Christ the King 2019: Homily


“Christ the King” Painting by: Ronald Raab, CSC 2015


My Dear Followers of the Christ,

 We celebrate today, the King.

 Everything on earth will find its completion in Christ Jesus, our King.

 Take this into your hearts: Every moment of our unfaithful lives will be healed in Him.

 In the end, everything is going to be okay.

 This feast reflects the Paschal Mystery. Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection are our ultimate home. The King is the summation of our faith on earth.

We belong in Him.

We belong in Him. 

 We may struggle with our human definition of, “king.”

 However, this King is not about power and privilege.

 As we focus on this gospel today, this king is unlike any other king we have seen on earth.

 This feast comes from Jesus hanging on the cross.

 He could have saved himself just like he overrode the temptations of evil in the desert before his public ministry. So why didn’t he?

 He could have allowed his own freedom just like he raised Lazarus from the dead.

He could have healed himself as he healed the leper or cured Simon’s mother-in-law or released the stranger from a demon. So why didn’t he?

 Rather he took us with him to his death. For the place of the Kingdom is within every human heart.

 We die with him so we may discover his mercy in his Resurrection. His Kingdom is born in the empty tomb.

 We celebrate a king who entered our frailty, our dishonesty, and every aspect of our disturbingly human lives.

 For this king desires love for every human being on earth and every soul of heaven.

 As we overhear this intimate conversation between a thief and Jesus, we also desire along with this thief, to be forgiven. We too, voice our powerlessness into Jesus’ ear.

 “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

 And Jesus replies, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.”

 Imagine this encounter, this voice of love that overwhelms the thief in his last-minute confession. Only the gospel of Luke shares this treasure because he desires to have nothing stand in the way of our relationship with Jesus.

 I don’t know about you, but I want a share in this intimate encounter. I want to find my life and place in his promise and in his Kingdom.

 His kingdom is not a cartoon fairytale where we all have what we need.

 His kingdom is not a room at the Ritz or life smothered in extravagance and greed.

 His kingdom is not made of silver wishes and gold promises.

 His kingdom is not a pot of riches promised to us for being good.

 His Kingdom is not an all-you-can eat buffet.

 His kingdom is not hidden behind gated communities, safety-deposit boxes or storage units.

 His kingdom is not vast vistas of land. It is not having the last word. It does not come with military power.

 The Kingdom we all seek is to stand on this holy earth and realize that we belong.

We belong to Him.

 We are not alone no matter what.

 My sisters and brothers,

We don’t have to wait for a deathbed confession to be invited into the Kingdom of God.

 As we process this day down the aisle to receive the Real Presence of Christ Jesus, we have his ear. He humbles himself so we may be loved and forgiven.

 The Real Presence of Christ in our Eucharist on this last Sunday of the Church year feeds us in ways in which we least expect.

We don’t need to save ourselves.

We don’t have to worry about the power of evil overriding Him.

We are not undeserving.

We don’t prove ourselves in faith.

We don’t earn Jesus’ love.


The King simply offers us himself.

On this notion, we have built a Church.


Christ our King invites us into the Kingdom here on earth,

where the lost shall be found,

where the grieving will rejoice,

where the poor shall be rich and inherit the land,

and the hopeless will find purpose and joy.


This Kingdom is for the prostitute and the scholar,

The mentally ill man and the hotel housekeeper,

The butcher and the security guard at Wall Mart,

The bully and our maiden aunt,

And for those who wait for their final breath.


This Kingdom builds bridges and not walls.

This Kingdom open doors and welcomes the stranger.

This Kingdom welcomes the lost and embraces the sinner.

This Kingdom knows no foreigner, for skin color and language are all the same.

This Kingdom is built from a heart to heart encounter of love.


 This Kingdom is revealed in the place we least expect, in the human heart.

 This Kingdom is revealed in the place we least expect, in the human heart.


 Our eavesdropping on this holy exchange between two dying men unites us all in faith.

 On this last Sunday of our liturgical year, we might have expected a gospel that is triumphant and otherworldly to celebrate the gift of Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe. Instead, we ponder the last-chance confession of a dying man to get right with Jesus. We listen attentively with bruised egos and deep humility.

 I don’t know about you, but I want to be among those who lean into the voice of Christ Jesus.

 “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

 “Amen I say to you, today, you will be with me in paradise.”





4 thoughts on “Christ the King 2019: Homily

  1. Thank you for the transcript of your sermon. I appreciate you coming into the middle aisle; like it. However to read this Really reinforces what I sometimes miss with fluctuations in voice. Your reflection on the Readings always SPEAK TO ME Thank you for teaching us. In Christ, RM Hitchcock

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Fr. Ron, what a profoundly moving homily, I really hunger and thirst for reflections like yours, when most of the time, our celebrants just spend five minutes re-hashing the readings. This gospel of “the good thief” was my dad’s favorite gospel, so it has additional layers of meaning for me. Thanks for reminding us that the Lord we seek is in the faces and hearts of those who suffer and doubt, those who struggle and seek him.

  3. As you gave this beautiful reflection on Sunday morning I envisioned the Lord hanging from the Cross over the Altar. You were leading us as we stood raising our eyes to gaze on Him.
    At the consecration as you lifted the bread and wine up to become the Body and Blood the Blood was dripping down into the cup. Thank you for feeding us with Word and Sacrament to help us to one day see Our Lord Face to Face. I look forward to the day we will all be one and everything will be right.

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