Homily for Sunday 21 November 2010
MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY, 21 NOVEMBER 2010 AT 11AM, FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING AND FOR THE FRIENDS OF CENTACARE.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. He guides us not from a throne and with power, but from the cross and with love.
It is this love of Jesus Christ who gave himself totally for others that has inspired Centacare and so many of its friends to bring the compassion of Christ to people regardless of race, nation, culture or place in society.
As we call to mind our sins let us ask the Lord that after his total self-giving we may be generous in seeking out and serving those who are burdened.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The anointing of David, king and ruler of Israel, has a striking contrast with the ridicule hurled at Jesus while he was on the cross. David was the ruler of God’s holy people in Israel. In a total paradox Jesus from the cross is the king and leader of God’s people, made new through baptism, but struggle through everyday life in their journey to eternity. Today’s feast then is one which is essentially realistic, which highlights that God has called his Son to win redemption for us through suffering and each of us by the use of our talents in the face of challenges and difficulties to make the world new.
All of this is possible because in the words of Saint Paul to the Colossians: “Jesus is the image of the unseen God, the firstborn of all creation, for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth. He is the head of the Church, was the first to be born from the dead because God wanted all perfection to be found through him and all things to be reconciled through him and for him, everything in heaven and everything on earth when he made peace by his death on the cross.” (Saint Paul, Colossians 1:12-20 Passim)
We adore Jesus in the Eucharist and on the cross because he is the one who overturns the total paradox of humanity. Where we look for power and influence we find nothing. In the midst of weakness and suffering we find our God going to the depth of what we have gone through in order that he might bring us life.
This feast of Christ the King is a moment when we realise that Jesus has gone before us in our sufferings and struggles, in our sisters and brothers to whom we reach out in their time of trial, but also it is the Jesus whom we recognise in love and faith, in the words of the good thief: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” This is a constant reminder of all that Jesus has invited us to do if we focus our lives on him and if his words and deeds shine in our minds and hearts and lives.
May Jesus teach us that in the darkness of suffering there is always light, in the confusion of human burden, there is always grace, and in the struggles that we have in our daily life there is always hope. Jesus is the king of the universe, the Lord of our hearts, the redeemer of our souls.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.