My Brothers  & Sisters in Christ,

On this last Sunday in the Liturgical Year we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. What is this Kingdom, this Kingdom of God? We hear and read this expression many times and seldom stop to think what it really means. The Kingdom of God is described for us in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis. It is a kingdom of holiness, justice and peace. Man is the Lord and Steward of this creation. Made in the image of God, man has an intellect and free will and is at peace with God, with himself and with all of creation. But this creation is short-lived. Man is not satisfied he wants to be like God and so exercises this absolute independence and is banished from the Kingdom.

In the fullness of time God sends his only Son, Jesus Christ to restore and usher in anew the Kingdom of God, a kingdom which is not of this world. The kingdom begins in this world but finds it completion in the next world. Since this Kingdom of God is not of this world Jesus describes it in worldly images, in parables. Since we know spiritual things indirectly through our knowledge of material things the parable goes from the known to the unknown, from the material to the spiritual. The parable is a story describing some ordinary occurrence. But it is a story that is told to convey to the hearer a higher, spiritual truth. In other words it is an “earthly story with a heavenly ending.” It is this heavenly ending which is the real meaning the teacher intends.

Some parables of the Kingdom: The sower and the seed (Matt.13:3-23) the mustard seed (Matt. 13:31-32) the growing seed (Mark 4:26-29) the wheat and the weeds (Matt. 13:24-30) the pearl of great price (Matt. 13:45-46) the unforgiving servant (Matt. 18:23-35) the workers in the vineyard(Matt. 20:1-16) the wedding feast (Matt. 22:2-14) the rich fool (Luke 12:16-21) the prodigal son. (Luke 15:11-30)Jesus is the King of this Kingdom. But He is a most unusual King; he is a crucified King. And from his royal throne on the cross he extends his royal invitation to his subjects. “If anyone will come after me he must pick up his cross daily and follow me.” In Baptism we have accepted this invitation. There are no states in this Kingdom that are more perfect than any other. Everyone is called to reach the potential that he has been given. It is a most unusual kingdom. The greatest in the Kingdom are the childlike. The weak conquer the strong, the foolish confound the wise and a camel gets through the eye of a needle, we add by subtracting and multiply by dividing because nothing is impossible with God.

In the Kingdom of God there is only one law, the law of love. “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend of these two commandments.” (Matt 22: 37-40) Jesus identified the neighbor as the one in need and said that we love the neighbor by doing to him what we would wish him to do for us. Whatever we do for the neighbor he takes as having been done to himself.

In the Kingdom of God there is only one banquet, the Eucharist, which is a foretaste of the feast we will share in the next life. The King said that we are to do this in memory of him. This banquet is a memorial of the Parousia. It reminds us that Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. It reminds us that this life is not the ultimate value. Paul, “If our hope is only in this life we are the most miserable of all.” We are waiting in joyful hope for the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ. We do not hold on to this life too tightly. We take it as a gift. We enjoy it and cherish it while we have it and we let go gracefully and thankfully when the time come. The gift of life is great but the Giver of life is greater still and in Him is a life that never ends.

The proclamation of the coming of the Kingdom dominated the preaching and teaching of Jesus and also of his apostles. Now the proclamation of the Gospel has been passed on to us. And we proclaim the coming of the Kingdom not so much in words as in our lives. We proclaim it by our peace, love and joy. We express our gratitude for being called to be a citizen of this Kingdom by being happy, happy to be me. We proclaim the coming of the Kingdom by “earthy mysticism,” by living an ordinary earthly existence while “keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.”

Coming to our lives, We need to recognize and appreciate Christ’s presence within us and surrender our lives to Christ’s rule: Since Christ, our King, lives in our hearts with the Holy Spirit and His Heavenly Father and fills our souls with His grace, we need to learn to live in His Holy Presence and do God’s will by sharing His forgiving love with others around us. Being aware of His presence in the Bible, in the Sacraments and in the worshipping community we need to listen and talk to Him. And we need to accept Jesus Christ as the King of love. Jesus came to proclaim to all of us the Good News of God’s love and salvation, gave us His new commandment of love: “Love one another as I have loved you,” (John 13:34), and demonstrated that love by dying for us sinners. We accept Jesus as our King of love when we love others as Jesus loved, unconditionally, sacrificially and with agape love.

May God Bless You all.

Posted in Messages from Fr. Vinner