The Feast of Christ the King - The Homily

At St. Monica Parish, we say that we are “Called by Name; Gifted by God; Committed to Prayer; Driven to Serve… Abiding in Hope. If that is indeed the case, then we have a “mission” which leads to a “destiny.” But we can be pulled away from achieving our destiny. Traditionally, the three classic temptations pulling us from our destiny come from “the world, the flesh and the devil.” Another way of considering these temptations is:

  1. Distress (from a situation)
  2. Disintegration (found in people)
  3. Distraction (from sources of evil

Notice in Mark 4:35 ff, that the disciples ask Jesus a question about the “distressing situation“ in which they find themselves. “Are you not concerned? Don’t you know we’re going to drown? Why aren’t you doing anything about this?” Jesus does not immediately answer the questions nor address the distressing situation. He first rebukes the disciples for their lack of faith in him, then he rebukes the storm, thus addressing the distressing situation.

In Mark 9:14 ff, a man brings his possessed son to Jesus to be healed. The dad comes to the disciples and asks, “Can you heal my son?” Afterwards he approaches Jesus and, in effect says, “Why couldn’t your followers do anything to help my son? Can’t you do something about him?” Assessing the situation, Jesus, once again, does not answer the question nor heal the disintegrated person but, instead, rebukes the dad first (“Why have you let this go on so long?”) Then he exorcizes the demon allowing the boy to become an “integrated” person once again.

Notice the interaction between Jesus and Pilot in today’s Gospel. Pilot asks questions: “Are you the King of the Jews? So you are a king? Truth! What is that?” Pilot was distracted. He was concerned about Caesar, a pending riot, losing his power, losing his life, losing his money, his worried wife, his relationship with the Jews, etc… Then Pilot turns away before he can receive an answer from “The Truth.”

If we want to fulfill our destiny, we need to turn away from the “unholy trinity of “Distress - Disintegration – Distraction” and turn towards our mission and our Destiny.

  1. In place of Distress caused by a situation, focus on what is going well in your life. Where are the blessings occurring? What have you been doing that that you have found enjoyable and fun? Where is “it working?”
  2. Instead of dealing with Disintegrated People, who, in you life is blessing you? Who has been the “answer to your prayers” rather than the “cause of your prayers?” Who has been encouraging and uplifting in your life?
  3. Whenever you try and exercise some “self care,” either through a day off or vacation (taking care of the “Temple of the Holy spirit”) or a spiritual “Day of Reflection” or retreat, (taking care of your soul), you can guarantee two things:
    1. The devil (the source of evil) can’t stop you,
    2. But can distract you.

He will send every crazy situation, person, and circumstance to make you crazy, angry and frustrated. Double down on the prayer. Have others intercede for you. Most importantly, don’t focus on the distraction. Focus on where the Lord is blessing you! Where is an anointing? Where is your Destiny being fulfilled? Where do you see grace in abundance surrounding your mission?

Jesus’ conversation with Pilot would indicate that Christ’s kingdom is of a time and place not of this world - in the future, which is associated with the “Second Coming of Christ.” Nevertheless, according to St. Augustine,

Jesus ..

..did not say: “My kingdom is not in this world,” but “is not of this world.” Indeed, his kingdom is here until the end of time, and until the harvest it will contain weeds.

Thus, Christ’s kingdom is also those who believe in him, those to whom he said: “You are not of this world, even as I am not of this world.” What happens when the beatitudes are carried out by Christ’s disciples? Is that the “Kingdom” happening here and now?

Therefore, the destiny of the believer is the progressive defeat of the powers of evil and to be an instrument of the introduction of God’s grace into the world.

Scripture scholar John Pilch writes,

Sunday after Sunday, believers have heard Jesus’ witness to the truth in the Gospels and learned the power of its cultural impact in these reflections and in the homily. Jesus’ challenge to Pilate challenges modern believers as well: “Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.”

This also presents a challenge. Have you heard and responded to the voice of Jesus? Consider the results of the Willow Creek Church “Move” study where a significant number of regular church goers identified their faith journey as “Stalled” ( 13% at any time but 92% of all church goers have felt this way at some point in their life) or identified themselves as being “Dissatisfied” with their faith journey (18%).

Clearly, American believers cannot blindly imitate their Mediterranean ancestors in the faith. Only after grasping the cultural dimensions of their ancestors’ beliefs can Americans begin to translate and incarnate those insights into their own distinctive culture, Sunday by Sunday.


Audio version of the homily is here:







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