The Grand Finale 2019-11-24 Christ the King Fr. Roberto
Homily for Christ the King – Year C
Fr. Roberto Corral, OP
St. Dominic’s Church, Los Angeles, CA
November 24, 2019
Preaching series #3 of 3: What Happens at Mass
Title: The Grand Finale
Theme: Every Mass is the grand finale of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Readings: 2Samuel 5:1-3; Colossians 1:12-20; Luke 23:35-43
How many of you have seen great fireworks shows, perhaps at Disneyland or at some big 4th of July celebration? And what happens as that fireworks show comes to an end? They usually have a grand finale, right? In other words, they pull out all the stops and finish with a flourish. Well, today’s feast of Christ the King is the last Sunday and the grand finale of the Church’s liturgical year. Our Catholic liturgical year begins with Advent and Christmas as we prepare for and celebrate the birth of Jesus as a baby 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem. And then our liturgical year leads us through the seasons of Lent and Easter where we celebrate the climax of Jesus earthly life in his suffering, death, resurrection and Ascension. So, today, the Church sums up the entire cycle of Jesus’ earthly life – all that he did for us – and sums up our faith in Jesus with the grand finale of Christ the King where we proclaim that the little baby born in Bethlehem, was the messiah and Son of God who eventually was crucified, died, rose from the dead, was glorified at God’s right hand, and is now the King of the entire universe – grand finale!
As today I finish this preaching series on the Mass, I want to tell you that Mass is like today’s feast of Christ the King in that it sums up for us all that Jesus did for us and all that Jesus is for us, and makes it all present to us. That is because every Mass we celebrate is Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Let me repeat that: every Mass we celebrate is Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. What I am saying is that the Mass does not just remind us those climactic moments as something that happened in the past; rather, the Mass actually IS Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This is what our Church teaches and exactly what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “Christian liturgy [the Mass] not only recalls the events that saved us but actualizes them, makes them present (#1104). This quote is in your homily guides on page 4.
I hope your response to all that is, “Wow!” Because that means that at every Mass we celebrate, we are not just remembering Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, but we are actually there with Jesus at the Last Supper on Holy Thursday; we are there with Jesus as he died for us on the cross on Good Friday; and we are there with Jesus when he rose from dead on Easter Sunday. We call these three moments the paschal mystery. They are the most important moments in the history of the universe because they are the grand finale of Jesus’ life in this world, and, most importantly, they are the grand finale of our salvation through which God defeated sin and death and gave us eternal life. This, my brothers and sisters, is what God offers us at every Mass! As I said two weeks ago, whether that Mass is big or little, whether it is exciting or boring, whether you feel it or not, whether you believe it or not, every Mass is always Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Amen? Amen!
So why do you think God offers us all of this at every Mass? Well, I would say that, in the first place, it is because he loves us so much. But I would also say it is because at Mass God wants us to imitate what Jesus did on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. At those moments of the paschal mystery, Jesus offered to the Father his entire self – his life, his suffering and death, his resurrection and glorification – and he also offered the Father the world and all of creation for which he was laying down his life.
So, what God wants us to do at Mass is to offer to him our entire selves, our loved ones and our world. This offering of ours to God is symbolized by the bread and wine we bring to the altar at the Offertory and the money we offer to God in the collection. At that moment, our offering of ourselves, our money and the bread and wine is brought forward to the altar, and the priest offers it all to God. So whenever you come to Mass, I encourage you at that time of the Mass to join in that offering to God. I invite you to tell God at that moment in these or similar words: “Lord, along with offering you Jesus, I offer you all that I have: my love, my thanks and praise, my time, energy and money; my joys and sorrows, my hopes and dreams; my past, present and future; my loved ones and the entire world.” Then, what God does with our offering is what he did with Jesus’ offering on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday: he blesses and transforms that offering, and he blesses and transforms us. Therefore, he blesses the bread and wine we offer and transforms it to become the Body and Blood of Jesus, and he blesses and transforms us to become the Body of Christ in this world. In other words, when we offer ourselves to God, he gives us the desire, the grace and the strength to be like Jesus for others.
So, my brothers and sisters, in this preaching series, I have tried to give you a deeper understanding of what happens at Mass and why it is so important for us to come to Mass. Two weeks ago, I told you that at every Mass we join with the angels, the saints and our deceased loved ones in heaven as they worship God; we join them and they join us here at Mass. Last week I said that at every Mass Jesus gives us his body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist. And today I am telling you that every Mass is Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. All of this is the treasure that God offers to us at every Mass; he could not possibly give us more than that!
So, the question is, what are you giving to God when you come to Mass? Let me ask that question another way: what do you think God wants from you at Mass? Let me tell you what I think God wants from you at Mass.
- I think God wants you to come to Mass every week, not just now and then, not just when you feel like it, but every week because he deserves it and you need it. You need to receive all the God offers us at Mass.
- I think God wants you to come on time and not to leave early. If you continually come to Mass late and/or leave early, it is simply rude to God and to this community.
- I think God wants you to come to Mass to worship and not just to watch. Mass is not meant to entertain us; it is meant to help us offer our entire selves, our loved ones and our world to God, to help build up our parish community, to give and not just to get.
- I think God wants our attention while we are here. Of course, there are always going to be moments when we are tired, lazy, distracted or bored, but we have to at least try to give God our best and not allow ourselves to be distracted.
So on this Feast of Christ the King, let us give thanks to God for all that he has given us in Jesus and in the Mass. And at this Mass and at every Mass we go to, let us join in offering to our God his Son Jesus Christ our King, ourselves, our loved ones and our world for his glory. Amen? Amen!
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