Homily — Christ the King MMVII Nov. 25, 2007

Homily — Christ the King MMVII Nov. 25, 2007

There’s an interesting line in today’s First Reading from the Second Book of Samuel.

The last line says that “They (the people of Israel) anointed (David) King of Israel.

What’s very interesting about that Old Testament passage is that in every other Scripture passage, God, not the people, anoints David King of Israel.

Just one example, Psalm 89:19-20, states: “I (the Lord) have set the crown on one who is mighty, I have exalted one chosen from the people. I have found my servant David; with my holy oil I have anointed him.

But the One, True God doesn’t force anything on anyone; God wanted His people to freely choose the man He had anointed to be their King. They could have rejected David, and God, while He wouldn’t have been happy, would have respected their choice.

And just as God wanted His People to choose for themselves to have David rule over them as their King, so God also wants us His People to choose for ourselves to have Jesus, the Son of David, to rule over us as our King.

We celebrate today the Solemnity of Christ the King this last Sunday of the Church’s Liturgical Year. We proclaim Jesus to be the One anointed by God to be the Eternal King, not just of Israel but of all Creation, the King who all peoples and rulers must serve.

But like King David, God will not force His Anointed King Jesus on anyone. You and I and every man and woman must choose to anoint Jesus King over themselves, you and I and everyone else must choose to serve or not to serve the King of Kings.

To drive this important point home to us, Jesus allowed Himself to be betrayed, abandoned, spit upon, scourged, crowned with thorns and crucified. If God wanted to force people to serve His anointed Son, He could have sent armies of angels to stop the crucifixion. But He didn’t, if people wanted to reject God’s anointed, God and Jesus would respect their choice.

And so we see in the Gospel, Jesus the True and Just King nailed to a Cross, while many corrupt civil rulers sneer at Jesus, refusing to serve Christ the King.

We even see many Faithless Religious Leaders sneering at Jesus the King, not only on Good Friday but down through history, rejecting His truth and commandments and leading God’s people astray.

Many Military and Police, whose job it is to serve and protect, are also among those who choose to reject God’s anointed, and they too join in with the civil and religious leaders and the crowds in mocking the King of Kings.

But while the majority of people at the Cross, and perhaps a majority of people down through history, seem to choose not to anoint Jesus as their King, a small minority of people do anoint Him their King at the Cross and down through the ages.

Nicodemus, a civil ruler, along with Joseph of Aramathea, a religious ruler, go over to Jesus’ side by the end of the day. John the Apostle and Priest, the Virgin Mary and a few other Holy Women stay faithful to the end. The Centurion Soldier shouts out Surely this was the Son of God, and takes Jesus as His King. And finally, a criminal crucified with Jesus votes to anoint Jesus King over his poor wretched soul.

And really, the Good Thief teaches us all we need to know about serving the King of Kings. While almost everyone else around him mocks Jesus and tells lies and half truths about His teachings, the Good Thief isn’t afraid to defend Jesus, even while hanging on the Cross. The Good Thief also isn’t afraid to accept responsibility for his sinful actions. He knows that his punishment is a just one for his many crimes, and doesn’t try to deny his guiltiness.

And lastly, even though Jesus hangs on the Cross before him, rejected by the powerful of the world, rejected by even the majority of his disciples, just minutes away from a horrible death, the Good Thief still makes an incredible statement of faith in Jesus’ Kingship, of faith in Christ’s Resurrection, and of faith in Christ’s Great Mercy. This criminal says, Jesus, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom.

In effect this Good Thief is saying “Jesus I believe you are truly the King of Heaven and Earth, and that even Death must obey you. I believe that You will be King in that world where peace and goodness rules the day. I don’t deserve to go there Jesus, because of all the terrible things I’ve done in this life, but I believe that if you even just remembered me when you were finally in your Kingdom, knowing that You thought of me there would make any punishment I face bearable.”

And Jesus said to him, and to all the good thieves of the world “By order of the King of Kings, this day you will be with me in Paradise.”

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