Christ the King Sunday – Subject on the King of kings!
Bottom line: Trust me, more often than not, that is what’s happening! For example, the way we pray… How often do you and I come before God and say “I am here, tell me what You want from me. Tell me Your will, so I can do it.” Or, do we come to God and ask Him for favors and tell Him what WE want! If we are honest, we have to admit we tell God to do OUR will!
Father Martino Nguyen Ba-Thong – Saint Anne Catholic Church – Columbus, GA
Christ The King – Year A – 2008 – [email protected]
Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
Subject on the King of Kings!
I normally do not read newspapers. But I was “forced” into reading the Ledger Enquirer (Columbus Newspaper) this past Thursday, November 20th. By Thursday afternoon, the time I sat down and began writing my Sunday homily, I had received about 30 emails from people asking me what I think about the excommunication of Fr. Roy Bourgeois, the founder of the protest of the School of the Americas. By the time I finished the RCIA Class Thursday night, I had received more than 80 emails. So, I had to read the newspaper to see what was written. You can read the article here: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/story/515642.html
I am happy that people did not ask me about the School of the Americas, because quite frankly, I have no knowledge of what it is and have not had enough time to read about it and research it. But I will address the issue of Father Roy’s excommunication.
After reading the article 3 times, I particularly came to like one of the quotes from Father Roy that says “I have learned that if you don’t fear prison for following your conscience, you are free. There is nothing the Church can do to make me fearful.” The newspaper also mentioned that has been imprisoned three times! I like that too, because he was arrested three times for fighting for the “closing of the school.” I was arrested 11 times fighting for my FAITH in JESUS CHRIST! And the prison in Vietnam is far different than the ones here in America. It is even worse than the “Gitmo Prison.”
As I said, I like his quote. But, I would like to change it a little: “I have learned that if you don’t fear prison for following your faith (and then carry that faith) in Jesus Christ (into daily life), you are free. There is nothing the world can do to make me fearful.” The difference between he and I rests in one word; for me it is faith and for him, it is conscience. I am free to do what Christ and the Church ask me to do! To carry out His teachings! I submit myself to that KING of kings, to that faith in Him! Individual conscience might be wrong, but following Christ’s teachings is never wrong!
To be honest with you, I do not like when people using the words “Racism or Sexism.” Being a Vietnamese, who has always served in mostly white parishes, should I always claim that I am being “discriminated” against whenever a white parishioner challenges my beliefs or teachings? When they disagree with me, that does not mean they are racists.
Same thing applies with “sexism.” When there are more men in one “occupation” than females, that does not mean we are sexists. God created us to be different for the special tasks that He intended us to carry out. I have never heard any men or women complaining that men are discriminated against because God only allows women to conceive and carry babies in their wombs!!! To me, that is one of the greatest blessings a woman can have, because they continue to participate in God’s creation!!!
Why does God do certain things? Neither you nor I, nor anyone knows the answer. But we do know what God did! He chose 12 men to be His first disciples. Were they better than women? I do not think so. So, was God – namely Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, sexist? Did He discriminate against women? If He did, then He is not God because God does not discriminate. And, if Jesus is not God, why are you and I here? Are we out of our minds?
So my dear friends, on this solemnity of Christ the King, I pray that all of us will do everything for the glory of the King of kings and that “His kingdom come, his will be done!” There is no doubt that our faith in Christ needs to be put in action.
Today’s Gospel from Matthew mentions specific actions: (i) feeding the hungry, (ii) giving drink to the thirsty, (iii) clothing the naked, (iv) sheltering the homeless, (v) visiting those in prison, and, (vi) taking care of the sick. Add (vii) burying the dead, and you have the traditional Seven Corporal Works of Mercy.
I am so proud of this faith community of St. Anne for all the good things you have done and continue to do for others. Quite frankly, I believe you are performing all Seven Corporal Works of Mercy! And, I am blessed to be a part of this! You help me to grow in my own faith in God!
This week is Commitment Sunday for our Renewal of Stewardship of Treasure. Even with hardships due to world economics, you continue to make sacrifices to give to the Church – to help the Church continue its work of Christ! Thank you, for your sacrifices!!! I always remind myself and other staff members that we need to carry out these works for the glory of God because, if we don’t, then we become what Paul calls “clashing symbols and sounding gongs.” We are human, and it is so easy for us to “follow our will, rather than God’s will!” We need to perform these works, make these sacrifices “for Christ, with Christ and through Christ!”
And trust me, more often than not, that is what’s happening! For example, the way we pray… How often do you and I come before God and say “I am here, tell me what You want from me. Tell me Your will, so I can do it.” Or, do we come to God and ask Him for favors and tell Him what WE want! If we are honest, we have to admit we tell God to do OUR will!
So my dear friends, let us pray that God’s will be done in your life and my life! May we listen to God’s will and not challenge or question why God did what He did. May all that we do give the glory to God! May all the glory, honor and kingship be given to Christ – the King of kings now and forever, Amen!
Fr. Martino Nguyen Ba-Thong