Homily – Sunday, the 20th November 2022
Reading: Luke 23: 33-43
Next Sunday is Advent Sunday.
We usher in another Christmas.
The Christmas markets are back after a break and people are looking forward to celebrate.
We hope that the disruption in the rhythm of life that the Pandemic brought in would be set right with the Christmas season and that we will have a good new year.
The last Sunday of the liturgical Year is set apart to celebrate Christ’s Messianic kingship and sovereign rule over all creation. So the Sunday before Advent is the Christ the King Sunday. We then go into the Thanksgiving, the Black Friday and the festivity season.
That’s why we began our worship today singing
This is our God, The Servant King
He calls us now To follow Him
To bring our lives As a daily offering
Of worship to The Servant King
And as our Gradual we sang
O what a mystery meekness and majesty
Bow down and worship for this is your God
This is your God
After the Homily our prayer would be
Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne.
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but it’s own.
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.
And our Postlude today would be
Soon and very soon we are going to see the king
Each of these profoundly declaring forth what we are meditating today- Christ the KING.
When we hear the word- King- What are the Words and Images that Come to Our Mind?
Majesty- His Majesty, Sovereign Power, Royal Estates, Crown, the Throne, the Sceptre, the royal wagon, the conquests…
Some people who have never had to deal with kings understand kings from their history books
When we think of Shakespeare we think of Edward 111, Richard 11, Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI and Richard III. We were to study the nine historical plays to assess the social history of England during those times.
Kings were part of many of Shakespearean plays including Claudius the King of Denmark in Hamlet, Duncan the King of Scotland in Macbeth, King Lear the King of Britain and France in King Lear, Julius Caesar and several others
In the Bible we think of King Saul, Kind David, King Solomon and a host of others
We also read of King Nedubadnezar, King Darius, King Cyrus and others.
Lord Byron wrote of Sennacherib
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!
Yes we have had stories of benevolent kings and atrocious kings
But when we think of Jesus as king- what images come to our mind
Triumphant King enthroned in the Heavenly Throne
The returning judge in the horse who would sift the living and the dead,
the bruised and wounded lamb on the throne
The Affirmation is Simple
Soon and Very Soon we are Gonna see the King
It is all about expectation
It constantly reminds us of our accountability urging us not to take life lightly
Life is a precious gift and we are answerable
STORY- Throwing the Diamonds Away
A Saving King who Fills Life with Hope
Today you shall be with me in Paradise
The notorious thief was sentenced to be killed and he should have been surprised that Jesus was going to be crucified with him
It was a political killing with lot of ramification and therefore was a public show off and he had to endure it all
The last moments had come
Was he regretting what he did with his life?
It was anyway too late
He saw the taunts of another person who was crucified and rebukes him- we deserve what we are suffering but what this innocent person do
He them turns to Jesus and makes a very powerful prayer- Lord remember me when you are in Paradise.
Martin Luther King once said- We must accept finite disappointments but never lose infinite hope.
Faith is trusting the first step even when you do not see the whole staircase
At the face of death he took the first step of faith crying out remember me
While others mocked he was serious about Christ the King
He declares- You are Gonna be the King
Where and How I do not know’
But when you become king- remember me.
Then came the kingly proclamation- Truly I tell you, Today you shall be with me in paradise. (however you read it)
Death is not going to be the end
There is the beyond
When we grieve the loss of dear ones: the thought of the King in Paradise always soothes us
When we face the inevitable- this prayer to the King is a powerful solace
Remember Me in Paradise.
Yes whatever our plights are, whatever our past is
The King Offers a New Beginning to Those Who want a New Beginning
This thief on the cross is a pointer to Hope
The Cross of Christ Jesus is a True sign of Hope.
A King who Saves- whatever our life situations are
A King who fills us with Hope
A Forgiving King who pleads for those who wronged him
Father Forgive them for they know not what they are doing
At the denouement of the cross event, at the pinnacle of pain, there came the last words of Jesus- Father Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing
We have heard about the amnesty of the monarchs- their right to nullify a sentence
But here is far beyond
The crowd that just the previous week chanted Hosanna Hosanna were chanting- Crucify Him
The Chief Priest and the High Priest connived and plotted against him
Pilate the judge- declared aloud that I do not find any fault in him and yet bowing to the pressure of circumstances let him away to be crucified
The soldiers mocked, flogged and inflicted pain
The disciples ran to safety, one betraying, one denying and the others disappearing
The ones who blew those nails into his body were being cruel
Many of them were by the cross to listen to what Jesus would be saying
And to their utter surprise they heard
Father Forgive Them
Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a permanent attitude and that is the attitude of Jesus
Christian Life is All about Forgiveness
We have a forgiving king who is willing to blot away the past, Who is willing to redeem us with a price, who is willing to be our substitute for the justification, sanctification and the propitiation that we will experience.
We receive forgiveness and are called to share forgiveness
The Power of Forgiveness is not something words can explain. It is an experience. It takes bitterness away and allows a fresh and fragrant start
It is therapeutic
It is difficult to forgive, especially when experiences are harsh.
We have heard of the findings of the Truth Commission, the Royal Commission into Institutional Excess and all these spoke of Healing of Memories and inevitable to building a new future and for this forgiveness was a primary step.
Forgiveness does not exonerate the perpetrator it liberates the victim.
Forgiveness is never about other people, it is about us, it is about the well being of the soul.
What does a forgiving King mean to us?
A PASTORAL EXPERIENCE with a parishioner in prison
Professional, Pastoral or Personal.
Thanking for coming to me. Thank you for not hating me
Despite the gruesome acts I know I am forgiven
Will you be my swan of the message seeking forgiveness
And the response
Tell her- we want to carry no bitterness
An Enduring King who faced the pain of the cross
They scoffed, They mocked, They jeered
They called him king, the put an inscription INRI
Crucifixion can be truly painful
Jesus walked the hard way through it all
God understandings in philosophy is about a-pathes- Someone without any feelings. But here is a sun-pathes, an em-pathes understanding of God
A king who endures and who knows what it means
We had had stories of kings in disguise
Lived as one among the slaves
Lived as one among the prisoners
Lived as one among the exile communities
Lived as one among the soldiers
Brought up with a golden spoon life lessons were important for him
He went through the scorn, the pain of rejection and being ridiculed
To be the king who understands the heartthrob of his people.
Friends, Handling Shame is never easy
Thasleema Nasreen wrote in Lajja- No relationship is all sunshine. You need strength to face them. To endure them.
Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.
Here is a model of enduring shame with dignity
Brene Brown points out If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.
Here the call FATHER is a call of confident sharing
Some people are easily broken by criticism. But others find criticism and taunts as building blocks.
Many a times we might ask- Would I be able to endure
Look at the King on the Cross
He will help us endure without being broken down.
A Suffering King who walks the path of Pain
Vulnerability and Pain were always associated with a defeated king.
In Jeremiah 52:11 we find a typical example- Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon, where he put him in prison till the day of his death.
The Bible is also full of many painful stories of kings who lost battles and were taken captives.
Here is vulnerability being chosen so that the suffering servant can be savior of humanity. The unfair trails, the unjust judgements, the flogging and the way of suffering via doloraza- stations of the cross, and then the crucifixion.
All expectations about the redeemer Messiah were shattered.
And now when we look at the cross in our moments of vulnerability and pain the message is- I understand!! I have gone through it
We have a King who understands what suffering is.
Christ the Triumphant King: One who reigns in Glory
Paradise is not just a promise: It is much more
It is where Christ the King reigns and can be far beyond a physical realm
It is where our dear departed have found rest
It is where we will journey to
It is where Christ will come again from to judge the living and the dead.
We therefore sing with Confidence
Crown Him the Lord of peace, Whose power a scepter sways
From pole to pole, that wars may cease, and all be prayer and praise.
His reign shall know no end, and round His pierced feet
Fair flowers of paradise extend their fragrance ever sweet.
Crown Him the Lord of years, the Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou has died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.
20th Nov 2022