34th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Christ the King


One day, a group of scientists came together and decided that humankind had come a long way and therefore, no longer needed God.  So they picked one scientist to go and tell God that they were done with him.

The scientist walked into a church and said,  “God we’ve decided that we no longer nee d you.  We’re to the point in our biotechnology that we can clone humans and can do many other miraculous things without your help.  So why don’t you just go and get lost.”

God listened very patiently and lovingly to the scientist.  And after she was done talking, God replied,  “Very well, how about this? Let’s have a human-making contest.”

The scientist replied, “That would be a great idea!”

God added, “Now we’re going to do this just like I did at the beginning of creation.”

The scientist replied, “Sure, no problem and bent down and grabbed herself a handful of dirt from a potted plant.”

God looked at the scientist and said, “No, No, No, you hafta make your own dirt.”  

Yes, sometimes, we humans think that we can be the Creators of all things.  We sometimes think that we can go it alone in life, that we can do the miraculous, without the cooperation, guidance, and wisdom of God.  But when we live by that mentality, we’re headed down a dangerous path because that’s not the purpose of our earthly existence.   As creatures, who have a creator, we weren’t meant to do away with God or to run things as if God’s will or divine presence in everything didn’t matter.  

Scientific evidence reveals that the universe has existed for approximately 14 billion years.   The earth and its solar system started coming together only 4 billion years ago and life on our planet only began appearing about 3.5 billion years ago.  Human life is estimated to only have originated between 5 and 7 million years ago.  A mere blip on the cosmic time scale!   

What this data humbly reveals then, is that the universe was doing just fine before we came into the picture and it will do just fine, if we ever choose to destroy ourselves or our planet due to our flawed attempts at trying to be God.  

Instead, we have to embrace our true place and role in the universe.   We’re not meant to dictate the parameters under which God must operate in order for us to accept God’s role in the universe.   We’re not  meant to divest ourselves of ethical considerations when making decisions, either, or to live by a moral relativism where the liceity of  every action or inaction can only be judged on a case-by-case basis.   No, today’s gospel proclaims that we have to allow Jesus Christ to be our King over, not just us, but over the entire universe!   We have to let Christ rule over us without restriction of the circumstances with which we’re faced!   We have to allow Jesus to enter into our hearts, minds, and souls unreservedly and to give us the graces we need to live and act as God’s faithful servants, every moment, of every day. We have to allow Christ our King to do the miraculous in and around us and to expect such divine intervention to continue as a constant sign of God’s great love for us!  

One miraculous way in which God demonstrated his divine power was by his inbreaking into human history, as a little baby born in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago.   Science can’t explain how a Virgin became the Mother of God.   Science can’t explain how this little baby would be fully God and fully human at the same time.  Science can’t explain why God chose that particular time and place in human history to take on human flesh and to dwell among us!   No, all of the events leading up to the incarnation of the Son of God were miraculous events, orchestrated by God!  They were miraculous events that could only occur by the direct and purposeful intervention of a God who longs to reveal himself to every human being.   


And though the miraculous events that I’ve described are well-known to believers, those miraculous events weren’t meant to be the end of God’s ability to do the miraculous in and around us!   Far from it!  Those miraculous events were just the beginning of God invitation to humankind to fully grasp the awesome height, length, width, and depth of God’s almighty power and authority.  For our part, we’re being invited to accept and celebrate the miracles God does all around us.  For our part, we’re being challenged to acknowledge that Christ, our King, continually desires to demonstrate his dominion  and authority over the entire universe and all that’s in it, in many and splendored ways.  

That’s all fine and dandy, you may be saying to yourself, but what about now, what about in my life now?  How is God doing the miraculous in my life right now?    How is God helping me to cope with this pandemic and with the restrictions we’re under?   How is God keeping me from going stir-crazy in an uncertain world facing an uncertain end-time for this pandemic?  Certainly, it takes the eyes of faith to see clearly, at times, the ways in which God may be effecting the miraculous in our day-to-day living, especially in this time of pandemic. 

Sometimes, it’s the simple, ordinary events in our day that we weren’t expecting that gave us a glimmer of the divine among us.   —An unexpected call from a long-time friend who just had an urge us call us out of the blue.   —a surprising cuddle from a pet cat or dog that jumps up on the couch to be near us.    —an article we read about a local community helping strangers recover from the effects of flooding or a natural disaster.  —a person ahead of us at a drive through who pays for our coffee without ever knowing who we are. 

Sometimes, it’s a clear and direct intervention by God that can’t be explained in any other way.  Consider the miraculous and spontaneous healings of people not expected to survive!  

Consider miraculous near-death experiences and the stories that those who come back recount of the afterlife! Consider the miraculous conversions of heart in people who once tried to denigrate and diminish the Christian faith and now have become its staunchest missionary disciples!   Consider miraculous births of babies overcoming seemingly insurmountable medical complications!    Consider the miracle of two lonely people meeting and falling in love with one another by chance and starting a family together!   Consider the miracle of being inspired by one verse of scripture to go and change the world for the poor, the marginalized, the despairing, and the downtrodden!   Consider the miracle of leading another to faith in God, who had once believed in a cold, cruel, hostile, and random universe.  

Most often, the miraculous happen when our lives are attuned to the living, fiery presence of the Holy Spirit inside of us, gently guiding and leading us to fulfill God’s plan for our lives or to assist those around us.  I’ve discovered in my life, that the more time I spend in silent meditation at the beginning of the day with God’s Holy Spirit, the more miraculous my own day-to-day interactions become!   The more time each of us spends in prayer to the Holy Spirit, the more readily we’ll be able to hear God’s voice speak to us throughout our day, urging us to accomplish God’s will and to have faith in God’s power to bring about the miraculous through a generous outpouring of divine grace.   

When we’re properly disposed, that’s exactly what happens when we come together for Mass!   We see the great miracle of the Eucharist, of Jesus coming down to us from heaven, in the form of bread and wine!  We experience the great miracle of Jesus coming to us in his Divine Word too, and speaking to the deepest recesses of our hearts, sometimes urging us to repent and, at other times, urging us to greater action to extend God’s kingdom!   

As servants of Christ our King, we’re also commissioned to leave the mass, forever transformed by the Word and Sacrament we’ve received, to become, in a very real way, the illuminating, divine presence of God, living and breathing in our world, and interacting with all those who are sorely looking for the miraculous and have given up all hope.   May this upcoming advent season provide the opportunity for us to expect miracles in our lives and all around us as we prepare to commemorate one of the greatest miracles of all— the birth of our Lord, King, and Savior, Jesus Christ.        


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