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Bishop's Homily for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King

November 26, 2023

[Annunciation Church, Waimea (20th anniversary of Dedication of the Church); Ascension Mission, Puako]

Who do you think you are?

You might be surprised to discover who you really are.  As we come together in Annunciation Church to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its dedication, we will be blessing its newly refurbished tabernacle.  During this time of Eucharistic Revival in our country, we are trying to rediscover the great gift that the Eucharist is to us, so it is very appropriate to bless this tabernacle.  We know that it is a sacred place in which the Body of the risen Jesus, who makes himself physically present to us in the Eucharist, will be reserved.  From the tabernacle, the Body of the Lord will be available to the sick and the dying, and for adoration and prayer outside of Mass.  It is a special place to which we genuflect when we come into the presence of the Lord.  We treat it with great reverence, not so much for itself, but for what is in it, the risen Lord Jesus, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.

But do you ever think of the fact that the very same Jesus we place in the tabernacle is also placed in you whenever you receive Holy Communion?  He enters into you in an intimate and holy communion.  He does this not only because he loves you and wants to be with you, but because he wants to leave this church, and to go out wherever you go so that his healing love can be in your home, your place of work, your school, your sports team, your community and in all the world.  Our first reading tells us that God himself will shepherd his people, and he does that by entering us and calling us into communion with him, so that we actually become what we eat.  Jesus wants to live in your family, so that he can take his love and healing there.  He wants to be in your workplace, so that you can better understand the great gift that work is and offer your work justly for the good of the world.  He wants to be in your school so that he can help you learn about the wonderful world God has made.  He can shepherd his people by ingeniously entering you, and sending you out to shepherd in his name.  You are the tabernacle that takes him out.  And although no one should be genuflecting to you, they should be a light burning brightly that shows them clearly that they are encountering not just you, but God himself in Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who wants to be King of every heart and every place.

Jesus wants to be King not only in this church, on this altar, or in this tabernacle, but he wants to extend his reign to every home, every community, and every nation.  And he does this through us who become members of his Body when we eat his flesh and drink his blood.  In us, he goes out to all the world so that he can rule over all.

We act in his name when we feed the hungry or give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, or visit the sick and imprisoned.  Jesus reminds us that when we do these things to the least among us, we do them to him.  We might help feed him by supporting or volunteering for the parish food pantry, but also by noticing those who are hungry for human contact and for wise direction in their lives. We can visit the sick in their homes or in hospitals, but we can also reach out to them with our prayers, or by preparing a meal or doing some errand that they are not able to do.  We can certainly visit those who are behind bars in prison, and we can bring them much hope and love; but there are others who are imprisoned in other ways.  Perhaps someone is caring for a loved one 24/7 and feels extremely confined.  We can visit them, call them, run errands for them, or support them in many different ways.  When we do these things, we do them for Jesus Christ himself.

But we must also remember that we do these things as Christ’s Body, so that his saving presence, which we encounter in the Eucharist, can go out from here so that he can himself shepherd his people, and rule over every person, place, and community as the King.

Who do you think you are?  Much more than you can possibly imagine!