Homily delivered on the Feast of St Joseph for Gayndah community.

Year B 2021

Our Lord, Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

The title for today’s solemnity is grandiose to say the least. I watched a documentary on television one night during the week on how the universe came to be. On their calculations, the universe is vast beyond imagining. Twenty-three trillion galaxies of which our Milky Way galaxy with our planets orbiting the sun is one of the smaller ones. Todays solemnity proclaims that our Lord, Jesus Christ is king of all this. This is a fitting celebration for the end of the Church’s liturgical year.

What are we to make of this claim – King of the Universe - and this insight into who Christ is? While the psalms often hail the Lord as king robed in majesty, might and girded with power, Jesus in his days of ministry in Palestine fled from any attempt by the crowds to proclaim king. The thinking that motivated these desires was military and political. The people drawn to Jesus and his teaching about the coming of a kingdom, his healing, forgiveness and outreach to the marginalised wanted their country restored to them and their rulers and the Roman occupiers beaten and driven out. The kingdom announced by Jesus would be established by doing God’s will: “thy kingdom come, thy will be done” are the lines from the Lord’s prayer.

Jesus only acknowledges he is a king once. That acknowledgment (heard proclaimed just now in the gospel) is to a gentile and a Roman, Pontius Pilate. John, the evangelist, scotches the military version of Kingdom with the words that if Jesus was that sort of king, his troops would have prevented his being taken prisoner.

Jesus tries to open Pilate’s eyes to the kind of king he was born to be. He will conquer people, not by force of arms but by force of the truth. Here, he refers to truth about himself as the Word made flesh, truth about how human beings find the happiness which calls to them but which is elusive when they settle for possessions rather than the giver of all gifts, God.

Lawrence freeman, the Benedictine monk, who is the director of a global meditation community, attended COP 26 in Glasgow, and in his diary he wrote about language used of God which put God on the outside, turning the divine one into a potentate rather than reveal this one as a creating and loving power. Not that this power is coldly impersonal like the force of Star Wars film fame, but rather so personal that the revelation into the inner life of God has a face and a name and a family and disciples with names. This is the truth about the universe. This Christ , our Lord.

In the time of Jesus, there was one Lord and that was Caesar. That lord brought peace to the empire. The seemingly innocuous words “Christ, our Lord” were treasonable in the first century. Yet, as the disciples went out on mission, their proclamation of Jesus, his life, death and resurrection, was good news. People heard the words the disciples spoke then and now, they surrendered to them and found happiness and fulfilment. In making this act of faith, believers became subjects of the only king anyone can bow down to and not rise up less human but fully human.

What of all the other worlds in the countless galaxies which comprise the universe? If ever we develop the means to leave our home galaxy and explore further, pray that we have all surrendered to the truth that is Christ and walk the way that leads to life. Anyone we meet will also find themselves in loving God and those in any kind of need. They are the great commandments that govern the universe.

Fr Adrian