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Monsignor Yennock on Christ the King - Homily from November 26, 2017

Nov 29, 2017

SOLEMNITY JESUS CHRIST KING OF THE UNIVERSE

NOVEMBER 26, 2017

 

H.G. WELLS A RENOWNED AUTHOR OF THE 19TH CENTURY WROTE, “CHRIST IS THE MOST UNIQUE PERSON OF HISTORY. NO MAN CAN WRITE A HISTORY OF THE HUMAN RACE WITHOUT GIVING FIRST AND FOREMOST PLACE TO THE PENNILESS TEACHER OF NAZARETH.”

 

RABBI STEPHEN WISE SAID THIS CONCERNING JESUS, “YOU WILL FIND THAT HE IS DIVINELY HUMAN. IT IS NO MEAN JOY TO US OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL TO RECOGNIZE, TO HONOR AND TO CHERISH AMONG OUR BRETHREN, JESUS THE JEW, WHO HAS INFLUENCED THE WORLD MORE THAN ANY OTHER MAN.”

 

“THIS PERSON CALLED JESUS LIVED ON EARTH FOR ONLY 33 YEARS. HE NEVER TRAVELED MORE THAN 100 MILES FROM HIS HOME. YET CHARLES LAMB WAS RIGHT IN SAYING, ‘IF ALL THE ILLUSTRIOUS MEN OF HISTORY WERE GATHERED TOGETHER AND SHAKESPEARE SHOULD ENTER THEIR PRESENCE, THEY WOULD RISE TO DO HIM HONOR; BUT IF JESUS CHRIST SHOULD COME IN, THEY WOULD FALL DOWN AND WORSHIP HIM.’”

 

NAPOLEON BONAPARTE SAID THIS ABOUT JESUS: “ALEXANDER THE GREAT, CAESAR, CHARLEMAGNE, AND MYSELF FOUNDED EMPIRES; BUT UPON WHAT FOUNDATION DID WE REST THE CREATIONS OF OUR GENIUS? UPON FORCE. JESUS CHRIST FOUNDED AN EMPIRE UPON LOVE; AND AT THIS HOUR MILLIONS OF MEN WOULD DIE FOR HIM.”  Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires; but what foundation did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded an empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.

ANOTHER WRITER SAYS: "TO THE ARTIST HE IS THE ONE ALTOGETHER LOVELY, AND TO THE EDUCATOR HE IS THE MASTER TEACHER. TO THE PHILOSOPHER HE IS THE WISDOM OF GOD, AND TO THE LONELY HE IS A BROTHER; TO THE SORROWFUL, A COMFORTER. TO THE BEREAVED HE IS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE. AND TO THE SINNER HE IS THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN FROM THE WORLD."

MAHATMA GANDHI SAID THIS: “I LIKE YOUR CHRIST, I DO NOT LIKE YOUR CHRISTIANS. YOUR CHRISTIANS ARE SO UNLIKE YOUR CHRIST.

THESE WORDS OF A NON-CHRISTIAN MYSTIC CHALLENGE ALL CHRISTIANS TO LIVE UP TO THE FEAST THAT WE CELEBRATE TODAY.

 

TODAY IS THE FEAST OF THE SOLEMNITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST THE KING OF THE UNIVERSE.

 

TWO THOUSAND YEARS AFTER HE LIVED ON THE EARTH THE CENTURIES THEMSELVES ARE MEASURED FROM HIS BIRTH. AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR 2000, CALENDARS IN INDIA, AND CHINA, LIKE THOSE IN EUROPE, THE AMERICAS AND THE MIDDLE EAST, REGISTERED THE DAWN OF THE THIRD MILLENNIUM FROM THE TIME OF JESUS BIRTH. FOR CHRISTIANS, JESUS IS THE HINGE ON WHICH THE DOOR OF HISTORY SWINGS.

 

JESUS IS THE DOMINANT FIGURE OF WESTERN CULTURE. MORE THAN TWO BILLION OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION CLAIM TO BE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS CHRIST. MUCH OF WHAT WE NOW THINK OF AS WESTERN IDEAS, INVENTIONS, EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND MORAL VALUES FIND THEIR SOURCE AND INSPIRATION IN THE RELIGION THAT WORSHIPS GOD IN JESUS NAME.

 

JESUS HAS SHAPED THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT GOD.JESUS’ TEACHING ABOUT GOD REMAINS UNIQUE AMONG WORLD RELIGIONS. NO LONGER DO WE THINK OF GOD AS BEING REMOTE FROM US. JESUS TAUGHT THE DISCIPLES THAT GOD IS AS CLOSE TO US AS OUR FATHER. JESUS GAVE NEW MEANING TO COMMUNITY OF LIFE AND LOVE IN MARRIAGE WHEN HE TAUGHT US ABOUT THE COMMUNITY OF LIFE AND LOVE IN THE HOLY TRINITY.

 

RECENTLY, A SOCIOLOGIST SAID THAT JESUS HIGHLIGHTED THE INDIVIDUAL FOR US. THE INDIVIDUAL IN THE ANCIENT WORLD, WAS ABSORBED INTO FAMILIES AND TRIBES AND NATIONS. THE GOSPELS SHOW US A JESUS WHO WORKS ONE ON ONE WITH PEOPLE. HE HEALS THIS WOMAN'S SICKNESS, HE FORGIVES THE SINS OF THIS MAN ON THE CROSS. HE RAISES TO LIFE THE SON OF THIS WIDOW; HE HEALS THE SERVANT OF THIS CENTURIAN.

 

 

 

CHRISTIANITY INFLUENCED OUR IDEAS ABOUT EVERY FACET OF OUR LIFE ON EARTH. ART AND SCIENCE, THE INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY, POLITICS AND ECONOMICS, MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY, RIGHT AND WRONG, BODY AND SOUL. JESUS CHRIST HAS GIVEN US A WAY TO THINK ABOUT EVERYTHING.

 

THE INITIAL IMPACT OF CHRISTIANITY ON THE ANCIENT GRECO-ROMAN WORLD PRODUCED SHOCK WAVES THAT CONTINUED TO REGISTER LONG AFTER THE ROMAN EMPIRE DISAPPEARED.

 

CHRISTIANITY'S APPEAL TO WOMEN WAS ONE OF THE REASONS FOR ITS RAPID SPREAD. THE NEW RELIGION OFFERED WOMEN NOT ONLY GREATER STATUS AND INFLUENCE WITHIN THE CHURCH BUT ALSO MORE PROTECTION AS WIVES AND MOTHERS.

 

IN ROMAN SOCIETY, WOMEN WERE REGARDED AS INFERIOR TO MEN. HUSBANDS COULD DIVORCE THEIR WIVES BUT WIVES COULD NOT DIVORCE THEIR HUSBANDS. THERE WERE OTHER RESTRICTIONS ON THE FREEDOM OF WOMEN. JESUS CHALLENGED THESE ARRANGEMENTS AND ATTITUDES. JESUS READILY ACCEPTED WOMEN INTO HIS CIRCLE OF FRIENDS AND DISCIPLES.  HE ALSO BANNED DIVORCE WHERE WOMEN USUALLY SUFFERED MORE THAN MEN. THE EARLY CHURCH FOLLOWED JESUS EXAMPLE IN STRIVING TO REMOVE EQUALITY DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN JEW AND GREEK, SLAVE AND FREEDMEN, MALE AND FEMALE. 

 

CHRISTIANITY ALSO PROTECTED CHILDREN FROM THE WHIMS OF TYRANNICAL FATHERS.  UNDER ROMAN LAW, FATHERS COULD, AND OFTEN DID, COMMIT INFANTICIDE. FEMALE BABIES WERE ESPECIALLY VULNERABLE BECAUSE THEY WERE CONSIDERED NOTHING BUT AN EXPENSE.

 

CHRISTIANITY GAVE US A NEW WAY TO THINK ABOUT ALL THAT.

 

COMPARE CHRISTIAN TEACHING WITH WHAT IS HAPPENING IN CHINA TODAY. COMPARE CHRISTIAN TEACHING WITH PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION.CHRISTIANS OPPOSED ABORTION FROM THE BEGINNING, DEFENDING BOTH MOTHER AND CHILD FROM BARBAROUS PROCEDURES THAT OFTEN LEFT WOMEN EITHER DEAD OR STERILE.

 

THE TEACHING OF JESUS RESCUED WOMEN AND CHILDREN FROM PAGAN ATROCITIES.THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT ALL OF THESE ISSUES HAS BEEN RADICALLY TRANSFORMED BY CHRISTIAN INFLUENCE.

 

THE LIFE AND TEACHING OF JESUS PUT A NEW FACE ON SUFFERING AND DEATH.FOR THE ROMANS SUFFERING WAS PATHETIC. IT HAD NO REDEEMING QUALITIES. IT WAS TO BE AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS. SUICIDE WAS COMMON.

 

THE CROSS, THE SIGN OF THE NEW RELIGION PUT A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON HUMAN SUFFERING.FOR THE CHRISTIAN SUFFERING WAS NOBLE, AND EVEN HEROIC WHEN ACCEPTED IN IMITATION OF THE CRUCIFIED CHRIST.

 

THE RESURECTION OF JESUS FROM THE DEAD GAVE NEW HOPE THAT THERE WAS LIFE AFTER DEATH.   

 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE TOLD HIS DISICPLES TO GO INTO THE WHOLE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOOD NEWS.

 

CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES IN EUROPE FROM THE 16TH TO THE 19TH CENTURIES WENT OUT TO ASIA, AFRICA, AND THE AMERICAS.  THEY DEVELOPED WRITTEN LANGUAGES FOR MANY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ENABLING THEM TO PRESERVE THEIR CULTURES. THE MISSIONARIES ALSO ESTABLISHED COUNTLESS SCHOOLS, AND HOSPITALS BRINGING LITERACY AND MODERN MEDICINE TO THOSE THAT THEIR OWN LEADERS IGNORED.

 

FOLLOWING THE MANDATE OF CHRIST THE KING, THE DISCIPLES OF JESUS CHRIST EVENTUALLY DEVELOPED A WHOLE NEW CIVILIZATION.  MODERN-DAY MUSIC, ART, ARCHITECTURE, ECONOMICS, PHILOSOPHY AND OUR LEGAL SYSTEM ALL HAVE THEIR ROOTS IN CHRISTIAN TEACHING. CONCEPTS SUCH AS NATURAL RIGHTS, SOCIAL EQUALITY AND THE IDEA THAT GOVERNMENT AND RELIGION ARE SEPARATE SPHERES, WERE DEVELOPED IN CHRISTIAN THOUGHT.

 

THE TEACHING OF THE GOSPEL MADE IT CLEAR THAT THE UNIVERSE FOLLOWS A SET OF LAWS DIRECTED BY A DIVINE LAWGIVER.

 

MOTIVATED BY AN ORDERLY UNIVERSE MEN AND WOMEN WERE INSPIRED TO PURSUE THE SCIENCES INCLUDING ASTRONOMY, COSMOLOGY, PHYSICS, CHEMISTRY, GENETICS, OPTICS AND SEISMOLOGY. RECENTLY A LEADING CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST COULD SAY PUBLICALLY: “I CAN NOT IDENTIFY A SINGLE CONFLICT BETWEEN WHAT I KNOW AS A RIGOROUS SCIENTIST AND WHAT I KNOW AS A BELIEVER.”

 

THE CHRISTIAN PURSUIT OF LEARNING LED TO THE FOUNDING OF LIBRARIES AND UNIVERSITIES IN THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY. THIS INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION PRODUCED THE ACADEMIC ENVIRONMENT THAT GAVE US THE PATHWAY TO THE MODERN UNIVERSITY SYSTEM AND THE PURSUIT OF MODERN SCIENCE.

 

THE SIGNATURE OF JESUS CHRIST WAS HIS LOVE FOR THE POOR.JESUS SAYS IN TODAY’S GOSPEL: “WHATEVER YOU DID FOR THE LEAST OF THESE YOU DID TO ME.” IT SHOULD NOT BE A SURPRISE THAT OVER 50% OF ALL CHARITABLE WORKS ARE DONE BY CHRISTIANS.

 

THE CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT BEGUN 2000 YEARS AGO, IS STILL ALIVE TODAY. THE POWER OF THE RISEN CHRIST IS EVIDENT IN THE LIVES OF PEOPLE LIKE JOHN PAUL II, MAXIMILLIAN KOLBE, DIETRICH BONHOEFER, MOTHER TERESA AND COUNTLESS OTHERS.

 

WE WILL CLOSE WITH THE WORDS OF ST. JOHN PAUL II

 

“IT IS JESUS THAT YOU SEEK WHEN YOU DREAM OF HAPPINESS; HE IS WAITING FOR YOU WHEN NOTHING ELSE YOU FIND SATISFIES YOU; HE IS THE BEAUTY TO WHICH YOU ARE SO ATTRACTED; IT IS HE WHO PROVOKED YOU WITH THAT THIRST FOR FULLNESS THAT WILL NOT LET YOU SETTLE FOR COMPROMISE; IT IS HE WHO URGES YOU TO SHED THE MASKS OF A FALSE LIFE; IT IS HE WHO READS IN YOUR HEART YOUR MOST GENUINE CHOICES, THE CHOICES THAT OTHERS TRY TO STIFLE.

IT IS JESUS WHO STIRS IN YOU THE DESIRE TO DO SOMETHING GREAT WITH YOUR LIVES, THE WILL TO FOLLOW AN IDEAL, THE REFUSAL TO ALLOW YOURSELVES TO BE GROUND DOWN BY MEDIOCRITY, THE COURAGE TO COMMIT YOURSELVES HUMBLY AND PATIENTLY TO IMPROVING YOURSELVES AND SOCIETY, MAKING THE WORLD MORE HUMAN AND MORE FRATERNAL.”

 

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