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Three steps to heaven

November 25, 2012

Check out the readings: Daniel 7:13-14; Apocalypse (Revelation) 1:5-8;  John 18:33-37

You can listen to this homily if you prefer, at http://www.deaconphilip.podbean.com

 

Today’s Feast of Christ the King is the way the Church looks forward to the moment when Jesus will return in triumph to this world to take back what is rightfully His, to claim His Kingdom for God.

 Most people in the world seem to want to take a gamble that the Second Coming will not happen when they are alive. So how do we, as Christians, go against the popular, yet foolish flow?

First, we should place God at the centre of our lives. Not just taking God out on Sunday and hiding Him for the rest of the week. Show God respect at all times, whatever you’re doing, and regularly putting time aside to shut out the noisy world and be with God.

Second, we should practice being virtuous, always promoting peace, justice and the Common Good. We can do that through our family life, our life in our local community, and through our work lives.

Third, we should pray for the courage to spread the Good News, to bring other people to God. That doesn’t mean being a dreadful bible basher. Your light will shine out from the way you lead your life, being known as a peacemaker who has integrity and someone who respects God by going to church.

 For a practicing Christian it is out there, outside these church walls that our faith is most under challenge. It’s easy being a good, Catholic in church. But being a Christian is not only about being a religious person in private. It means interacting with the world, where all we seem to get is aggravation. Why? Because, sadly, a lot of people operate in unacceptable ways – they tell lies, they double-cross people, they bully people, they try and manipulate people, they threaten people, they use people for their own gratification. The role of a Christian is to be a beacon of light in such a corrupt world, so that people KNOW they can trust you. That is how you gain a reputation for INTEGRITY. People with integrity are a threat to those who only think of themselves and have no qualms about riding roughshod over the other people. So they make your life difficult. But don’t worry. Trust in God. It’ll be OK.

 In today’s gospel we see Jesus appearing before just such a blustering bully. Pontius Pilate. Jesus seems to be at His weakest. Abandoned by all but one of His disciples, standing humiliated, on trial for His life before the Roman Governor.

 Yet there’s something interesting going on here. Look closely at Pilate’s interrogation. Pilate is not in command. Every single thing Pilate says is a question, seeking guidance from Jesus.

 All Pilate does is ask questions. It is Jesus who dominates. “When I am weak I am strong” said Saint Paul.

 So what happened when Jesus was asked THE ultimate crunch question? Will God protect His own Son at the moment of Truth?

 “So you are a king then?” asks Pilate. Jesus’ answer is a shock. “Yes, I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.”

 Pilate only understands kingship from an earthly perspective. He has no idea what heavenly kingship means. And he has no idea what the Truth is. The Truth. The way things should be.

 As Christians our faith should strengthen us to withstand the deluded trends and priorities of wider society, the fashionable notions and dishonesty, often masquerading as being caring, being politically correct.

 The question for all of us to answer is, ‘Would we, faced with a question that would completely change our life, buckle under the pressure?’ Is our Faith in God so weak that we’re embarrassed when challenged by people’s behaviour around us, that we deny Truth with a capital T.

If we are asked, ‘Do you really believe that Jesus is God and is present with us at Mass, do we squirm? Do we go quiet? Do we remain silent when others do or say things that are morally unacceptable, which go against our Catholic principles?  Do we chase popularity at the expense of truth? Is our faith so weak that at the first opportunity, under pressure from friends and family, or because ‘we don’t feel like it’ we give up coming to Mass? Is our faith so weak that we’re frightened of what people will think of us?

 Of everything in the New Testament, do you know the thing that is most often mentioned? It is FAITH. And the next most commonly mentioned thing? It is the SECOND COMING. Jesus Himself referred to His Second Coming 21 times. It is going to happen.

 For this reason, it’s vital that we lead faithful lives, regardless of what people think of us: we must place God at the centre of our lives; we must be virtuous, promoting peace and justice, and we must do our best to bring other people to God. We have a God who has repeatedly shown through history that by being faithful to Him, speaking and doing what is right, He will remain faithful to us. Do not fear the Second Coming, welcome it. You see, the truth is that our God is really the one who is in charge.

 Our God reigns in heaven as Christ the King.

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