Feast of Christ the King of the Universe, Homily 2020

Updated: Mar 29

There's a story about a young girl who asks her mother how life came to be on the earth her mother smiled and told her the story of the Garden of Eden and how Adam and Eve’s children filled the earth. She was a smart girl she decided to ask her father the same question. Her father’s answer was a bit different, he said, “Well honey millions and millions of years ago single cell aquatic organisms crawled from a pool of slime and evolved into the people we are today.” The girl went to her mother and said, “Mom I'm confused. You tell me that God created us in the garden of Eden and dad tells me I came from a pool of slime, which one is true? Her mother said, “Oh honey that’s simple; I'm talking about my side of the family dad is talking about his.

It’s interesting how powerful the perspective and the imagery are and how far apart the two explanations seem to be. We will talk about that sort of distinction a little further into the homily. Without taking anything away from dad, you have to ask yourself, “which explanation brings us closer to an understanding of our relationship to God”? For the homily today, we’re going to stick with mom's version.

Today, in the first reading, the Prophet Ezekiel is speaking of God’s intimate actions to save and restore. “I myself” or “I will” is mentioned 10 times in the 5 verses of the first reading. The restoration of God’s people is a deeply personal and willful action on God’s part. “I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, I will seek out, I will bring back, I will heal…”

The 23rd Psalm serves to amplify the words of Ezekiel:

Beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul.

God guides me in right paths God spreads the table before me

God anoints my head with oil…

And from this series of deeply personal statements in the first reading and the Psalms comes a very powerful message - the source of ultimate goodness is outside-in not inside-out!

And the first two readings each bring us powerful images that tend to challenge the current world view – a world view which values independence and self-reliance (sort of inside-out) over any sort of collective identity based on recognition of a need for savior any sort of interpersonal covenant with the Divine.

One of the fundamental aspects of our covenant relationship with God is that we are gathered by God to build a kingdom. As outmoded as a ‘kingdom’ might seem for a form of civil government, it is the best descriptor in human experience for God’s government. St. Paul reminds us that, “at the end Christ hands over the kingdom to God his Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. Today’s celebration of Christ, King of the Universe reminds us that not only as individuals, but also as a People, we are subject to his laws. God’s laws are the binding force of all that is good. All forms of government by man are temporary, imperfect, and subject to change.