• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 22 November 2019 17:31

The Solemnity of Christ the King

Written by Fr Larry Nemer SVD

Fr Larry Nemer SVD 150

Our liturgical processions are often led by someone carrying the cross.  For most Christians today the cross probably signifies not only the love that God has for us but also the victory that Christ had over evil, even death itself.  But Christ on the cross has not always been seen that way throughout the Church’s history. 

For the first three hundred years after Christ’s death  Christians found the thought of Jesus dying as a criminal so shocking that they never wanted Him portrayed in that way.  It was a shameful way to die.  Instead in the catacombs He is portrayed as the Good Shepherd with a lamb on his shoulders.  The Romans often mocked the Christians by portraying Jesus as a pig hanging on a cross.

In the 16th century, the European Church had made the cross a symbol of victory and power and richly endowed the crucifix with gold and jewels.  But Matteo Ricci, the great Jesuit missionary to China who understood the language and culture of the Chinese so well that he wrote a book in classical Chinese that is still considered a classic told his catechumens about the way that Jesus died only after they had accepted His teachings.  He knew that if the Chinese began their lessons by hearing how Jesus died as a criminal in a shameful way on the Cross they would never have come back to hear more about Jesus. 

When Pope Pius XI instituted the feast of Christ the King in 1925 after World War I, after seeing the violence that nationalism had brought to the world, he wanted to remind Christians that their first allegiance was to their spiritual ruler in heaven, the “Prince of Peace”, as opposed to earthly leaders whose supremacy was built on violence, a desire for power, and oppression of others. It is a reminder to all Christians in today’s celebration that we must not only acknowledge that Christ the King is the primary authority we obey but also that we must recognise that we can best serve Christ in His Kingdom by walking the way that Jesus walked – the way of loving service, humility, and suffering if necessary.  We have a King that rejected violence and committed Himself to serving others in a most loving way by dying as a criminal on the cross.

Over the last four decades I have been learning that I must serve in His Kingdom not only by loving other people but by loving and serving all creation.  Already in the 5th century St. Cyril of Alexandria wrote of Christ’s Kingship, given to Him by His Father and not obtained by violence: “Christ has dominion over all creatures, a dominion not seized by violence nor usurped, but his by essence and by nature.”

I grew up in Chicago and animals were never part of my life.  As I got older I noticed that some people not only had a special relationship with various animals but also could be transported by the beauty of lakes, forests, and mountains while I hardly noticed them.  And so it came as a shock to me in 1988 while attending a Conference on the environment when I heard that Christ is the King of all creation and God loves all of creation.  Therefore I was being challenged to love all animals as God loves them and to love the gifts of all creation because they are gifts from a loving God.

This has been a whole new dimension that I am trying to make part of my spirituality.  Pope Francis’ encyclical  Laudato si” has challenged me to do this.  So have many recent theologians like Denis Edwards and Elizabeth Johnson.  They remind me that I must love the environment and so must be concerned about the damage being done to it.  And I, above all, must not “trash” God’s Kingdom.  I am starting slowly to learn that message

Hail, Christ the King of all creation.