Homily: Father Mike Kuse
Blessed Sacrament Parish
November 25, 2012 - Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
10 AM Service
What would be your image of the Kingdom that Jesus talks about where there is justice and peace? He doesn't say everybody is going to be happy, he doesn't say there isn't going to be suffering. But he says, “The voice that you listen to is the voice that will bring justice and peace to everyone.” Why is it that we, not just individually but collectively, so often do not hear that voice?
All you have to do is listen to the radio or watch TV and wait for “breaking news.” The “breaking news” is seldom when they are announcing peace and justice for the entire world. But the news makes us aware that the world that Jesus talks about is not achieved overnight or without any effort. If you and I think about it, we know when we are living in the Kingdom - Jesus rules and lives as King. And his Kingdom is not about money and power.
He surrendered everything to die on the cross. And whenever he worked miracles to bring about peace he would say, “Your faith has saved you.” When has our faith saved all of us? The answer is - it does, day in and day out. Our faith is constantly saving us and it's when we bring joy, it's when people can have a good laugh, and when people can cry because they are suffering. Jesus says, “That's what my Kingdom is all about. But I call each one of you to make a difference, and to hear the voice within you.”
You know, we like to imitate each other. We like to claim ourselves as being fiercely independent, “No one can tell me what to do. I know I am going to Heaven and I am going to make my own decisions.” Jesus would say, “I don't know where you're going, because that's not my Kingdom. My Kingdom is when people imitate you, and then make a difference.”
The other day there was a show that the kids watch early in the morning and in this show was a man and two children. This man was very happy and the children were very happy. He was going to give them a lesson in art. It was fascinating to watch because these two children held on to everything the man was showing them and telling them to do.
He said to the children, “First, here is your sheet of paper and we are going to put different colors on the paper as we prepare our masterpiece. We are going to use some brown and some green and some red paint.” Then he said, “Now watch me.” He took his arm, put his arm in the brown paint, transferred it to the paper, and that became the trunk of the tree. Then the children did the same thing and the man told them how well they had done.
Then he said, “Now we are going to use the green paint. This time I want you to put your whole hand in the green paint. Then take your hand and place it on your paper right above the brown truck of the tree.” And the children did this and made all the branches of the tree for their masterpiece.
Then the man said, “Now watch me. We're going to make an apple tree. We are each going to take an apple and cut it in half, then we are going to take a plastic fork and stick it in the apple, and then dip our apples in the red paint. Now - watch me do this.” And he did this several times and said, “There are my apples. Now let me see you do it.”
The little girl dipped her apple in the red paint and she made apples all over the place on her masterpiece. The boy put his apple in the paint, and he just made a couple of apples.
Then the man said, “Look what we've done.”
The interesting thing was to see that obviously the man's hand and arm were larger so his tree and apples were bigger. The little girl's was smaller, and the little boy's was a little bit bigger than hers.
But when they got finished they all had a tree and they all had expressed what this tree meant, and why there was one apple, or many apples, or a couple of apples. The children learned from that man. They were smiling the entire time.
Now Jesus says to us, “What would you like to do? Now watch me.” And then all of a sudden we watch Jesus and he says, “I don't want you to just imitate me, I want you to become me. And we are not going to paint a picture. We're going to delve into real life. I am going to send you all to different places. You don't have to go that far because the message of my Kingdom is right in front of your nose. So watch carefully what I do.”
Can you imagine Jesus walking into a school where a young boy or girl is being bullied and made fun of to the point that they are thinking of suicide? Some kids are laughing. Some are frozen.
And where would you or I be? Would we say, “You know it's too bad that goes on in the school. Now everybody line up and let's just go here.” Does that solve anything?
Jesus says, “If I walked into that school I would sit those two down and say, 'Do you love me? Because I love you. Why don't you love each other? Why is it that you think you're better than this person? Why don't you give the voice that's in your heart to this person, because you all have my voice and I want you to live in peace. To destroy each other is not my Kingdom.' ”
Bullying is sad. But children are acting out, and they're imitating someone else - just like painting the apple tree. They're watching someone else. They're listening to someone else. Someone else allows it to be.
The “breaking news” will be that a young man walked into a cafeteria or a classroom, armed to kill a hundred people out of anger he has inside. And Jesus says, “That's not my Kingdom.” Every child, every human being, should be free and happy and always attentive to the needs of everyone else.
It gives us something to think about because the Kingdom is a Kingdom of justice and peace. When the children were painting a picture and following the gentleman teaching - they discovered the Kingdom. But when the two children were hurting each other and acting out, and imitating a force that is not part of Jesus - they were not enjoying the Kingdom.
Both sides hurt. The boy or girl who is being victimized is hurting painfully. But also the child doing the bullying is hurting. We're missing something in life. That's why today when Jesus is King of the universe, you have to have the voice inside that knows how to laugh, how to shed tears, how to live in peace, how to accept each other, forgive each other, pray for one another, love one another. Jesus says, “It's the only way, and I will always be there for you.”
May you and I strive this week to live our life in such a way that someone just might walk up and say, “You really seem to be happy. What is it?”
Or someone might come up and say, “You're not yourself. There's just a lot of unsettled anger inside of you. Can I help you?”
Some moments we carry the cross. Other moments we enjoy what the cross stands for - and it is justice and peace.
Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.