FEASTING ON THE WORD
"If you meditate on the Scriptures it will appear to you in its brilliant splendor." ―St. Pio of Pietrelcina
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe ( B )
Daniel 7:13-14 | Psalm 93:1, 1-2, 5 | Revelation 1:5-8 | John 18:33b-37
Our readings for The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe explains to us that the Lord Jesus is King because all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him, he delivers his people from oppression, and leads us to the fullness of truth.
Josefa, an elderly lady was well-known for her faith and for her boldness in talking about it. She would stand on her front porch and shout "Every knee will bow before Jesus!" Next door to her lived Ricardo, an atheist, who would get so angry at her proclamations he would shout, "There ain't no God!" Hard times set in on Josefa and she prayed for God to send her some provisions. She stood on her porch and shouted "Every knee will bow before Jesus!" I need food, I am having a hard time. Please Lord, send me groceries!" The next morning she went out on her porch and noted a large bag of groceries and shouted, "Every knee will bow before Jesus!" Ricardo jumped from behind a bush and said, "Aha! I told you there was no God. I bought those groceries myself, God didn't." Josefa started jumping up and down and clapping her hands and said, "Every knee will bow before Jesus! He not only sent me groceries, but He made the devil pay for them. Every knee will bow before Jesus!"
The Prophet Daniel was given a vision of Jesus Christ upon his ascension into heaven. Jesus often used the phrase “Son of Man ” when referring to himself in reference to this passage. In doing so, he was claiming to be the Messiah and Son of God to whom the Father had entrusted his eternal kingdom. Incidentally, when the disciples were gathered on the Mount of Ascension and saw Jesus go into heaven, they were viewing the event Daniel had prophesied from an earthly perspective. Daniel’s vision and Jesus’ Ascension are the same event seen from two different perspectives. What we learn from this passage is that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus Christ, and his kingdom is one that will never pass away.
Miriam died and was being given a tour of heaven when she saw her friend Gina driving a beautiful Mercedes. And she said, “This is great!” “Oh, yes,” St. Peter said, “your friend Gina was really generous on earth, we had a lot to work with. Your transportation up here depends on your generosity down there.” Then Peter gave her her new ride: A Toyota Vios. She said, “Wait a minute, she gets a Mercedes, I get a sedan?” “That’s right, it’s all we had to work with.” Miriam drove off in a huff. A week later Peter saw Miriam all smiles and said, “You feeling better now?” She said, “Yeah, I have ever since I saw our president go by on a skate board!”
Our second reading today from the Book of Revelation teaches that God delivers his faithful from all oppression. The passage was written to offer encouragement and consolation to its readers that forces of evil oppose God and oppress his people for now. But the Lord will overthrow these hostile powers once and for all, put an end to oppression and entrust the earth he created to his faithful to rule.
Perry the Platypus is one of my daughter's favorite kid show. You should definitely watch it. But wait...Do you know what a Platypus is? The Platypus, found only in Australia, is one of the rarest mammal species that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. Before it was widely known, many people thought the platypus was a made-up animal. When British explorers first went to Australia they found a mammal which laid eggs; spent some time in water, some on land; had a broad, flat tail, webbed feet, and a bill similar to a duck. Upon their return to England, they told the populace of this, and all felt it was a hoax. They returned to Australia and took a preserved platypus body back to England, but the people still judged it a fake, made of several animals sewn together. Truth is elusive to those who refuse to see with both eyes. In spite of the evidence, they disbelieved because they didn't want to believe. Yes, you guessed it right! A strain of fact-resistant, evidence-ignoring, history-revising species is something that already exists long in England before this era of misinformation and disinformation!
In the Gospel, Christ is being held by Pilate, who holds him in his power. When Pilate asked him, “Are you a king, then?” Jesus did not deny it. He was king specifically, but not in any way Pilate could have imagined. In what sense is Jesus a king? Jesus clarified, “For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.” It is not always easy to tell the truth. Sometimes it is easier for us to say something that is not true or to not say anything at all. Usually we lie when we feel trapped, scared of online bashing, punishment or rejection, feel threatened, or just think lying will make things easier for everyone. Our celebration today is about testifying to the truth. That is the kind of kingship Jesus exercises in the world and that he wants to exercise in us. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord. In Isaiah 5:20 the prophet counsels liars: "Woe to you who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter". The Book of Proverbs 19:9 sternly warns us that severe punishment awaits anyone who lies, "A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will perish". Our Lord reminds us today that truth is not determined by mere numbers, utility or personal preferences. It might sound cliché, but we are entitled to your own opinions, but not our own truth. There can be no truth apart from Jesus, the first and ultimate Truth. Insults and violence cannot change the inner reality of our person and the message of truth that we bear. Patient endurance of beatings and insults prepare ordinary people like you and me for an extraordinary destiny. He challenges us today to stand for truth and righteousness at all costs. That is what true royalty is about. May we be faithful witnesses to God’s truth in the world today. <enrique.ofs>
Jeff Jacinto, PhD, DHum