Jesus told his disciples a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.’
On Sunday the Church’s liturgical year drew to a close with the Festival of Christ the King. The journey from Advent, through Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, the Ascension, Pentecost and Ordinary Time came to its natural conclusion as we paused to reflect upon the miraculous baby who revealed his divine Kingship by overcoming all that defeats our humanity. Then, because our human memories are feeble, and because we forget our place in the divine hierarchy, the journey of reflection and celebration begins again. Whether we are among those who will adopt a stoic and fatalistic air as another year draws to a close, or whether we will approach the new year with a sense of hope and joy, the message in today’s reading is one that we should hold dear to our hearts: Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Throughout history there have been many who have sought to lead humanity away from God. They have contradicted God’s word and they have offered alternative ways in which they would have us live out our daily lives. But … those human philosophies have always proved to be flawed because they have nothing to do with the one of whom we read each Christmas: the Word that became flesh and lived among us.
During his time on earth, the Word, that is Jesus Christ, was subjected to all the horrors of human scorn and derision, even to the point of death. But, he went on to reveal his divine Kingship by conquering the ultimate weapon that humanity could throw at him … death itself.
In our world, kingship has often been awarded to those who are perceived to be the strongest, the most cunning, the most adroit at manipulating worldly stratagems. This is not so with the true King, the one who is the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ power and Kingship was revealed in a display of humility and weakness. Jesus did not come into this world with great armies and unimaginable wealth. Instead, Jesus brought the model of love and service that is the demonstration of true Godly power.
No matter what the world may throw at those who espouse a faith in Jesus Christ, it remains an indestructible truth that his words will not pass away. As we watch the horrors of inhuman cruelty and excess, Christians can be certain that their real King is King indeed, and that through a careful study and living out of his words, they will come into the presence of the God who loves them with a love that is beyond our wildest imaginings.