oppression of the poor, those who silence the voice of reason and justice, those who cannot challenge  the ills of our bad government but are themselves beneficiaries of the untold hardship meddled on the poor, the homeless, workers, those who have failed to be the moral voice of our ailing society.

To reflect better on the feast of the day, let see the many instances, Christ showcased his Kingship; Jesus was a king because he has a kingdom but his kingdom is totally at odds with any display of power in this world. Some people like to dominate others, abuse their power, and manipulate others. But that has no place in Jesus’ kingdom. Those with power can unfortunately abuse their power in so many ways but Jesus is totally powerless on the cross; he cannot even save himself, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the Christ of God.” (Luke 23:35) The values in Jesus’ kingdom are service and humility. If we want to be great we must be like children .We are to carry our cross after Jesus every day. There is no place for violence or retribution in Jesus’ kingdom.  Jesus kept company with tax-collectors, sinners and prostitutes, so much so that the authorities described Jesus as “a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners.” (Luke 7:34) You would expect kings to receive important people and dignitaries but Jesus received the lowly and rejected people of his time. A king might expect to receive a gift but Jesus gave gifts, he restored health to those who were sick. Jesus was not the kingly type according to our understanding of king; he is a powerless king! Kings wear a crown. What sort of crown did Jesus wear? It was a crown of thorns. What throne do we see Jesus sitting on in the Gospels? It is the cross. Instead of an army there were people beneath his cross asking him to come down if he was indeed the Son of God. So Jesus’ idea of king and power is totally opposite to the world’s idea of a king and power. That is why the preface to the Eucharistic Prayer in today’s Mass describes Jesus’ kingdom as “A kingdom of truth and life; a kingdom of holiness and  grace; a kingdom of justice, love and peace”.

The Old Testament lesson certainly gives us that impression of Christ the Shepherd rather than Christ the King, staying with the shepherd metaphor in vivid and dramatic language, focusing on God as the Great Shepherd, a description and promise eventually leading to a human shepherd, David.

He became and then evolved into the best-known and loved king of ancient Israel. His name became a symbol of a great king, but he was not a saintly king – not with his many wives, dysfunctional children, and constant, unending wars, certainly not with His many abuses of Power with his Kingly position; even though a Man after God’s heart but we also see the imagery of earthly kingship come into play at intervals.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, the New Testament lesson paints a picture of a glorified Christ raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God “in the heavenly places.” The word “king” does not enter in this narrative, even though the language of the passage is filled with power beyond that of kings and emperors. Paul’s own epistles don’t use the appellation “king,” which is found only in 1 Timothy, but that was likely written much later than the time of Paul. Of course, the book of Revelation is filled with kingly images, as is to be expected from apocalyptic writing. It is nearly impossible for those of us steeped in the melodies and glorious sounds of Handel’s Messiah to think of Revelation without hearing the triumphant words from Psalm 24: Lift up your heads, O gates; lift them high, O everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.“Who is this King of glory?” “The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle.”This rather militaristic triumphalism is missing from the gospels, however.

So, how did this image of Christ the King come about? We first encounter the title “king” in Matthew’s lovely story of the Magi’s visit to the infant Jesus. The wise visitors, accustomed to the great potentates of the East, come looking for a child born to be “king of the Jews,” but Herod, a once-great but troubled man, is already the king of the Jews by order of the occupying Romans. He did a great deal of good for Israel, but now he is old, having killed his wives and his own children in order to hold on to his throne. When he hears of the purpose of the Magi’s visit, he is terrified. Who is this child born to be king? The image he leaves to us of what a king ought to be is a rather miserable one.

In Matthew’s gospel, a child is called king of the Jews, and no one in his immediate family seems very surprised while the Magi recount ancient prophecies. The myth of David’s succession runs strong through the ages of Hebrew history and hope. Yet, that same title will be used thirty-three years later, written on a tablet with a vicious, ironic intention, a tablet nailed on top of the cross where the child, now a grown man, is hanging between two thieves. In the starkest language, we have the story of the greatest tragedy, one not easily conceived by the human mind.

What did the grown Jesus, the wise teacher and most appealing prophet, do with the title “king”? He used it in his parables. In his stories, we don’t have triumphant kings glorious in battle; we are given examples of kings who make difficult decisions based on justice; kings who give banquets where everyone is invited; and finally we are presented with this magisterial image of a king who bestows apocalyptic justice in Matthew 25. This parable, called the Great Judgment, is so familiar to all those who understand what it means to serve others in the name of Jesus that it has become almost a cliché in our times. Here, the image of the king is one of unwavering justice. This is a tough parable, without sentiments, without evasions. We hear no trumpet calls and no triumphalism. Here, humility reigns.

All the teachings of Jesus find a culmination in this parable. The one who taught that “the last shall be first” presents the king as bringing to his right hand, a position of honor, those who have lived a life that honored others above their own selfish needs. “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” This king invites into the heavenly realm those who paid attention to the poor by giving them clothes to wear and food to eat. This king opens his kingdom to those who saw human injustice and took the time to visit the ones who were imprisoned unjustly; this king praises those who welcomed the stranger and the migrant by offering them hospitality and shelter. And they did it all, not knowing that in the process of feeding, clothing, and welcoming, they were responding to the Giver of all good things: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

This is a radically different image of a king for those who were listening to Jesus in the first century – and for those of us who, while no longer living under kings, know what it is to live under the leadership of persons who promote greed and selfishness instead of compassion and humility. This Jesus ate with the poor and the outcasts and honored women while elevating the worth of little children. This Jesus, this king, does not appear holding a sword but instead hangs on a bloodied cross.

Almost twenty years later after the institution of this feast, the brilliant theologian Dorothy L. Sayers examined the question of the kingship of Jesus in her marvelous series of radio plays called The Man Born to Be King. When the Magi visit Mary and Joseph and the baby to offer gifts of great value, Mary wonders about what it all means. One of them tells her: “I speak for a sorrowful people—for the ignorant and the poor. We rise up to labor and lie down to sleep and night is only a pause between one burden and another. Fear is our daily companion—the fear of want, the fear of war, the fear of cruel death and of still more cruel life. But all this we could bear if we knew that we did not suffer in vain; that God was beside us in the struggle, sharing the miseries of His own world.”

The Son of Man, as Jesus referred to himself, proved through his own death that he is beside us in the struggle, sharing our suffering and our miseries. At a time of a rampant virus, in a climate of fear and even hatred, this realization gives us comfort and hope, for Jesus, who rules with love, is the kind of king we can also love especially in our world of pain and shame.

While Christ is coming to judge the nations, his teachings spell out a kingdom of justice and judgment balanced with radical love, mercy, peace, and forgiveness. When we celebrate Christ as King, we are not celebrating an oppressive ruler, but one willing to die for humanity and whose loving-kindness endures forever.

By virtue of our baptism, we share in the kingly ministry of Christ. How do we exercise our authority? How do we exercise our kingship (servanthood) in our family, in our workplace, in our church, and in our community/society?  Are we Domineering, tyrants, political and ecclesiastical Bulldozers, autocratic, terrorists, victimizers, manipulators? do you rule by the barrel of gun and intimidation?, are you authoritarian, dictator and without vision? are you a merciful leader, sympathetic to the plight of your people or are you engrossed in principles and policies like the Pharisees? Christ gives us the true picture of what it means to be King and we are bound to be Christ-Like.

Christ the King comes to shepherd us through the Eucharist.  In the Eucharist, Christ the King comes to feed us with his body and blood.  In the Eucharist, Christ comes to heal our woundedness.  In the Eucharist, Christ comes to give us direction.  In the Eucharist, Christ comes to save us from sin and death.  We all are called to be Kings and Kings after the heart of Christ, Kings according to the Kingship of Christ and by being like Him we establish his dynasty on earth, in our churches and in our government.  May Christ the King reign in our hearts, may He direct our steps, may He make us meek and humble of Hearts so that as we carry out our earthly functions in different capacities, we may reflect the servant-Leader model-Christ and also bear in Mind that the King of the Universe comes to judge us according to our deeds.

“Almighty ever-living God, whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of the Universe; grant, we pray, that the whole creation, set free from slavery, may render your majesty service and ceaselessly proclaim your Praise.” (The Collect)

Fr. Evaristus Okeke:

Our King is the Good Shepherd!

Bible Guide: The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want (Psalm 23:1).

Today, we reflect on one of the key identities of Jesus Christ: kingship. Jesus is a king, our king because in saving us, he rules over us. The concept of salvation will be devoid of its essential meaning if it does not involve rulership. To save us, Christ had to release us from the grip of sin. Sin did not just grip us, it ruled over us; for when our first parents sinned, they lost intimacy with God and begun a generation with a broken relationship with God. It was as though by their fall, they ostracized themselves and their offspring from the reign of God; they could no longer behold his presence.

Little wonder the definition of sin shows that sin is not just an action carried out but a state one finds himself/herself in; a helpless state. It is like when someone falls into a pit and necessarily needs the help of another to come out. So, in saving us, Christ took us out from a helpless state and restored our original identity. If our sins were simply forgiven without the healing of our relationship with God, then we would have been left volatile and soon to return to the pit. For in the first reading, God said: “I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered…I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep”. Thus, it was in restoring our friendship with God that Christ’s salvation was manifested. Therefore, to be saved means to be under the reign of God.

The above analysis is key to understanding the kingship of Jesus Christ as presented by the readings of today. The kingdom of God is not like the kingdom of this world; amongst other things, it has no geographical demarcation. Also, the kingship of Christ is not like that of earthly kings. Kings live in palaces and wield enormous influence over their subjects. In a typical kingdom, subjects serve their king with fear and trembling, and the king is not usually accessible. Some people live their whole lives without making a personal experience with their king.

This is not the case with Christ. The readings of today present him as a king who is a Good Shepherd. In the first reading, this Shepherd of ours goes about seeking the lost sheep with the intention of restoring them and shepherding them Himself. It is obvious that the sheep were lost either due to the carelessness of hirelings or out of their own volition.

Unlike earthly kings, God does not remain in his palace waiting for the day we shall return by ourselves. He does not outline punishments to be dished out on us for going astray. No! His first reaction to our waywardness is restoration and enlightenment. As he renews us, he teaches us that we can only remained renew when we subject ourselves to his reign.

However, a ruler will soon loose his fervor if he is not able to judge. A king must defend his subject, he must reward the faithful and repay the lawless in their own coin. This will be the characteristics of Christ’s second coming. On his return, he will separate those who accepted his reign from those who vehemently chose to be lost again. We will be judged on account of how we have belonged to the kingdom of God here in this world. We cannot belong to the kingdom of God above without first choosing it in this world.

We choose God’s kingdom in this world by replicating the salvific works of Christ. That is, by alleviating the pains and improving the living condition of those around us to the best of our ability. If Christ is the king of our hearts then we will be taking instructions from him. The only instruction he gives us is to do what he has done. Therefore, if we are not loving as Christ loved, then there is another king from whom we are taking instructions.

The question we need to ask ourselves today is: “who is the king of my life?” There are many kings and kingdoms in our world today that compete for our loyalty. There is the kingdom of modern technology, the kingdom of fashion, the kingdom of sexual sins, the kingdom of consumerism, the kingdom of greed, the kingdom of selfishness, the kingdom of Pride, the kingdom of unrepentance, the kingdom of secularism, and so on. All of these promise us a life better than that given us by Christ himself. But in truth, they only return us to a helpless state of slavery.

Know this: _only HE who could save us has the prerogative to reign over us_ . Beloved, just like the Pharisees and the Scribes, it could be difficult to understand the kingdom of God and the Kingship of Christ amidst the difficulties and sufferings in the world today. Sometimes we wish it will be wise for God to put to an end to all of the world’s imperfection and then his kingdom will be glaring.

Well, the wisest thing to do is to see Christ in those around us and attend to their needs. By so doing, our wish will materialize. Not all need money; some persons need direction in life, some hope, some fraternal correction, some a listening ear/understanding mind, some justice, some the truth, some our forgiveness, and so on. The Lord, our Shepherd has given us everything; let us too be all things to all men. God Bless You!

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Fr. Daniel Evbotokhai is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Auchi, Edo State, Nigeria. He was ordained October 20th, 2018. He offers his daily homilies, talks and articles that bother on, faith, theology, morals and many other burning issues in religion and politics. Fr. Daniel writes poems, inspirational quotes and clips.