Sunday, November 25, 2012

Homily Christ the King Year B

By Jerry Franzen Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption 11/25/12
Daniel 7: 13-14  Revelation 1: 5-8  John 18:33b-37

Jesus, also known as the Christ, wanted on charges of sedition,
criminal anarchy, vagrancy
and conspiring to overthrow the established government.
He dresses poorly. Uses carpentry as a cover. Has visionary ideas.
He associates with common people,
the unemployed, the prostitutes, the tax collectors
and other known criminals.
He has a variety of aliases:
Prince of Peace, Son of Man, Light of the World.
He has nasty scars on his hands and his feet and his side,
the results of injuries inflicted by an angry mob
led by so-called respectable citizens and local authorities.
Hardly the portrait one would paint for a king.


When we hear the word king, what image arises?
The power and grandeur of King Arthur and his court.
The arrogance of King Henry VIII.
The charisma of King David, yet an adulterer and murderer.
The wisdom of Solomon with 700 wives and 300 concubines.
The cruelty of King Herod.
The pomp of the Louis Kings of France.

None of these fit CHRIST the King.
Most persons become a king (or a queen) for one of two reasons:
The first is by succession or some other family tie.
Prince Charles will be the King of England
when his mother Queen Elizabeth dies.

The second way is through some political action
such as a treaty or a conquest.
Certainly Jesus is a King, because of a family tie,
The Son with whom the Father was “well pleased.”
He is also a king because of a conquest,
the conquest of three tyrants: Satan, sin and death.
Christ crushed these three,
but they have not vanished from the face of the earth.


We must not dwell too long on what it means for Christ that he is King,
lest we miss what it means for US that Christ is King.
The power of Satan over us has been broken;
we are no longer slaves to Satan and sin.
And death? We do die, but only to live more gloriously still.

As the waters of Baptism are three times poured
over the head of a person to be bapized, the following
words of Baptism are said:
“I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit.”
Then the priest or deacon prays the following words:
“The God of power and the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ
has freed you from sin and brought you to new life
through water and the Holy Spirit.
He now anoints you with the Chrism of salvation,
So that, united with his people,
You may remain forever a member of Christ,
Who is Priest, Prophet and King.
I have told my students that it’s PPK, not punt pass and kick,
but priest, prophet and king.
All of the baptized share in Christ’s three-fold ministry,
as priest, prophet and king.

The kingdom is us, within us, and we are priests,
not just those ordained as priests, but all of the baptized
all of us share in the priesthood of Christ.
A priest is one who helps to make others holy.
A priest is God’s intermediary in sanctifying others,
and we the baptized are to work on our own sanctification
and that of others.

The kingdom is us, within us.
We, the baptized, are also prophets in the kingdom,
the second part of the three-fold ministry.
The prophets are the teachers,
the ones who teach us how to live according to God’s way.
Teachers are to teach their students,
students are to do the same for their teachers,
and parents, the same for their children.
We all share in the prophetic ministry of Christ

And, thanks to the king of Kings, we also share in his kingship.
The kingdom of Jesus is not a place, a castle, a territory.
Jesus does not rule over his people, but he serves his people.
And we all share in this kingship of service.
Husbands are to be of service to their wives,
and wives are to do the same for their husbands.
An infant’s parents will serve the needs of the child
as the child grows up,
and the child will do the same for the parents.
Because Jesus’ kingship is one of service to his subjects,
we all share in His Kingship.
And we cannot share in this threefold ministry,
unless we have the freedom to do so in God’s plan


In a few minutes you will hear the preface for today:
It declares that
“Our Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Priest and King of all creation”
 who “offered himself on the altar of the Cross.”
The kingship of Christ, the priesthood of Christ,
the prophetic roll of Christ, all three are tied up
in his offering his life for us, in his sacrifice.
We are called to share in all of this through our own sacrifice,
and we must be free to do so.
Our founding forefathers certainly recognized
the value of this freedom of religion.
This is the reason the first settlers came to America.

Today’s preface goes on:
that he (Christ) might present to his almighty Father,
“an eternal and universal kingdom:
A kingdom of truth and life,
A kingdom of holiness and grace,
A kingdom of justice, love and peace.”
Are these seven qualities,
truth, life, holiness, grace, justice, love and peace
within this world
within this country
within us, the Cathedral parish part of the kingdom?
Are we free to use our gifts to contribute to building this kingdom
of truth, life, holiness, grace, justice, love and peace here on earth?

Once again the seven nouns as characteristics of Christ’s kingdom are:
truth, life, holiness, grace, justice, love and peace.
Today these characteristics of the kingdom
are under attack in our country.

TRUTH The government is in the process of requiring us
to support the lie that artificial contraception is permissible,
because it is a part of needed women’s health care,
rather than the truth of God’s plan for us.

LIFE We are being forced to support the lie of the Culture of Death
brought on by abortifacient agents
rather than the truth of the sanctity of life.

HOLINESS We are being forced to go against God’s will in these items
rather than being allowed to follow God’s will -
the very path to holiness.

GRACE We are being told that the government is the source of
what is right or wrong,
rather than our relying on God’s freely given gift of grace
to help us to form our own consciences.

JUSTICE We are being being forced to accept that justice
does not include freedom from attack upon our religion,
even though we have been endowed by our Creator
with the inalienable rights of “life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness.”

LOVE We are being forced to accept
the government’s definition of marriage, rather than the truth
that marriage is the expression of God’s love
between a man and a woman.

And finally PEACE, the peace of God’s kingdom.
Where is it in the world; where is it in our country,
when race is set against race and one class is set against another?
Pope Pius XI who instituted the feast of Christ the King
in an encyclical (Quas Primas) in 1925 said that
“as long as individuals and states refused to submit
to the rule of our Savior,
there would be no really hopeful prospect
of a lasting peace among nations.”

We seem to have an uphill battle – trying to bring about God’s kingdom
 of truth, life, holiness, grace, justice, love and peace here on earth.
On Thursday evening I watched the movie, “For Greater Glory”
about the Mexican fight for religious freedom in 1929.
The dictator in Mexico had decided to forbid all Catholic worship
and to kill all who promoted Catholic worship in any way.
Those who fought to regain their religious freedom
were called “Cristeros.”
Many died on both sides in the conflict. In the end, the dictator relented.
The battle cry of the Cristeros was “Viva Cristo Rey.”
“Long Live Christ the King.”

We must pray, pray that the attacks will cease,
that our freedom to follow our faith and own conscience
will not be hindered.
When election time rolls around, Fr. Jerry Twaddell,
a priest of this diocese can be seen wearing his campaign button,
a silver colored one about the size of a quarter.
It reads simply: “Jesus for King”

It may be an uphill battle,
but we must do all that we can in our ministry as the baptized
to support Christ’s kingdom here on earth.