Homily while in training - Saint Paul University Seminary - S.P. Institute of Pastoral Studies - St. Elizabeth Parish, Ottawa - Solemnity of Christ the King, Nov. 22, 1981

Well, it looks like God is making us an offer we can’t refuse: it’s either unending happiness or unending pain and loneliness. At first hearing, that sounds pretty scary! But as we give it more time, it seems as though Jesus is really telling us something about belonging. We often experience belonging, but we don’t often think about it.

With something like hunger, it’s different: we know that the empty feeling and the growling in our stomach won’t go away until we have something to eat. Or when our mouth is dry; it won’t feel better until we have something refreshing to drink. Now that the days re chilly, we wear sweaters and turn on the stove or furnace to keep warm. A lot of these things we can get for ourselves, but when new receive them from someone who cares about us, we really feel that we belong. And when we go without them for a long while, we begin to feel that we don’t belong to anyone – “Nobody really cares about me!”

Chances are, though, that we can remember at least one time in our life when we felt we belonged to someone, to a very special person. Perhaps it was the handshake, or a smile, that really gave a warm feeling inside. Perhaps it was a gentle kiss, a loving embrace, or a great big bear hug! Maybe someone tucked us into bed at night with a favorite fuzzy. It’s good to belong to someone special. That’s an offer that’s too good to refuse. It’s someone offering themselves that makes a difference.

At times, we might know someone who’s lonely or cold, and we feel badly for them. Like Jesus, we know what it’s like to feel hungry or tired, afraid or rejected. This is the moment to let that person know somehow that we care; that we’re ready to go out of our way for them. If we do, it becomes possible for them to feel that they belong. This is how the Father lets us know that we’re loved, that we belong – through the little caring things of every day.

In a way, our God is terribly weak, almost helpless. For 1000’s of years people have called him King, and he is. And yet he needs us to let people know that they are loved…. Have you ever met someone who is suffering, hurt or angry? If you try to tell them about God’s love and no one has ever cared for them it won’t take long for them to tell you where to go! It’s very difficult for us to know God loves us if we haven’t first felt the caring touch of another’s love.

The Father depends on us to let others know they are loved…. He depends on others to let us know we are loved… and He gives us the same strength He gave to Jesus: a Love so strong that it gives life that lasts forever. This love is a seed that sprouts in us – after we die, it will become fully grown and bear much fruit – and even now it is rowing, showing some flowers and even some fruit.

Jesus loves us first – He is the first One, our older brother – and his Spirit meets us in the quiet of our heart: that place where we can decide to care for someone, or not to care. We don’t have the strength ourselves to love as well as we would like, but Jesus gives us the strength to try. His Love within us only becomes real for others when we let it come out and touch someone – especially when it’s hard to do, or if it’s for someone we don’t like…. And when we do, that’s when we belong to Jesus the most. His Kingdom is about the giving of life… and we proclaim him our King when we share his love that wells up within us with one another. Jesus is the first of many brothers and sisters.

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© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC

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