| DEAR FRIEND IN CHRIST, DUE TO MY PREACHING COMMITMENTS IN THE UAE FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH (9TH NOVEMBER TILL THE FIRST WEEK OF DECEMBER – 2009) A FEW HOMILIES MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE ON THE HOMILY PAGE. THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING. GOD BLESS.
FR. RUDOLF V. D’SOUZA OCD
CHRIST THE KING – 2009
Once upon a time there was a childless King who wanted to choose a worthy successor to his throne after he passed away.
He called all the young children in his kingdom to his palace one day and said: “It has come time for me to choose the next King. I have decided to choose one of you as my successor, as my Crown Prince, and groom you to be the King after I am gone.”
The amazed children listened spellbound as the King spoke: “I am going to give each one of you a seed today – Just One Seed. It is a very special seed. I want you all to go home, plant the seed, water it, nurture it, and come back here to me exactly one year from today with the plant you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring to me and whoever grows the best plant will be the Crown Prince, the next King after me.”
There was one small shy boy who was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed from the King.
He went home and excitedly told his mother the whole story.
She helped him get a pot and some planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it regularly and nurtured it carefully.
Twice every day, in the morning and in the evening, the small shy boy would water the seed lovingly and watch to see if it had germinated and grown.
After a few days, some of the other children began to talk about their seeds and the lovely plants that were beginning to grow, but the small shy boy kept going home and checking his seed, disappointed that nothing was growing from his seed.
Days passed, then weeks, and months, but still there was no sign of a plant growing from the small shy boy’s seed. But the small boy still kept lovingly watering his seed regularly hoping that it would germinate.
By now the others were talking about their wonderful healthy plants but small shy boy didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure, but he kept persevering and nurturing his seed with love and dedication in the optimistic hope that his seed would someday sprout a plant.
Six months went by and there was still no sign of a plant in the small shy boy’s pot.
Everyone else had exquisite tall plants, but he had nothing to show.
Inwardly he feared that maybe he had killed his seed but the small shy boy didn’t say anything to his friends and kept on tenderly watering and nurturing his seed with dogged determination and doting devotion in the fond hope that his seed would grow and blossom into a beautiful plant.
Finally, one year passed, and all the children of the kingdom brought their plants to the King for inspection.
The small shy boy was scared and did not want to take his desolate plant-less pot with just the soil and seed to the King, but his mother encouraged him to go, to take his pot with him, and to be honest about everything.
The small shy boy felt fearful and nervous, but he listened to his mother and took his barren pot to the King.
When the small shy boy arrived at the King’s Palace, he was astonished to see the variety of beautiful and exotic plants grown by all the other children.
Totally crestfallen, the small shy boy put his desolate pot on the floor and everyone jeered in derision and mocked him. A few children felt pity for him and tried to console the small shy boy.
Suddenly the King arrived, looked around the hall appraising the plants and showered words of praise to the gathered children: “It is really amazing – you all have really grown fantastic beautiful plants, trees and flowers. I am truly impressed. Today, one of you is going to be selected as the Crown Prince to be the next King!”
The small shy boy shivered with tremors of trepidation and overcome with shame tried to hide in the back.
The King’s eyes searched all over and suddenly he saw the small shy boy at the back of the hall with his barren pot.
The King ordered his guards to bring him in front of the throne The small shy boy was terrified. “When the King sees my pot, how badly I have failed in the task he gave me, he is sure to punish me!”
Seeing how frightened the small shy boy was, the King stepped down from his throne, walked down towards the petrified boy, lovingly put his hand on the small shy boy’s shoulders and announced: “This boy is your new King!”
The small shy boy could not believe his ears – it was unbelievable that the King should select a failure and loser like him who couldn’t even sprout his seed be the Crown Prince.
The King escorted the small shy boy to the throne and said to everyone: “One year ago I gave all of you a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But what you did not know is that I gave you all boiled seeds that would not grow. Except this honest boy, all of you have brought me beautiful plants with exotic flowers and even trees with fruit. When you found out that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. This boy was the only one with the sincerity to nurture the barren seed for one whole year with dedication, hope and perseverance and had the courage and honesty to bring me the desolate pot with my seed in it. Therefore, I select him as my Crown Prince to be the next King!”
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels of heaven, he will sit upon his royal throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him.” (Mt 25) We worship Jesus Christ as Lord and King because he is victorious in the battle over sin and death. In His resurrection, which we celebrate and in which we participate at every Eucharistic Sacrifice, our Lord established His rule over all creation, and overcame in Himself the effects of the sin of Adam. Christ is Lord, for he has conquered what we fear most and have no power against, the cruel and bitter specter of death. We cannot but exult and shout for joy with the knowledge that we can share in His Resurrection. We share in the Resurrection in the first place by meeting Christ in the liturgy, in Word and Sacrament. The Christ we receive in the Eucharist is the Easter Christ, the risen and glorified Christ as he is now victoriously seated at the right hand of the Father in glory.
The lesson of the final judgment in St. Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 25, verses thirty-one to forty-six, makes clear that we are to seek out and to meet Christ wherever he may be found, in a particular way in human life in all its stages and conditions. “Truly, I say to you, as you did it one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” (Mt 25:40)
The Lord associates himself in a mysterious way with the poor. We may have great reverence for His true and real presence in the Blessed Sacrament, and are called to love him with our whole heart, mind soul and strength. Yet, we cannot please God or love Him as we ought if we fail to love our neighbor as our self, doing so for love of Christ. The divine love and life poured out abundantly in the Eucharist is given both for love of God and love of neighbor.
The Catechism teaches that the requirement of charity for our neighbor flows from the presence of Christ by the power of his word and the Holy Spirit.
‘Christ Jesus who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us,’ is present in many ways to his Church: (Rom 8:34) in his word, in his Church’s prayer, ‘where two or three are gathered in my name,’ (Mt 18:20) in the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned, (Mt 25:31-46) in the sacraments of which he is the author, in the sacrifice of the Mass, and in the person of the minister. But ‘he is present…most especially in the Eucharistic species’. (CCC 1373)
Our Lord Jesus has given His Body and Blood to us precisely so that we may overflow with the same love for others that he has first given to us. It is for this reason that he will judge us at the end of the world on the ways in which we have generously and self-sacrificingly offered ourselves for the life of others in imitation of the way in which He gives of His own life unceasingly for His bride, the Church.
It is fashionable today to take up such causes as feeding the hungry, building shelter for the homeless, clothing the naked, giving drink to the thirsty. These are good and necessary, and a sign that Christ is at work among many men and women of good will. There remain, however, the many who are neglected, abandoned, whose lives are threatened. The Christian will be praised for feeding, clothing and helping the poor, for being with the lonely. These are good works and they must be taken up by the Christian community together with all men and women of good will. The Christian, however, is condemned and attacked for recognizing that these works of charity should also be extended to the confused and rejected young mother, to the unborn child, to the terminally ill, and to all those whose lives are determined to be not worth living.
The kingdom of Christ, a reign of charity and peace, is for all. The Lord sends us out as his disciples so that all mankind may be brought under his reign in the world. We the baptized are the agents through whom the social kingship of Christ will be realized. Our baptism is our commission and our grace for the apostolate.
Today after Mass, with others or with the whole congregation and with priest or deacon leading, pray together the “Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus”, in petition that “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”