Fr. Roger J. Landry
Channel 6 (Providence) Sunday Television Mass
Bishop Stang Chapel, Dartmouth, MA Christ the King, Year B
November 23, 2003
Dn 7:13-14; Rev1:5-8; Jn 18:33-37
1) Today with the whole Church we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King, which is the end of the Church’s liturgical year. Next week is “New Year’s Day” in the Church, the first Sunday of Advent. This Church gives us this feast of Christ the King because what we mark today is the culmination of everything we have been discussing over the course of the past 51 weeks, all of which has been geared toward the conclusion, toward the fact, that Jesus Christ is truly King of the Universe. This is a FACT, whether we recognize it or not. Whether 51% of the electorate would elect him as King of the Universe, it doesn’t change the fact that he is. And certainly at the end of the time, when the Lord comes in all his glory to judge the living and the dead, that fact will be apparent to all. We celebrate this feast with great joy, because we, by God’s grace, KNOW this reality, that our King is our Good Shepherd who loved us so much that he laid down his life for us. But knowing this reality is not enough.
2) If Christ is truly King of the Universe — and he is! — then Christ is and must be King of this World. If Christ is really King of this world — and he is! — then he must be King of my life. And if Christ is really King of my life — is he? — then he must be King of every part of my life. I must let him reign in all parts of my life, if he is truly my Lord, my God, my King. So this feast is a great day to ask ourselves whether Christ is truly King of our lives, whether he rules everywhere. If he’s king of my life, then he should be king of my time. If he’s king of my life, then he should be king of my wallet. If he’s king of my life, every one of my moral decisions must be geared toward living in his kingdom. In every moral decision we face, there’s a choice between Christ the King and Barabbas and the one who seeks to live in His kingdom is the one that says, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
3) Knowing that Christ is King is not enough. It’s LIVING in his kingdom. And that kingdom is a kingdom where truth reigns. Jesus summarizes his mission in today’s Gospel. After Pontius Pilate asked him, “Are you a king?”, the Lord replied, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Jesus came to give witness to the truth; to the truth about God and his love; to the truth about us, who we are and who we called to be.
4) One of the truths about God and about us to which Jesus came to give witness is the truth about marriage. Jesus said, quite clearly, “In the beginning God made them male and female. For this reason a man leaves his mother and father and clings to his wife and they become one flesh. What God has joined man must not divide.” In the beginning, God made the human person — male and female — and he then joined them, male and female, in marriage. Marriage, which is part of God’s plan from the beginning, is a union of a male and a female. There’s great meaning to the fact that God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, because God doesn’t do things by chance.
5) The 4-3 decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court this week to try to change God’s plan for marriage to the union of two males or two females is an offense to the Creator, to our society, and to the human person. The Court can try to change the definition of marriage, but it can never change the truth about things, especially the truth about how God has made the human person. And any time we go against God’s plan, we go against our very nature, and we’re the ones who will end up dramatically hurting ourselves. This attempted change will end up doing damage to individual men and women with same-sex attractions, to any children they attempt to raise and to all of society, because gay marriage is built on a LIE about the human person, one which says that we determine the meaning of love, marriage and sexuality, rather than God.
6) Jesus came to give witness to the truth, and as he says, “everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Now is the time for those who hear his voice to stand up in witness to the truth. Edmund Burke once said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” That’s why, my good people at home, on behalf of Christ, I’m asking you to do something. Call your friends. Write your legislators. Tell them if they vote to overturn the truth about marriage that they don’t represent you and will never again get your vote. Don’t give in to the temptation to think, “What good can I do to change things?” Remember the story about the little boy with five loaves and two fish. Little did he know that the Lord would multiply his gift to feed thousands. You can make a difference. Ultimately Christ came to give us life as a witness to the truth and he says to us, again today, “follow me.” On the feast of Christ the King, may he reign fully within us, and inspire us to LIVE the truth, the only truth that will set us and others free.”