Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
King of the Universe
November 26, 2017
Fr. José Maria Alvim Cortes, F.S.C.B.
Sunday Reading Meditations
Today we are celebrating the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King. It is a very special day for our parish. Jesus is the King of the Universe and Lord of everything. Today we contemplate him in glory and power. However, his royalty is unique. Seated upon a glorious throne, Jesus says, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me” (Mt 25:34–35).
Jesus’ royalty is a paradox. He is seated upon a throne of glory and, at the same time, identifies himself with the poorest of the poor.
I am reading a biography of Steve Jobs. It
mentions his abandonment of faith when he was a teenager, which caught my
attention, and I quote: “In July 1968, Life Magazine published a shocking
cover showing a pair of starving children in Biafra. Jobs took it to Sunday
school and confronted the church’s pastor. ‘If I raise my finger, will God know
which one I’m going to raise even before I do it?’ The pastor answered, ‘Yes,
God knows everything.’ Jobs then pulled out the Life cover and asked,
‘Well, does God know about this and what’s going to happen to those children?’
‘Steve, I know you don’t understand, but yes, God knows about that.’ Jobs
announced that he didn’t want to have anything to do with worshipping such a
God, and he never went back to church.”
The problems of evil in the world and the suffering of the innocents are the reasons why many people do not believe in God. Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Where is God if the power of evil is so great?
When Pope Benedict XVI went to Auschwitz in May 2006, he said: “How many questions arise in this place! Constantly the question comes up: Where was God in those days? Why was he silent? How could he permit this endless slaughter, this triumph of evil? The words of Psalm 44 come to mind, Israel’s lament for its woes: ‘You have broken us in the haunt of jackals, and covered us with deep darkness ... because of you we are being killed all day long, and accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not cast us off forever! Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression? For we sink down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground. Rise up, come to our help! Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!’ (Ps 44:19, 22–26).”
Today’s Gospel answers the question where God is when people suffer. Jesus identifies himself with those who suffer: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink...” He is the one who suffers and is asking for help. He is not someone who is looking from afar when we raise our fingers, as Jobs said. He is not a powerful observer.
Sometimes we have a wrong image of God as a powerful old man who controls everything. However, we also have a true image of God as a dead man nailed on the cross. This man is the King of the Universe. His power is only love and infinite compassion for us to the point of a total identification with us.
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Where is God if the power of evil is so great? We can only find the answers to these questions by looking in silence at the crucifix, looking at Our Lord Jesus Christ the King. Amen.
Sunday Reading Meditations