READINGS: Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18:33-37
THEME: THE CLIMAX OF THE OPENING CEREMONY
SOLEMN FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING
Last week, I used the spectacular opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games to illustrate the message of Christ’s second coming. The climax of that ceremony was Queen Elizabeth apparently ‘jumping out’ of the helicopter to the amazement of many people. Similarly, on the last day, after the opening ceremony’s ‘fireworks’ of the darkening of the sun, the diming of the moon, the falling of the stars, and the shaking of the powers of the heavens (Mark 13:24-25), the climax will follow: not an apparent descent but a true and majestic coming down of the King of kings, and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ! For the first reading says: ‘Look, he [Christ] is coming on the clouds; everyone will see him, even those who pierced [crucified] him…. Indeed this shall be so. …He is the Alpha and Omega … the Almighty’ (Rev. 1:7-8; cf. Dan 7:13)!
As Jesus ascended up [2000 years ago] not with the aid of an aircraft or spacecraft [which in any case cannot even reach some other planets in our solar system], so unlike the ‘Queen’, he does not need to be aided by a parachute to descend from above. He will come majestically on the clouds. He will come, unlike the ‘Queen’ who was accompanied by Mr. James Bond, the movie star, but accompanied by the stars of heaven, the angels – not by just a star but myriads of stars.
He will be welcomed not by a national anthem sang by an earthly choir, but by the sweet eternal anthem sang by angelic choir. They will sing not ‘God save our Queen’ but ‘this is the Lamb of God who saves’, for ‘he loves us and has washed away our sins with his blood and made us a kingdom of priests to serve his God and Father; to him, then, be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen’ (Rev. 1:6)!
Pilate did not understand that by condemning Jesus to death, he was fulfilling this profound truth – the mystery of Christ shedding his blood to wash away our sins (gospel reading). Beloved, you and I however do not only know this truth with our minds, we know it in our hearts. That is, we believe that dying he destroyed our death, rising he restored our life, and he will come again, in celestial kingly glory, to save his faithful believers. Beloved, let us by word and deed continue to be faithful to him, so that when he declares the heavenly games officially opened [more than the excited crowd at the London Games], we shall join the great angelic choir to ecstatically sing:
‘Amen, amen, blessings and glory,
Wisdom and thanksgiving,
Power and might
Belong to our God
For ever and ever. Amen’ (Rev. 7:12)!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis