2020-11-22Christ the KingRev. Msgr. Michael J. Motta, D.Min.

Today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. I remember earlier in my priesthood having a dialogue homily with a third grade class on this particular feast day. I asked them to tell me about kings. What are kings and what do you know about them? One youngster raised his hand immediately and replied: Martin Luther King. Speaking of him, today`s date reminds me of November 22, 1963 in American history. This will be the 57th anniversary of President John Kennedy`s assassination. Everyone that is old enough to remember him remembers what he or she was doing on that awful day in 1963.

Since that time, we have learned a lot more about President Kennedy. Much of it has been scandalous. But for me back in the 60`s John Kennedy was a hero. I was in my first year of high school when he became President. He helped me to be proud of the fact that I was Catholic. He made it possible for us Catholics to dream dreams of doing something important with our lives - even maybe becoming President of the United States.

What I remember most about him was what he said: Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country. It convinced me that I wanted to be a priest.I wanted to help people in my life. I interpreted his statement to mean more than just doing something for my country. I wanted to do something on behalf of humanity. I wanted to do something for God and the Church. I wanted to do something positive with my life.

For me, that`s the essence of today`s feast. Jesus said to his followers that the greatest among them would be the one that served the rest. When he walked the face of the earth, he would have been very uncomfortable with the title of king. Jesus never wanted to be an earthly king. He never needed nor wanted power or material things because he knew those things would never bring him ultimate happiness. Serving people, being good to people, extending the love of God to people - that`s where you find happiness, he said.

How many times have we heard a different message? How many times do we emphasize the fact that we`re #1? We talk so much about winning in life that we don`t prepare our young people for defeat or for the disappointments, or the suffering on the cross that they will encounter in their lives. Unfortunately, getting knocked down and defeated is a part of life. You know what I mean. You can`t learn to ride a bicycle without losing some skin.

Parents, encourage your children to do something positive with their lives because they will be happier and more fulfilled human beings if they do. There are more important things in this life than money. There are more important things than control or power or status. Encourage them to be like Jesus. Help them to help other people. We need more generous people in our society. There are too many selfish people in this world. My friends, ask not what others can do for you, ask what you can do for them. No matter what occupation you choose in life or have already chosen, you will have the opportunity of reaching out to help other people.

There is too much of a "me" first attitude in today`s society. In some cases we have become so cynical, so hardened to the thought of kindness, that we are suspicious of those who are pleasant. And because we are so paranoid about the true motivations of people, we are teaching our children to be suspicious of everyone. It is too bad because although abuses do take place, I still believe that there are more good people in this world than not. We just have to be reminded and encouraged to be kind and to serve the needs of others. Every day presents itself with many opportunities.

Love is really a lot of little things, a pleasant smile, a helping hand, an encouraging word, a compliment - some form of kindness that expresses the love of God. When kindness and love are extended, I believe with all my heart, they come back to us many times over. And when that kindness and love come back to us, we become happier and contented and fulfilled human beings.

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