Sunday, 24 November 2013

All or Nothing: a Short Homily with Reference to Christ the King, Jeremiah 23:1-6, Colossians 1:11-20 and Luke 23:33-43

Jesus is the one Jeremiah was writing about even though he didn't know it at the time. Jesus is our Sovereign LORD and King. That is what today is about. Another twenty-six Sundays of what the Catholics call ordinary time has passed, the culmination of which is today’s celebration of Jesus, Christ the King. Jesus is not just king-for-a-day, or king for an hour or a day a week, or a couple of days—Christmas and Easter—a year. Jesus is our King always and forever.

Not only that, writes Paul to the Colossians: of all of creation (v15), Jesus was Firstborn (v15); of all things (v16): Jesus was Creator, Before, and is The Holder Together, The Reconciler; The One, The Only One, in whom all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. King Jesus is the Son of the invisible, Living God and his very image.

Jesus is all of that and more, or he is nothing.
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. ― CS Lewis, Mere Christianity
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Lk19.38) called the people in the streets as King Jesus made his triumphant ride into Jerusalem to meet and forgive the soldiers who crucified him, for they knew not what they were doing, and to hang between the criminals who were to die on his right and left; and to extend that royal invitation to one of them:
Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Lk 23:43)
As CS Lewis said, we must all make our choice. The criminals made their choices, so did the rulers and soldiers. Either Jesus is Son of God and King, or he is nothing. No ifs, ands or buts: no “If he is the Christ of God” (Lk 23:35) or “If your are the King of the Jews” (Lk 23:37). Jesus is all, or he is nothing.

Choose all that Jesus is and I “will be royally strengthened with all power for all endurance and patience with joy (Col 1:11). So will you. Choose Jesus and, like the criminal beside Jesus, I am royally “qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13…delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”—ready to join King Jesus in paradise. So will you.