34TH SUNDAY (SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING) YEAR B ON NOVEMBER 21, 2021 (R.1: Daniel 7: 13- 14; Psalm 93: 1- 2, 5; R.2: Revelation 1: 5-8; Gospel: John 18: 33b- 37)
FR EMMANUEL INEDU OCHIGBO
THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA!
“You say 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.” Words of our Lord Jesus Christ taken from today’s gospel passage.
Today we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King, this feast was established in 1925 by Pope Pius the 11th as a response to secularism, a way of life which expels God from human thinking and living; human beings living as if God does not exist. The feast is intended to re-enthrone Christ and to proclaim in a striking and effective manner, the kingship of Christ over individuals, over families, over society, over government, the world, and the entire universe. Strategically, this solemnity is scheduled on the last Sunday of every liturgical year, which enables the solemnity to have two faces. One face looks forward and the other looks backward. In looking backward, the solemnity enables us to acknowledge the kingship of Christ over the preceding year, and in looking forward, it enables us to look up to Christ for the coming year.
In the second reading, we read that Jesus is the alpha, that is the first letter of the Greek Alphabet, and the Omega, that is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. He is the beginning and the end. We look backward to ask for pardon for those areas that we did not surrender all that we have and are to the Alpha and the Omega, and we look forward in hope having learned from our experience of the preceding year.
On this day, as we look backward and look upon him who has been pierced by our sins of the preceding year, we are sorrowful, at the same time we look ahead with hope to our future, healed of our weaknesses and wiser through our experiences. By our redemption through Jesus Christ, we belong to an everlasting reign that can neither be taken away nor destroyed. We look forward, to submit everything to the King of kings in the coming year for his glory, to the shame of the kingdom of darkness, for our sanctification, and for our salvation.
This celebration of Christ the King reminds us of the ephemeral nature of this world, it reminds us of the passing nature of this world. As one year is ending, a new year is beginning. So, conscious of the passing nature of this world, we are not to hold on to the things of this world for they will all pass away. If you are going through some challenging moments this day, do not be depressed, do not make any harmful decision, these too shall pass away. If things are going on so well for you now, I have good news for you, do not get too excited, these too shall pass away.
It is very interesting how at the beginning of elementary school, it seems like it will last forever, but in no time, we are done, and we are in the final year. Next to that, we are at the beginning of high school, and in no time, we are the most senior and just in another moment we’re at the beginning of college or university, and before we realize it again, we are graduating, yay!!! We feel on top of the world, only to get a job and be at the bottom of the ladder again. So goes the story until we finally come to share eternity with God.
The passing nature of this world brings to mind the frustration we face in our struggle to demystify the mystery behind the insatiability of human wants. We ask, “Why does satisfaction always look like a mirage? Why do we keep wanting and never satisfied?” Food, drinks, etc., promise satisfaction, but not long after consumption, we are hungry again, we are thirsty again. We even experience this in relationships, you have a crush on that lady, you have a crush on that man, and you continue to crave her/his attention, and when you eventually get it, you feel like, “this is my world!” But not long after you get on the same page, you begin to wonder, “Is this all the beauty/handsomeness/charm I saw at a distance?”
Scripture tells us that we are created in the image and likeness of God, and what we share with God is the fact that our souls are imperishable. Our souls have been created to be eternal and imperishable, as such, nothing that is perishable can satisfy that which is imperishable. Nothing that is temporary can satisfy that which is permanent. The origin of all our longing is the soul. The soul is eternal, and it can only be satisfied by that which is eternal. If God who is eternal is not in that food, in that drink, in that relationship, etc. we will never be satisfied. St. Augustin summarizes it this way, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
Remember, if we live in this world, nothing will last forever. Hold on to Christ the King who reigns eternally and all those who surrender to him as king will reign with him forever. In the end all will be well in him. According to John Lennon, “Everything will be OK in the end, if it is not OK, it is not the end.
The three readings of today, in different ways, point to the end of this world when Jesus Christ will reign in his glory. The readings are not meant to frighten us, they are not meant to scare us but to give us hope, because Jesus Christ the king wants each one of us to reign with him in his Kingdom, in his resurrection, in his ascension, and in his glory. Let us pray to God to grant us the grace in the coming year to become better Christians to reign with Jesus Christ the king at the end of our sojourn here on earth, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.