We Keep On Trying – Fr. Viet Nguyen

Fr. Viet Nguyen’s Homily November 23, 2019

“Today marks the end of the Liturgical calendar and appropriately it ends with the Solemnity of Christ the King, Christ the King that we celebrate today.  Now what does it mean for Christ to be the King because for all of us, especially here in America, we don’t have a great sense of a king being something very good.  Our country was founded on breaking away from a king. A lot of us are against having someone like a king, a monarch, ruling over us. We are kind of repulsed about it.  We try to stray away from it. We want to be free. So what does it mean for Christ to be the King for us?

In the first reading of second Samuel it talks about King David and to understand what Christ being the King for us, we have to look at the whole history of the Bible.  In the Old Testament they went through many kings and King David was probably the most prominent among them all. In here, in the first reading they praise King David. Israel has split and one part of the split is coming to David and asking him to be their king to rule over them to help them because if you didn’t have a king in that day you were just a slave to another, but within that the Jews have always hoped and always knew that they would be ruled, the next kings will be descendants of David and that’s why it’s important to see the lineage of Christ the King, Jesus Christ as a descendant of David meaning that the promise of God will be fulfilled and today we celebrate that that Christ is the true king.

In our second reading it talks about how Christ is the king, that his authority comes from, that he created us all, everything is his invisible and visible and then in the Gospel today the very end: Christ is being crucified and there’s two criminals there and I like to look at this as our two choices in our life.  One criminal who doesn’t believe that Christ is the King but he mocks him because all he wants is to be saved himself and he mocks him. ‘If you are Christ the King then why don’t you save yourself and save us as well?’ But then there’s the good criminal, the thief, who truly believes in the end and what Christ says is our hope for all of us, ‘Amen I say to you, you will be with me in Paradise.’  That is our whole faith is truly believing that Christ is the King of the universe, but is it reflected within our lives? What does it mean for Christ to be the king in our life today? That means that he rules everything that Christ should be the center of our lives mind body and soul. Often times we really just think of religion or spirituality as something we do one day a week, something of just the spiritual, but does our faith kind of flood leak into the rest of our life?  What does it mean spiritually for Christ to be the King of our lives? It means that we go to church to spend time with him. If you had a best friend you would usually say that you talk to this friend a lot. If Christ is someone important in our life then we spend time with him not just every now and then or when it is convenient. What does it mean for Christ to be the King of our minds?  That means that we continue to learn, to grow.  The things in our life, are they pointing us to Christ or are they not?  Think about the things you read the things you watch the things you strive for.  Are they good? Do they benefit you and your family? Are they something that is just pleasing a certain pleasure of yours?  What does it mean for Christ the be the King of our bodies? That means we stay healthy we take care of it that our bodies we’re just stewards of our bodies as a gift from God that we don’t ignore it meaning we exercise we eat properly.  Is Christ the King of your life? Reflect on those things mind body and soul. If Christ is truly the King of our lives we would take care of everyone parts of these, but you know the goal here is not success for say. I love the quote from Mother Teresa that says we are not called to be successful, we are called to be faithful because we could look at our lives and see how we aren’t living up to it.  We aren’t taking care of our bodies or doing as much as we can and we could fall into despair, but the thing about this feast day, this Solemnity of Christ the King should truly give us hope. Mother Teresa’s quote that says we are not called to be successful but faithful is focusing on the relationship not about the deed or the action but the relationship. Christ the King, the reason why we might stray away from the word king because we see it as something distant from us, something ruling over us, but the God of the Bible, Christ being the King for us, is having an intimate relationship with the King, someone who is truly there with us through all of our struggles not some distant god, but  close God. Do we believe that? Will we let ourself believe that? Because if we do then we’ll be faithful. That doesn’t mean always being successful, but that means that when we fail, we get back up and we come to him again.  We keep on trying and that is the hope from the Gospel from this criminal that if we continue to come back to Christ even in our dying days that he will enter into the Kingdom with us.  He will invite us into his Kingdom.

So I ask you again today is Christ the King of your life and if not, what is?  As you come before the Lord today where Christ is truly present before us in the Eucharist let us continue to ask the Lord for the strength and the courage to bring our struggles to him to come faithful to him to know that he is King and Lord of all and that we have great hope in that.  Amen.”