Sunday, November 25, 2018

Building God's Kingdom

Mosaic of Christ in Majesty, Washington, DC
I really enjoyed Thanksgiving. It's all about gratitude to God for our blessings, and about family and friends enjoying one another’s company.

Sunday we celebrated the feast of Christ the King, to whom we owe our ultimate allegiance, the image of the invisible God, the one through whom we have a relationship with the triune God.

Christ the King fits appropriately into the end of the liturgical year. The cycle begins with Advent, the hope for a Messiah, then Christmas with the Messiah’s birth, then the dying and rising of Jesus Christ at Easter, and finally, after Sundays in Ordinary Time, Jesus Christ comes again in great glory and power: Christ the King.

The word of God today takes us back to the 2nd century before Jesus. The author of the Book of Daniel wants to inspire hope in the Jews who suffered cruelties because of their faith in God. The author here describes a visionary experience at the end of human history. A mysterious “son of man,” comes upon the clouds of heaven. This figure goes before the throne of God, who brings about his reign through the kingship of this mysterious “son of man.” Christians saw in this figure Jesus Christ.

The Book of Revelation speaks to Christians who suffered cruelties because of their faith in God. Jesus re-established that relationship between God and us.

In the Gospel according to John, Pilate asks political questions. But Jesus turns the table, saying the term “kingdom” has to be understood differently. His kingdom is neither political nor despotic.
Jesus’s kingdom is at one and the same time within and beyond us. He challenges us to begin building this kingdom of truth and justice and love and freedom until he comes again in great glory and power.

Many people today cry out for freedom. The word has two facets: freedom from, and freedom for.

What we have been freed from is oppression or tyranny. The thirteen U. S. colonies, for example, rebelled against abuses of their rights and liberties. The civil rights movement in the 1960s protested a social system that condemned people because of color.

Christianity is all about freedom. God became one of us in Jesus to free us from all that keeps us from an authentic relationship with God, one another and the universe.

Yes, we are free so we can serve. All around us are people with hungers: for bread, for peace, for human rights, for justice. Only a society based upon truth, justice, love and freedom can satisfy these hungers and free us to become our true selves: human beings in authentic relationships with God and one another.

Christ the Shepherd-King call us to realize that among the many blessings we have from God is the gift to share God’s gifts with others. In doing so, we are building up the kingdom of God--a kingdom of truth and justice, love and freedom. May we always embody these virtues by doing all the good we can, by all the means we can, to all the people we can, as long as ever we can.

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