November 19-20: Preparing to Celebrate Sunday’s Mass

We arrive at the end of the Church Year this weekend and we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. The Kingship of Christ is not political, it has no borders, and it has no respect for whatever is “national.” Instead, Christ’s Kingship aims at a special kind of justice, not based on human laws, but to help and protect the weak, the poor, and the defenseless.

As we celebrate the Mass this weekend, let’s pay special attention to how the authorities in Jesus’ day were at a loss to face His moral power. Their reaction was to strike out blindly, to try to crush His supposed threat to their power. In order to remedy the leaders’ waywardness, their practice of injustice, and all the trampling underfoot that the Romans engaged in, a fresh start was needed. That fresh start was something that Jesus wanted to bring, ultimately through the complete sacrifice of Himself on the Cross.

Be sure to read Luke 23, 35-43 before coming to Mass. Then ask yourself: why did the Church choose this Gospel for today’s Feast of Christ the King? Why not a passage that portrays Jesus like the popular image we have of “royalty?” Because no such passage exists in the Bible! In contrast to popular notions of “the royals,” those who see power as a way to control people or ensure wealth or comfort, Jesus exercised His kingly power through serving His people – up to and including His self-offering on the Cross.

Jesus, our King, changed human hearts and minds, not by using brute force, but by loving fully and without conditions. On the Cross, He may have seemed to the world to be far from “kingly” and completely powerless. But His death on that Cross turned out to be the most powerful thing He could have done: He changed the course of human history! And He is continuing His work today by changing us – little by little. Let us praise and thank our King, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

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