Homily: Christ the King


There are two kinds of kings, the oppressor and the liberator.

The oppressor oppresses. His first act of oppression is conquest. He acquires lands and peoples and declares them his possessions. Once he acquires the documents to prove that they have become his properties, such properties become subjects at his disposal. To him, people are not citizens but subjects. In reality, they are not only subjects, but oppressed. To him, the oppressed are filthy. Most of the time, he distances himself from them. The oppressed are ignorant, too. He sends his wise men to educate them. The oppressed are poor and miserable. He presents himself as their charitable king.

The National Elections is six months away. We will once again be subjected to an election of no choice. Our election is always a story of the oppressed choosing from among the different types of oppressors. We cannot distinguish the oppressors from behaviors. They are all the same. The only distinguishing marks are their family names.

They are the pseudo-leaders whom we see and hear during elections. For a scrap of pork, we lend them our eyes and ears for an hour or two during campaign. We know that what they say are lies. We go anyway. After they win the elections, they have to distance themselves from us. That keeps them healthy. We are a dirty people. We are like lepers. Distance from us means health for them.

They are the pseudo-teachers who lecture us on constitution and state policies, about ‘deals and no deals,’ about taxation, reproduction and progress, about security and tanim bala. For a scrap of pork, we ought to listen to them, but we ought not argue. Oppressors are not comfortable with questions. They are insecure of their power and claim as the learned in the society. We, the oppressed, are ignorant. Even our questions are reflection of our ignorance. In exchange for their wisdom, we ought to repay them with unquestioning loyalty.

They are the pseudo-kings who possess all the treasures of the state. They are rich because they are learned and industrious. We are ignorant and lazy. For a scrap of pork, we have to fall in line and beg from them. We are but beggars, and thieves. Our sacred duty is to beg for money and mercy from them. We ought to make them feel generous. They become suspicious of us when we no longer beg from them.

The liberator liberates. His first act of liberation is to go to the periphery and seek out the oppressed. While the oppressor is blind to his act of oppression, the liberator is able to see oppression and find the oppressed. Then he listens to their untold stories.

Today’s gospel and solemnity gives us a glimpse of hope for our country. A genuine leader exists. An authentic teacher lives. A true mighty king remains. He is Jesus. For our story of dirt and illness, He grants us forgiveness and compassion. For a scrap of bread, he gives us nourishment and health. For our confession of ignorance, He grants us light and understanding. For opening up our empty hearts, He fills us up with hope and love.