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Homily for Christ the universal king, year A

24 Nov 2017, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons

Today we celebrate the feast of Christ, the universal king, and this feast marks the end of the Church’s liturgical calendar. It is a celebration we can consider ancient and new. It is ancient because God did not become king in time, and it is new because the feast has begun. It is a new but significant feast in the Church. This feast was instituted about 92 years ago (1925) by Pope Pius XI in reaction to the growing threat of communism and secularism. These two sought to make man the king of the universe, the center of everything, and the most powerful force. So, the Pope instituted this feast to remind the world that Jesus the Son of God is the universal king, and before him, every knee must bow.

In our first reading this morning, our God tells us the kind of king he is, a king that cares for his people. He says I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view. It is a promise that he will watch over us himself, so there is no need for other powers.
Jesus Christ is the universal king; he is the ruler of the kings of the earth, he is the Alpha and the Omega, he is the image of the unseen God, he is the firstborn of all creation and therefore; Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers-all things were created through him and for him. He was, he is, and he is to come. This is the truth, and this truth we celebrate today that Jesus Christ is the king of kings.

This feast we celebrate today, the feast of Christ, the universal king, was instituted because communism and secularism were making man the king, relegating God’s power to the background. In our world today, the case is not different. There is no doubt that we live in a world where there are so many kingdoms, so many kings and princesses. We live in a world where there are so many kinds of powers, principalities, secret societies, and confraternities. We live in a world where people now create kings for themselves, a world where a man wants to reign over and above God, Just as in Pope Pius XI’s days. These are negative forces, and they try to manipulate the human person into believing that all powers belong to them. Many have been deceived into these groups, believing that they cannot make it in life unless they become members. They have deceived so many people into all kinds of covenants with the devil; they have deceived so many into selling their souls to the devil in exchange for fame, power, influence, and wealth. They have handed themselves over to the devil to be used as instruments of destruction, agents of darkness. But the kingdom of God will overcome.

We must not belong to any evil kingdom before we are blessed. Many people today are blessed beyond their imaginations and expectations without belonging to any secret cult; you must not surrender to the kingdom of darkness to be famous or rich. Jesus says, let those on the side of truth listen to his voice. He is the king; apart from him, there is no other. Therefore, let us joyfully and confidently proclaim him the universal king and give him the chance to rule in our lives, our families, and everything we are connected to. He is the king of the Jews; he is the king of heaven and earth. The evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, all agreed that when he was crucified, an inscription was written on his cross’s upper arm, “king of the Jews.” But today, we declare him not only as of the king of the Jews but the universal king. Jesus is the universal king who laid down his life for his subjects and rose the third day, he is the king who ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he is the king who will judge the living and the dead. Earthly kings fight and conquer nations, but Christ, the universal king, fought and conquered death forever. St. Paul tells us in our second reading this morning that Christ must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death.

The Church’s celebration today is a great one; our celebration today involves a public procession of praise to declare Jesus Christ, the universal king. Let those on the side of truth in faith join in this great procession. Like one of the thieves crucified with him on the cross, let us call on him to remember us in his kingdom. Let us proclaim to the world that Jesus is King, and may we let him reign in our lives forever and ever.