Mass with the closing of the Holy Door on the Solemnity of Christ the King at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne
Sunday 20 November 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
More than eighty years ago Pope Pius XI taught that Jesus Christ is recognised as King because he is Son of God, the world’s Redeemer and he is God’s legislator and judge.
In modern, democratic society the concept of a king is unfamiliar and the acts of members of some royal families have not helped. But notice the inscription placed above the cross was, ‘This is the King of the Jews’.
Jesus, as a King, is not acceptable to everyone. He is a contradiction. He is a threat to the attitudes and values of the world, especially the powerful and the rich and influential. The fact that Jesus is a King challenges us to say where we stand. Is our allegiance in power or money or fame? Yet, we cannot serve Jesus with an undivided heart and cling to money, power or approval. Accepting Jesus as King means accepting suffering, crucifixion and being open to the self-emptying, which is transformation into his life. That loyalty has to be clear in all that we are and do. Every word, every choice should reflect it and extend the kingdom of the one we love.
I love Jesus because he is my God. He has given me life. He has called me to do certain things. He has supported me and never deserts me and he is my God, present in the Eucharist, strengthening me at every stage of the journey.
Saint Paul put it beautifully; “He is the image of the unseen God and the first-born of all creation. He is the beginning. He should be first in every way.”
Today’s feast, therefore, is a meeting with Christ in the Eucharist. This year the Pope has stressed that meeting with Christ and searching our hearts so that we are one with him, praying with him in his presence, all have a purpose because his one desire, expressed in Saint John’s Gospel, was that people might have life and have it to the full.
We are invited to examine our stance; Is Jesus our Lord and Saviour? Do we proclaim with truth, articulateness and love a God, who is a real person, sharing our nature, calling us to go beyond through the events of daily life, knowing that he will support us? Jesus is the Lord; his name is holy, his name, his love and truth are in our hearts, in our deeds and in our life.
Pope Francis has been constant in reminding us that we have been the recipients of mercy and that the legacy of this Year of Mercy is that we become the instruments of mercy, accompaniment, patience, grace and love for our sisters and brothers. So often it is our lack of readiness to walk with people as they are, because they do not conform to our expectations, that weakens the witness to mercy that we are able to give. From Pope to peasant, from Archbishop to infant, we are all sinners. We need the mercy of God and this has been given abundantly. What a wonderful thing that we are forgiven, what a wonderful thing that we are called into Christ’s kingdom of truth and life.
May this be so, now and always, as we celebrate this great feast remembering suffering, death, leading to resurrection at the end of one Church year going on to a new unfolding of the hope that only God can give.