Homily for November 26

Homily for Christ the King
Scriptures for today's Mass

Audio for homily

“Hey! You’re not the boss of me...”
Have you ever been on the receiving end of that phrase?
Have you ever said to someone or wanted to say to someone:
 “You’re not the boss of me!”
It’s a phrase that so concisely captures
a prevailing attitude in our culture.
We have only to look at the front page of a newspaper
to see in how many ways, in how many situations,
in how many relationships we assert, 
 “You’re not the boss of me!”

It sometimes seems that’s our response to just about any authority
infringing on our freedom to do what we want, when we want.
We live in a time of great personal autonomy
accompanied by a mistrust and suspicion of authority
- that is often well deserved.
But what happens when I, as an individual,
become my own and my only authority?
- What happens when I make no room
for the advice and admonitions of others?
- What’s the result when, collectively and politically correctly,
we enter a social contract by which we subtly pledge
to make no moral or ethical demands of one another
- and no judgments?
- What sort of society is shaped
when individual choice overrides the common good?
- What develops when each says to each, “You’re not the boss of me”?
- What happens when we say the same to the law? to the state?
 to the Church? to the scriptures? to a tradition of moral teaching?
- And most critically, what happens when we tell God,
“Sorry , but you’re not the boss of me”?

It’s in just such a moral environment,
against just such a cultural background
that we celebrate this feast of Christ the King
or, if you will, Christ the Boss of me, Christ the Boss of us.

But that’s not to say that Jesus is “bossy”
in that irritating way that some bosses operate.    Not at all.
Rather, Jesus is the king who rules by serving his subjects.
And calls on them, calls on each of us, to serve in the same way.
And to serve the least and the lowly,
the outcast and the marginalized:
the hungry and thirsty (and not just on Thanksgiving Day);
the stranger, the immigrant, the foreigner;
those in need of clothing and housing;
the sick in need of a visit and assistance;
and those who are in prison, by loneliness.

Loyal subjects of Christ the King serve such as these and their needs.

Today’s feast and this gospel call us to acknowledge that
- the Lord is God - and we are not;
- that the Lord made us - and we are his creatures;
- that the Lord speaks the truth - and we are called to live it;
- that God knows more than we do even and especially when we act
as if we know more than God - and know better than God.

This feast on the church calendar
poses a very basic question for believers:
Who’s the Boss? God - or us?
Who’s the Boss of us in our family lives?
in our work lives? in our lives at school?
in our parish life? in our community life?
in our nation’s life?

Who’s the Boss of the secret life of our hearts and minds
our desires, fantasies and imaginations?
Who’s the Boss when push comes to shove?
Who’s the Boss of me?  Who’s the Boss of you?

It’s not God’s desire just to “boss us around,”
but rather to remind us that we’re called
to lead lives of a particular kind, lives:
- shaped by the needs of others and the common good
- lives molded by a commonly accepted moral code
- lives instructed and informed by the scriptures
and thousands of years of wisdom
- lives graced by accepting God’s will as greater than our own will
- lives marked by a spirit of generous selflessness and sacrifice.

If our lives resemble that description, then the Lord is our Boss
and we’re serving well.

Here’s a way we might all get some clarity on who our Boss is.
Take a piece of paper write down these two questions,
one for the morning and one for the evening:
The morning question is this: “Who will be the Boss of me today?”
And the evening question:  “Who was really the Boss of me today?”
Then put that slip of paper in a place where you’ll find it easily
and remember to ask yourself the questions.

But for now, for this morning, we rejoice
that in spite of our offenses, our failings and our willfulness,
in spite all of the ways we make ourselves our own sovereign,
the Boss of us all invites us to join him at the altar,
to take our place at the King’s table.
Our Boss gave his life for us, once, on the Cross,
to show us what his kingship is all about.
He now gives us his life, his Body and Blood,
in the sacrifice of the Eucharist.
Come and be nourished by so great a love,
by so great a Lover,
by such a loving King
- by the One who is Boss of us all.


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