Sunday, 22 November 2009

Christ the King, Youth Sunday, Year B, Shaftesbury

Jn 18:33-37; Dan 7:13-14
When people think of politicians and royalty today, they often get rather cynical. And while such cynicism isn’t always healthy, I think it is a sign that we do tend to want something quite important from our leaders. There is part of us that does want someone to look up to, someone to inspire us, someone we can depend on, someone to guide us, someone that can cure all of our own problems and all of society’s.

In the hymn that we often sing of this Sunday, we ask Christ the King to “Guide the youth”. And the reason that hymn gives for Him to be the one to guide the youth is the fact that He is “King of truth”. It is precisely because He is truth that He can be the king and leader that we hope for, that He can be the one we look to to guide us.

The claim that Jesus is not just honest and truthful, but that He is truth itself is the most complete and exclusive claim that Christians make about Christ. We do not say that He is part of the truth, or even that He is most of the truth, but that He is truth itself. Anything else in the world, any other teacher or prophet, or any other religion, can only possess truth to the extent that it measures up to what Christ Himself said, what Christ did, and what Christ is.

This claim about Jesus isn’t one we arrogantly make ourselves, it was one He made Himself. He said, “I am the way the TRUTH and the life”. We heard Him repeat this in front of Pilate in the gospel passage just read. He said, “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”(Jn 18:37).

Jesus didn’t make this claim lightly or flippantly. He made it because it flowed out of His very being, out of the fact that He was God and He knew it. He knew He had authority over everything in this world because this world is His creation, He is the one who gives it life and direction.

It’s because of this that we can look to Jesus. Look to Him as king of the cosmos, and king of our own hearts. Because He is truth, He is therefore the truth for us, the one who gives meaning and direction to us. If we build our lives on Him then we build them on a firm and sure foundation, a way to happiness and fulfilment.
Youth is a time in life when we make many choices for our future, choices that our long-term happiness depends on. What we need to depend and build on is the truth, and that’s why there is a natural connection between today’s feast as Christ the King, and as its being Youth Sunday. The King of truth is a king fit for youth.

We know, of course, that many people today are cynical of the whole concept of truth. That was true of Pilate too, He responded to Jesus by saying, “Truth –what is that!”. We know too that many young people today are cynical –gone are the days of idealistic youth protests and demonstrations. Our secular society has failed to give young people a hopeful lead and cynicism is a unsurprising result. We who are Catholic, and our Catholic youth in particular need to show that there is a source of value and meaning and truth in life that we can depend on, and so there’s no need for the despair of cynicism.

To be a Christian is to live a lifestyle built on values and beliefs different to those around us. But it’s the only thing that can give real value to the life around us. We just heard Jesus say that His kingdom is not of this world, but it is in this world, and ranks with authority over this world. We may get cynical about some leaders, but He the king that can give us a reason to never be cynical, and always have hope.

1 comment:

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