DOMINUS VOBISCUM: A HOMILY ON THE SOLEMNITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE, OLODE
It is almost impossible to find a catholic who has never heard the expression ‘Dominus vobiscum’ which means ‘The Lord be with you’. We have heard this so many times that we do not pay so much attention to it and what it really means. There are three to four times when this expression is used at mass. At the beginning of the mass, this, or any other form is used for the church’s official greeting. It is the official greeting of the church, so that the priest does not need to say ‘Good morning my brothers and sisters’, after saying ‘Dominus vobiscum’. It is also used before the gospel, before the preface and before the final blessing. Interestingly, we have it at the beginning, at two chore moments in the middle, and at the end. The priest does not use this always at the beginning because the priest always has three options for the greeting at the beginning of mass.
This greeting is very loaded. It assures us that the Lord is with us. But it does not only say the Lord should just be with us. Someone can be with you, and you can completely ignore the person. Have you ever gone to visit someone and while you are there, nobody says a word to you and they all act as if you are invisible? This is how Jesus is in the lives of many people. He is just there, but that is just about it.
GIVE DOMINUS DOMINION
I saw in the night vision, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all people, nations and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.: Daniel, in the Old Testament alreay saw a vision of Christ. After being in the Lion’s den, he saw a vision which was both terrifying and consoling at the same time. It was terrifying because he saw four beasts which represented some terrible kingdoms like Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. But he saw another vision which is our First Reading, of the Son of Man. Jesus, especially in the gospel of Mark, always refers to himself as the Son of Man. Anybody who knows the scriptures will know that He is establishing that the vision of Daniel was about Him. This is why we can never understand the Old Testament without the New Testament. At first, Dominion was given to the beasts, and when the Son of Man came, He was destoryed by the beasts, but in the end, he rose up and to Him was given an eternal dominion, kingship and glory. His kingdom can never be destroyed. Let us see the connection between the Latin word ‘Dominus’ and the English word ‘Dominion’. The Dominus is the one who has dominion. The one who has dominion is the one who has a dominant force. He is not just there to be dormant, but to dominate.
MY KING DOMINATES
Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, every one who pierced him; and all tribes on the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.: It is very easy for us to say Christ is the king of the universe and king of our lives. Our king is the one who controls every aspect of our lives. He comes first in everything we do. If Jesus is not first in my life, then Jesus is not my king, because the one who comes first is the one who dominates. Jesus cannot be king of the world if other kings do not make Him their king. Think of our government. How many times are their decisions guided by the word of God. No, we like democracy, which is the voice of the majority. Many of us are living democratic lives, which means we follow whatever the majority of people say and think. But God’s system of Government is not democracy, but Theocracy. Theocracy is the system of government where decisions are made based on what God says.
He has to be dominant because he loves us. He loves us and wants what is best for us. He does not only want what is best for us; He knows what is best for us. He does not only know what is best for us; He is what is best for us. So, things will never go right until Jesus is king. To him should be given dominion. He should be the dominus in our lives. One way to make him the dominant person in our lives is by recognising him as the Alpha and the Omega. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. So we can say He is our A and Z. In a practical way, we can make Jesus the A and Z, by calling upon him at the beginning and at the end of all our activities, like before and after an exam, before and after a journey, before and after an outing, before and after a meal, before and after recieving a visitor, before and after a meeting, before and after work, before and after a phone call, before and after, EVERYTHING. This is a practical way for Him to dominate and become the dominant person in our lives. Thoughts of Him should dominate our minds, which means we should think about Him more than we think about anybody or anything else in this world.
One way for him to be our Alpha and Omega, is by going to bed and waking up on our knees. This means that the first word you utter in the morning is to Him and the last word you utter at night is to Him. For those who are fit, you can kneel beside your bed and let the last part of your body to touch the floor be your knee, and you can make sure that the first part of your body to touch the ground is not your feet, but your knee. This is not a rule of the church, so do not be fuzzy about it. But it is one practical way of demonstrating who is first and last in your life, who is your dominus. If you are not so fit, you can at least say a prayer before going to bed and as soon as you wake up. He should dominate your discussions with family and friends. If someone has a dominant presence in your life, you will talk about them everywhere and to anyone who cares to listen. When you are in love with God, you cannot keep your mouth shut. This would also mean that you will always seek opportunities to be with Him in prayer. If opportunities do not come naturally, you will always make a plan. Those who are in love with God will always make a plan to be at mass, to pray the divine office, to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, etc. But those who are not in love with Him will always make excuses. Do you make plans, or do you make excuses?
WHO IS KING?
At that timee: Pilate said to Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.” Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.“: Pilate seem to be troubled. In his heart of hearts, he knows that Jesus is king. But he wanted Jesus to say it. Yet, Jesus leaves the decision up to him. Jesus does not impose Himself on us. He gives us the freedom to choose or reject Him. We all know that Jesus is the king, but we often try to look for other ways to live our lives without Him. Well, there is no other way. There is only one way. It is either Jesus is dominant in your life, or he is dormant in your life. In that case the dominon goes to the beast. If Jesus does not have dominion in your life, a beast will have dominion in your life, namely the devil. Sometimes we know the truth, but we dont want to hear it. This is why Jesus said only those who love the truth will listen to His voice. Whose voice is always in your head? If it is not the voice of Christ, then Christ is not your king. Sometimes we have several rooms in our lives. We allow Jesus access to most of the rooms, but there is always one or two rooms we try to keep Jesus away from. Well, the dominion of Jesus is meant for all aspects of our lives, down to even how we dress.
Remember that Pilate, after Jesus had died wrote a notice which he hung on the cross. It says ‘Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews’. This is what we see as INRI at the top of most crucifixes. If Pilate, after all his gra gra, finally came to this conclusion, then a christian can do better. We all have a decision to make. Dominus vobiscum does not only mean ‘The Lord be with you’. It also means ‘Let Jesus be the Lord in your life. Let Jesus dominate every aspect of your life. Let Jesus be your king.’ It reminds me of a song that says ‘It is over! It is over! The dominion of satan is over! The dominion of satan is over!’