Tag Archives: Sunday

Christ, the King

Audio for the homily below:

In one of his songs, Bruce Springteen sings,

“Poor man wanna be rich,

Rich man wanna be king.

And a king ain’t satisfied

Till he rule over everything.”

That’s the normal road power takes, isn’t it? But it wasn’t the road Jesus Christ took. He ended up a poor man on a cross who had nothing. On either side of him were two criminals who also had nothing– except the prospect of death.

Jesus becomes the king of the poor, the God of the needy, our gospel today says. He speaks in their behalf and he judges others by what they have done to them. What’s more, he claims that when we help those in need, we meet him.

“I was thirsty, I was hungry, I was sick, I was in prison, I was a stranger.”

“When did we see you thirsty, hungry, sick, in prison, a stranger?” those who come before him ask–and we are among them. “When you did it to the least, “ Jesus says.

Mother Teresa had a beautiful response for those who wondered how she kept doing so much for the poor. “We must see Christ in disguise,” she said. Her words are good advice for us who wish to do what this gospel says we should.

We have to see Christ in disguise, not simply a figure from some far off past, or a heavenly presence beyond our reach. He is close to us, as close as the one beside us at home or just outside our door, who needs one of the simple gifts we can give.

Advent’s Coming

We begin the season of Advent this Sunday. Jesus is Coming! He came over two thousand years ago in Bethlehem, of course, but he said he would come again, at the end of time.

“He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will be without end.” In the Our Father, we pray: “Your kingdom come.” “We wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ,” we say at Mass.

Joyful hope. Waiting in “joyful” hope means having a larger, long-term vision to sustain and strengthen us through our days. A joyful hope keeps dreams for something better for our world and ourselves alive.

A joyful hope saves us from small-mindedness, from being dragged down by failure, from being pulled a deadening present.

Deliver us from the days of Noah, this Sunday’s gospel says. “…In the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.” The days of Noah are “same old, same old” days, nothing’s happening, nothing’s going on. “Turn on the Television,” “Have a beer,” The days of Noah are days of blinding routine.

In the days of Noah we need to be lifted up:   “When you’re down and out, lift up your head and shout, there’s gonna be a great day!” That’s what Advent does, it proclaims a Great Day.

While I was staying at Bethany last week, I met some fundamentalist Protestants who support the establishment of the State of Israel so that Jesus will return and God’s kingdom will finally come. They believe God has given the Jews all the land of ancient Palestine by a solemn biblical decree and when they take possession of it, human history comes to a victorious end. They believe Christians have to do all they can to hasten this coming by prayer and political action.

I disagreed with them. I don’t think God’s kingdom will come because a people take over a piece of land. Jesus seems to say that  in Sunday’s gospel.

“Therefore, stay awake!

For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.”

Staying awake is what we have to do, and it’s harder to stay awake than to take over land.