|SUNDAY HOMILIES FOR YEAR C|
|By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, cssp|
|Homily for Solemnity of Christ the King - on the Epistle|
All Things Are Through Him and for Him
|2 Samuel 5:1-3||Colossians 1:12-20||Luke 23:35-43|
One of the most challenging articles of the Christian faith, especially for African Christians, is the very first one: "I believe is God, the father almighty, creator of heaven and earth." Most Christians will readily admit that they believe in God, who loves us as a father and to whom all power belongs. In our day to day lives, however, we often act as if some power belongs to some other beings or creatures that are in rivalry with God. When confronted with this apparent contradiction between what they profess and how they live, such Christians try to justify their fear of demonic spirits by pointing out that God did not take away the powers of the devil. It is true that God did not take away the powers of the devil and his fallen angels. This is because God knows that there is no way that the devil could use his "powers" to successfully challenge God and God's design in the world. In spite of the devil's powers, God still remains all-powerful.
Today's second reading from the Letter to the Colossians reminds us that this all-powerful nature of God which we hold to be true irrespective of the "powers" of demonic spirits, is equally true of Christ. The passage presents a list of reasons why we should believe in Christ as our all-powerful Lord, the existence and activity of demonic forces notwithstanding, as well as the implications of this belief for Christian living.
(1) Christ is God made visible and the fullness of God dwells in him. "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation" (Col 1:15) and "in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell" (Col 1:19). That is to say, all that we can say of God, we can also say of Christ. He is Immanuel, "God with us." To have Christ is to have the fullness of the Godhead on your side.
(2) Christ is the co-creator through whom all things were created. "For in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers" (Col 1:16a). This means all things: visible things on earth and invisible forces in heavenly places, "whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers." Demonic beings, together with the limited powers they are supposed to possess, were created in Christ, that is, with Christ's involvement. Their created powers cannot rival or challenge the divine, uncreated powers of Christ. Just as the thickest darkness cannot overcome, but must flee before the candlelight, so the most demonic of forces cannot nullify the purpose of God in Christ.
(3) All things are for Christ. Over and above the fact that all things in heaven and on earth were created through Christ is the fact that they were created for him. "All things have been created through him and for him" (Col 1:16b). In a mysterious way that is too deep for us to grasp in this life, all things ultimately work together for Christ, including principalities and powers. This is what we see so graphically depicted in the story of Job, where Satan is clearly at the service of God, even as he goes around creating hardships and temptations for Job. In the end, all things will submit to Christ, just as they were all created for him.
(4) In Christ all the opposites we experience in life find a final resolution. In him they find their ultimate reconciliation. "Through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross" (Col 1:20). Classical theology speaks of God as the coincidentia oppositorum, "the coming together of opposites." In Christ all the dualities we experience in life, for example, between male and female, natural and spiritual, good and bad come together in perfect harmony. Christ is Lord of all things: in him positive and negative come together in perfect unity.
What relevance does this understanding of the cosmic role of Christ have for us today as we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King? We see that Christ is king not only of the political but also of the spiritual realm. His authority prevails not only in nature but also in supernature. Just as the kings and rulers of the nations have power in the political order, yet the power of Christ prevails in all the earth, so the demons and principalities and powers have power in the spiritual order, yet it is the power of Christ that prevails even in supernatural realm. Christians, therefore, need not live in fear of demonic forces either in their personal lives or in their lives together as a church. In spite of all appearances to the contrary, Christ remains "the head of the body, the church" (verse 18). Christ himself promised that "the gates of Hell will not prevail against it" (Matt 16:18). As we thank God today for the kingship of Christ, let us resolve to live in confidence as God's own children and not in fear of demonic forces, since Christ is king over them all.
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