for Sunday, November 25, 2012
Although there are few kings or queens left in the modern world, we still
understand the idea of kingship somewhat. For earlier peoples, the king
was the center of civil life, of decisions, of life and death and of
everything important in his realm. Our Jewish ancestors asked to have a
king so that they could be like other nations. God did not want to give
them a king, but finally gave in to them. This simplifies the history of
our Jewish ancestors but helps us understand a bit the idea of kingship.
Jesus denies that he is this kind of king. He tells us in the Gospel today
that he is a king, but not the type of king of this world. His kingdom is
not here, but is in the world to come. Because His kingdom is not of this
world, no one can destroy it.
The first aspect of the kingdom of Jesus in the Gospel today is truth. We
must be committed to seeking the truth. This is not easy in a world that
puts pleasure and power and possessions as the primary truths. Instead,
Jesus always tells us that there is an inner truth: the plan of God for
our lives. Jesus describes this as the will of His Father. Jesus Himself
tells us that He only does the will of the Father.
The Book of Daniel speaks in symbols about this kingdom. This book gives
us a vision of life after death, but in symbols and images. The kingdom of
God will be when everyone acknowledges God and does God's will, just as
Jesus does. Today, we want to believe that our will is more important. We
humans continue to seek what we want instead of seeking what God wants.
This is true in all of salvation history and is not new to our times.
What is new today is that more and more people no longer believe in God and
that there is a strong focus today to reshape our world so that what we
want becomes god. We humans now believe that we are the ones who decide
what is right and wrong, according to our own terms. This is not God's
kingdom, but a false kingdom.
The Book of Revelation today speaks of Jesus as the firstborn of the dead,
the witness, the ruler of all kings and one who is making us into His
kingdom. This is the heart of today's teaching: will we follow Jesus
Christ and belong to His kingdom?
To do that, according to the New Testament, the scriptures accepted by
Christians, we must walk the way of the Cross as He did. We must accept
His teachings about how to live. We must accept the whole of the
Scriptures as the inspired Word of God. We must be part of the Church
which he established. We must seek for the truth which He gives us.
Do we want to be part of the kingdom? Do we acknowledge Christ as our
king? Do we accept the truths which He gives to us in His Church? If we
do, we will suffer. More and more in the present age, we are called to
suffer as we follow Christ. The readings all tell us this: have courage:
you will suffer in this world, but you will belong to Christ forever and
rejoice with him in the kingdom.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Daniel 7.13-14
Second Reading: Revelation 1.5-8
Gospel: John 18.33b-37
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: