Sunday Church at Home – Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Cycle B

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Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
King of the Universe, Cycle B.
21st November, 2021

 

Sunday Church at Home

during the Coronavirus Pandemic

A Kingdom That Is Not Of This World.

 

The leader makes the sign of the cross, saying:

 

Leader:    In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All reply:    Amen

Leader:    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

All reply:    Blessed be God for ever

 

Leader:   The New Testament is in no doubt about the ultimate kingship of Jesus Christ, but John’s Gospel reminds us that his is a kingship “not of this world”. Not for the first time, God incarnate turns the world upside down.

 

LITURGY OF THE WORD

First Reading: Daniel 7:13-14

Introduction to the reading: The book of Daniel was written 150 years before Christ, when the Jews were experiencing fierce persecution. The author wanted to encourage them by telling heroic stories about a person named Daniel who lived many centuries earlier. Today’s reading describes Daniel’s vision of heaven, and is written in symbolic language – similar to the book of Revelation. The term “Son of Man” indicated a human being chosen by God for a special purpose. Christians have applied this vision to Jesus.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Daniel.

I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,

and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion
and glory and kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one

that shall not be destroyed.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 93:1ab.1d-2.5 (R. 1a)

Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm:

R/. The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed.

The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed.
The Lord has robed himself with might;
he has girded himself with power.

The world you made firm, not to be moved;
your throne has stood firm from of old.
From all eternity, O Lord, you are.

Truly your decrees are to be trusted.
Holiness is fitting to your house,
O Lord, until the end of time.

R/. The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed.

 

Second Reading: Revelation 1:5-8

Introduction to the reading:

The book of Revelation was not intended to predict actual people and events in later times. Rather, it was intended to be a source of hope for Christians who were suffering persecution near the end of the first century. Today’s passage is from the very beginning of the book and is part of a greeting from God to the persecuted people.

 A reading from the Book of Revelation.

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness,
the first-born of the dead,
and the ruler of kings on earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood
and made us a kingdom,
priests to his God and Father,
to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Behold, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
everyone who pierced him;
and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him.
Even so. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God,
who is and who was and who is to come,
the Almighty.

The word of the Lord.

 Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming!
Alleluia.

 Gospel: John 18:33b-37

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.

At that time:
Pilate said to Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord,
or did others say it to you about me?”
Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew?
Your own nation and the chief priests
have handed you over to me;
what have you done?”

Jesus answered,
“My kingship is not of this world;
if my kingship were of this world,
my servants would fight,
that I might not be handed over to the Jews;
but my kingship is not from the world.”

Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?”

Jesus answered,
“You say that I am a king.
For this I was born,
and for this I have come into the world,
to bear witness to the truth.
Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”

The Gospel of the Lord

 

 Reflection on the Readings

The leader reads the text prepared by the priest and leads the sharing.

 Homily

Once a priest was giving a homily and as he went on, he became more animated. He made a sweeping gesture – and accidentally knocked his papers from the pulpit. He scrambled to pick them up, then asked, “Now, where was I?” A voice from the congregation responded, “Right near the end!” 😊

Well, we are at the end – not of the homily, but of the liturgical year. Today we celebrate Christ the King as we begin the last week of the liturgical year.

We usually describe God’s establishing the “kingdom” on earth, with Jesus as our true king. True enough. But try on another description – the “Reign of God.” Kingdom can sound stagnant, as if Christ is sitting on a throne somewhere far off. The “Reign of Christ,” or the “Reign of God,” suggests a present and active rule. Christ hasn’t left us on our own to observe the “rules of the Kingdom” which he revealed, ordered us to observe, left and promised he would return someday, to see how we did on our own. Rather, he has stayed with us, enabling us to be his instruments in the world.

People should experience in us the loving presence of a new kind of ruler – one from humble origins, who proclaimed the Reign of God, washed feet, died to manifest God’s love for us, rose from the dead and breathed his Spirit on us, so we could live his life as citizens of the Kingdom/Reign of God.

Let’s face it, the history of many, or most, of the world’s kings and queens hasn’t given humanity a favourable view of royalty. Before modern times, kings would kill, manipulate and use brute force to stay in power. We are challenged on this feast to call Christ our King – indeed, “King of the Universe,” as this feast reminds us

Jesus does not exempt his followers from being involved in this world. Quite the contrary. We have a part to play in bringing about Jesus’ Kingdom where peace, justice, truth and love are concrete signs that Jesus reigns in this world. The world’s earthly rulers and institutions dominate by force, violence and economic exploitation. The source of Jesus’ power comes from a very different and holier source. Jesus’ rule calls us to challenge the culture of consumerism and greed that is so common in the world.

The world’s rulers draw the lines of their power on a map. Jesus draws his on the human heart. We have welcomed King Jesus and his reign into our hearts and so our lives should constantly reflect the source and rule of the one we follow. Kings and queens begin their reign with  coronation ceremonies full of pomp and circumstance. Jesus’ reign began when he died on the cross, with a notice over his head reading, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”

Our king didn’t wear a crown of jewels, but a crown of thorns, and the purple robe of mockery. What armies did Jesus lead and what victories did he win? Jesus fought and won a war against sin and death, a battle no mere human troops could ever win. As a result we can live his teachings of love. Love does not come about by force of will. Love comes through the power of Jesus’ reign and the indwelling gift of the Spirit – the King’s Spirit.

Jesus is brought before Pontius Pilate. Pilate represents all the power of the Roman Empire. We can imagine what Pilate thought of Jesus at first. Pilate saw before him a seemingly-powerless, peasant preacher from Nazareth. He thought he was the judge and jury over Jesus’s fate. In Pilate’s world, being a king, or queen, meant sitting pompously on a throne, but always alert in case some other force might come to snatch power away and usurp the throne.

Jesus challenges Pilate’s and our understanding of what it means to rule. Yes, Jesus is a king, but he would not use power to force people to follow him and live under his kingship. Instead, people would follow Jesus because they would be attracted to the truth of who he is.

But Pilate is not the only one judging Jesus – we are the jury and must pass judgment as well. Is Jesus the truth we accept into our lives? Or, do we follow the powers of the world and live by their rules?

Jesus’ kingdom, his world, is with us now. At our baptism and when we were confirmed, we received the gift of the Holy Spirit. That means  we have  been given the vision to see the presence of the kingdom and its life-giving possibilities. It is a world of community, equality, respect and dialogue. In the kingdom, under Jesus’ rule, each person’s gifts are recognized. Justice is given to each, regardless of their political influence, race, gender or economic status.

I am a citizen of South Africa and I have an ID card which says that my nationality is South African.  What do we have to prove we are citizens of Christ’s reign? We have the gift of the Holy Spirit who enables us to give witness by our lives that we are followers of Jesus, citizens under his rule. In other words, our lives are more than ample proof of where and in whom our allegiance lies – who rules our hearts and minds.

From today’s Gospel reading:

Pilate said to Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?”…

Jesus answered,

“My kingdom does not belong to this world.”

Reflection:

Jesus’ kingdom, his world, is with us now. We have, through our baptism and the gift of the Spirit, been given the vision to see the presence of the kingdom and its life-giving possibilities. It is a world of community, equality, respect and dialogue. In the kingdom, under Jesus’ rule, each person’s gifts are recognized. The poor and neglected are empowered and no one is left out. Justice is given to each, regardless of their political influence, race, gender or economic status.

So, we ask ourselves:

  • Who or what set of values rule my life and guide my daily decisions?
  • What can I do to respond more fully to Jesus’ rule in my life

 

Prayer of the Faithful

 Leader:          As disciples of Christ the humble king, we touch his suffering flesh in others and bring before God the needs of our Church and our world.

Reader:

We pray for Pope Francis and all those who lead our Church: that as followers of Jesus the servant king, they may exemplify to the world his kingdom values of compassion and loving service.

LORD HEAR US

 We pray for a world crying out for God’s mercy: that we may be open to encountering others in humility and loving kindness, seeing Jesus our brother in every aspect of their need.

LORD HEAR US

 We pray for all who serve those who are poor and struggle for justice: that they may be strengthened in their dedication and never tire of doing what is right.

LORD HEAR US

 We pray for healing in the time of the pandemic: that the rollout of covid vaccinations may swiftly reach all our people.

LORD HEAR US

 We pray for members of our families and friends who have died and those whose anniversaries occur about this time, especially for all the faithful departed on the Pious Lists.

LORD HEAR US

 

Leader:          Let us pray the Prayer for Care of Creation

Loving God,

Creator of heaven and earth
and all that is in them,
you created us in your own image
and made us stewards of creation.
You blessed us with the sun, water and bountiful land
so that all might be nourished.

Open our minds and touch our hearts,

so that we may attend to your gift of creation.
Help us to be conscious that
our common home belongs not only to us,
but to all of your creatures
and to all future generations,
and that it is our responsibility to preserve it.

May we help each person
secure the food and resources that they need.

Make us courageous
to embrace the changes that are needed

in search of the common good.

Now more than ever may we feel

that we are all interconnected and interdependent.

We ask this through Christ Our Lord and King.

Amen.

 

Spiritual Communion

We can unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a spiritual Communion.

By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us.

 My Jesus, I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you.
But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, feed my soul spiritually. I unite myself to you now as I do when I receive you. Amen.

 

 CONCLUDING RITE

 Leader:          Let us pray to the Father in the words Jesus our Saviour gave us:

 All say:          Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.

Leader:          Almighty and eternal God,

to Jesus Christ, the firstborn from the dead,

you have granted everlasting dominion

and a kingship that shall not pass away.

Remove from us every desire for privilege and power,

that we may imitate the sacrificial love of Christ our King

and, as a royal and priestly people,

serve you humbly in our brothers and sisters.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God for ever and ever.

All:                  Amen.

Leader:          May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.

All:                  Amen.

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