You're gonna have to serve somebody

(November 21, 2021)

Bottom line: "You're gonna have to serve somebody. "Join me - and your other brothers and sisters - walking together under the banner of Christ the King. .

To begin, I thank you for your pledge of Stewardship: time, abilities and financial resources. This is part of your recognition of Jesus as King. Our first reading says:

"the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;
all peoples, nations, and languages serve him."

Jesus is King, but he is a humble king. In the Gospels when the people tried to make king by force, he flees to pray alone to his Father. In today's Gospel, Jesus e stands before Pilate who has power to torture, shame and put him to death. Pilate asks him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus replies, "You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth."

Pilate is not interested in truth, only power. We live in a world where people don't really care about truth for itself. What matters is who controls the narrative. "Truth" is not pursued as a goal, but as a club to beat the other guy.

Jesus is the ultimate truth. When we serve the truth, we serve Jesus. You and I have to make a choice: Who are we going to serve? Our national poet, Bob Dylan, said:

"You may be a construction worker working on a home
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
You might own guns and you might even own tanks
You might be somebody's landlord, you might even own banks

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody"

You know, I don't want to be like the guy who at the end of his life left instructions for someone to stand next to his casket and sing, "I did it my way." It's a nice song, but I hope it does not sum up that man's life. If so he may be in for a surprise. The devil may receive him with an ironic smile. "you thought you were doing it your way. I've got news for you," says Satan. "All the time you were serving me. You were doing it my way."

When we try to do things "my way" we think we are achieving freedom, but we are actually falling into the worse slavery. Slavery to our base self - what psychologists call the "imperial self" that exalts someone over everyone else and even over reality. It's ultimately slavery to the devil. When all is said and done, there are only two banners we can march under: Satan or Christ the King.

Every year at graduation, someone will tell our children, "be true to yourself. Follow your star. Your can be anything you want." Those are pious thoughts and we say without really thinking. But there is a deeper question: Does your life and mine have a purpose? Are we part of a greater plan? The Bible says yes! As God says to the youth Jeremiah: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you..." Life, especially the time of life we call youth, is about discovering God's plan.

How do we discover God's plan? That's what I want to talk about next week. This is especially for youth, but it applies to all of us: Only by discovering God's plan, by finding our purpose, do we have inner peace. We will hear St. Paul says: "conduct yourselves to please God". And Jesus: "Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life..." That's for next week.

For today, I ask you to take this home: "You're gonna have to serve somebody." Join me - and your other brothers and sisters - walking together under the banner of Christ the King. Amen.


Spanish Version

From Archives (Christ the King - Year B):

2018: Trading Illusion for Truth
2015: Something for You Week 5: Power
2012: All or Nothing
2009: Beautiful Impulses
2006: I Am the Alpha and the Omega
2003: He Accepted Jesus as King
2000: True Self Esteem
1997: They Are Ruining my Daughter's Self Esteem

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Summer - Kings and Prophets*

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Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:

Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Kurt Nagel (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

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