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Eye on the ball

Today’s feast was promulgated by Pope Pius XI in 1925, to remind people that there is only one king, Christ, and there is only one kingdom, heaven. It was a reminder to people to keep their eye on the ball.

At the time of its instigation, Europe was in disarray after World War I and the Church had lost much of its lofty position and influence in society.

Certainly the language and idea of kingdom and king was more attractive or easy to understand in the Europe of the 1920s than it would be in many parts of the world today.

For most people in today’s world the concept of our home being the castle is a more attractive image than thinking of it only as the remote place, disconnected from the lives of ordinary people, where a king lives.

Sometimes, the person who wears the crown of the king is far from being the most desirable person in a realm in whom power or prestige should be invested. The gospel stories are extremely strong on this point, especially if we think of characters like Herod and other rulers portrayed by the evangelists.

Pilate was the governor of a small province in the outer Roman empire. Yet, when Jesus stood in front of him, Pilate failed to recognise the true presence of a king.

He also could not understand that a kingdom could exist without depending on large land holdings, vast collections of gold and a decent sized military corps to control the people.

However, even in this day and age, we still refer to people building empires, usually referring to large conglomerates constructed on the hard working backs of other people. These empires keep their power and control the people by controlling commodities like food, clothes, transport and other essentials in life.

Like Pilate, the people who sit at the top of these modern day empires probably will not recognise the kingly qualities in Jesus.

The kingdom we celebrate today has lots of room for equality, justice, compassion and the knowledge that Jesus is king of our hearts.

In 1925, the leader of our Church sensed that we had lost recognition of Jesus as the master of our lives, resulting in a loss of a sense of who we are in the sight of God and with each other.

It also led to a loss of clarity in recognising the aim of our lives, resulting in people spending energy and time working to build up kingdoms that will not last and castles made of sand, grass dreams.

People had stopped building lives suited for heaven and were concentrating on building empires suited only for the here and now. So Pope Pius established the feast, perhaps to help us remember to establish a life both for now and forever after.

In today’s Mass we read in the Book of Revelation, “This is the truth. Amen. ‘I am the alpha and the omega’ says the Lord God, who is, who was, and who is to come, the almighty.”

With this focus in mind, we will be well able to celebrate Christ our saviour as our king.

Diocese of Sandhurst Bulletin