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Homily For The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Ezekiel 34:11-32, 15-17; 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28; Matthew 25:31-46

Saint John Baptist de LaSalle/Saint Stephen November 26, 2023


After High School, and two years of college, my first real job was working for Sears Roebuck and Company, where I managed to survive for seven years. From this company, and the work I did, I learned many valuable lessons. You have all heard it said, perhaps by your grandparents, “the customer is always right.” Well, that saying was true, at least at Sears, no matter what the question or decision that was made, “the customer was always right.” But that was then, and this is now.

 

For as a customer today, “being right,” is the least of our problems. As customers we are not even recognized as people, we have become account numbers. Try calling “customer service,” if you can find the number, they are difficult to locate. If you do call, no one will greet you with a warm welcome, nor can you expect to be received as a valued customer. Instead, you will encounter a computer program, designed to funnel your concerns to someone you cannot even speak to, let alone see. To place an order, press 1. To inquire about an order, press 2. For assistance using this program, press 3. For all other inquiries, contact us at www...

 

If you wish to speak to a customer service representative, stay on the line, however we are experiencing a high number of calls, if you leave your phone number we will call you back someday, or you can sacrifice the next hour and stay on the line. To be fair, companies did not just decide to take away our dignity as people. The only way to receive someone as a person is to be one yourself, companies are not people. Everyone who labors does so for a company, not a boss. Who decided to remove our humanity from this process, some computer program. We could also argue that customer service reps are double robbed of their humanity. They are not allowed to treat us as people, and sometimes we do not treat them as such.

 

Today’s celebration, The Feast of Christ the King, is quite young. It was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925, after the First World War, the greatest calamity the world had ever witnessed. The Great War did not care who you were, or what you wanted from life. Even the people leading the war found they could not control the cycle of destruction. At first, people marched off to give their lives for a king, kaiser, czar, or a constitution. However, by war’s end, it did not matter, no one was in control, people just died. The war made kings and queens a dated concept, but the genius of Pope Pius was to recognize and claim for Jesus the title, “King of the Universe.”

 

However, all those who have ever ruled, the King or Queen, were real people, just like you. To be clear, Kings and Queens were seldom saints, and many were vain and cruel. However, for thousands of years, in virtually every country, people marched out to meet their King or Queen in person. They did it because the King or Queen was a person, someone who could look you in the face and listen to you and address you as a person. Only people can assume that responsibility, companies cannot.

 

In Jesus the Christ, God encounters us as a person, fulfilling the ancient prophecy: “Thus says the Lord God: I myself will look after and tend my sheep. As a shepherd tends his flock, when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so I will tend my sheep.” Our prayers are not addressed to whomever or whatever might listen or care. We know the face of the person who receives our prayers and carries them to his Father. However they might be answered, we know that another person has heard them. And when our life comes to an end, our very fate belongs to a face, not to a computer. We will stand before a judge, a person who listens and decides.

 

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”

 

No one likes a computer customer service, or peopleless checkout counters. Whatever the outcome, we are not received as a person. And any government, all governments, have long ago abandoned any pretense of helping flesh and blood people. How life has changed in the last hundred years.

 

We would not serve God. Instead, we have enslaved ourselves to our faceless creations. Jesus the Christ comes as our King: "For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.”

 

Yes, Jesus the Christ comes as King. He comes with face and voice and heart. No matter what may happen to us, Jesus will listen, and he will care.

 

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