What would you like to search for?

Homilies - Bishop Brendan Leahy

Feast of Christ the King - Adare Parish

Year B: 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles, well known for his media work, commented last week that behind most of the blockbuster films—not that they’d ever admit it—is a version of the Gospel story: of a great hero laying down his life to save the whole of humanity. The latest James Bond film, No Time To Die, I’m told might be an example of that. 
Today is the Feast of Christ the King, the day we celebrate our great hero who is the Saviour of the World. Twice, in today’s Gospel, we find Pilate asking him: are you a king?  That dialogue with Pilate must have made a deep impression on the First Christians because he is the only person from that time, apart from Mary and Jesus, mentioned in the Creed we say every Sunday.
In responding to Pilate, Jesus is careful. It’s clear he does not have political ambitions in the narrow sense. We saw that after the multiplication of the loaves. The people were enthusiastic after seeing the miracle wanted to proclaim him king, to overturn the Roman power and re-establish the kingdom of Israel. But Jesus slipped away from them. For him, the kingdom is something else, and it is certainly not achieved by revolt, violence and the force of arms. This is why he withdrew alone to pray on the mount (cf. Jn 6:5-15). Now, in responding, he points out to Pilate that his disciples did not fight to defend Him. He says: “if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews” (Jn 18:36).
The Kingdom that Jesus wants to bring about is not of this world brought about by force but rather, as the Preface of today’s Mass puts it, it is ‘a kingdom of truth and life, holiness and grace, justice, love and peace.’ We saw what kind of king Jesus was at Easter when he humbled stooped to wash the feet of his disciples and on Good Friday laid down his life for humanity. Jesus’ Kingdom, which is not of this world, advances when, with God’s grace, we live service, truth, holiness, justice, love and peace. Often, this brings with it criticism or opposition on the part of others.
This Feast Day of Christ the King marks the end of the liturgical year. Next week we move into Advent. On this Sunday we are reminded that our world and all of creation is moving towards its ultimate goal when the Kingdom of God will be fulfilled in the encounter with Christ at the end of time. After all we’ve heard at Mass throughout this year, it’s as if now on this last Sunday of the liturgical year, there’s a question that summarises things: since we know who Jesus is and know where we’re heading, will you let Christ be the King of your heart and the King of Love living among us in our relationships in this world?
A particular time to live the attitudes of the Kingdom might be when you are criticised. Perhaps you are trying to do something good and right but make mistakes. Others criticise. I saw an example of that during the week. I was struck by how the person criticised listened well, accepted the criticisms humbly without trying to defend himself. He let the Truth enter into his life. The Kingdom progressed.