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Homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King, Year A

This Sunday we celebrate the fact that Christ is King, not just of Thame, or

Oxfordshire, or even of the UK, or even of the whole world, but of the

whole universe. Everything and everyone are under His dominion,

whether they are aware of it and serve Him or not. On Thursday, I

celebrated Mass in school with Yrs 3 & 4, and I asked them who had seen

or read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Many hands went up and

there were many enthusiastic responses to the questions I asked. The lion,

Aslan, represents Christ. Four children accidentally find their way into a

place called Narnia, a land which is under the spell of the witch, which is

why it is always winter and never Christmas. But when Aslan makes his

appearance, the witch’s power already begins to weaken, and so the snow

begins to melt and Father Christmas arrives. He gives the children

presents that they will need to help them fulfil the prophecy and rule as

kings and queens of Narnia, after Aslan has helped them defeat the witch

and restore the kingdom.


Of course it goes wrong a bit, because when Edmund first enters Narnia on

his own, he meets the witch who tricks him into thinking she has his best

interests at heart. Edmund rather likes Turkish delight, and she promises

him that he will be able to eat it to his heart’s content if he brings his

brothers and sisters to her palace. When he later returns without them, she

decides to kill him, but thankfully he is rescued at the last moment and

brought to Aslan. Without now telling you the whole story in all its detail,

Aslan later dies on the stone table, sacrificed by the witch. She thinks she

has won. But the following morning, Aslan is back and the stone table is

broken, and soon, the witch is no more.


Starting in 2005 a film version was produced of The Lion, the Witch and

the Wardrobe, and then some of the other books were also dramatized,

although they never got as far as producing a film version of The Silver

Chair. Back in 1988 the BBC began by adapting The Lion, the Witch and

the Wardrobe into a series of short episodes, and then moved onto some of

the other books, getting as far as The Silver Chair. But they never got onto

the very first book in the series, The Magician’s Nephew, which explains

how it all started, how Narnia was made, how the witch got there, how the

professor knew and believed in Narnia, and finally, why the wardrobe had

magical powers.


The whole series of books is a bit like an adaptation of the Bible. In The

Magician’s Nephew, Aslan sings Narnia into existence, just as in Genesis,

the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, bring the whole universe into

being. Have you spotted in Genesis 1 that it says that God created, that He

spoke (His Word) and that His spirit hovered over the water?


God creates the world, including human beings, but the devil’s envy means

that he comes along with a plan of his own to distort things to serve his

own purpose. If in Narnia, people live under the cruel dominion of the

witch, where it is always winter and never Christmas, the devil wants us to

live under his cold rule of sin and death, where there is no love for God or

for each other. When we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate that Christ

came as a vulnerable baby and to lead us by His love to the Father, and

restore love to our lives. To complete that, just as Aslan died on the stone

table, so Christ died on the cross, defeating the devil and death, and

making it obvious to everyone by rising on Easter Sunday. But after that,

we weren’t just left on our own to go our own way and forget about Him.

He gave us the Church, not just to pass on the message of what happened,

but so that we can still encounter the living Jesus today in the Eucharist.

He is with us through all time, to the end of the world.


Just like Peter and Susan, Edmund and Lucy are crowned by Aslan, so we

are now crowned by Christ, firstly in our baptism, when we receive the

Holy Spirit, which is added to further in our confirmation. We are called

to reign with Christ in this life and in the next. If we are to reign, it means

that we need to be in control. With the entry of sin into the world, we lost

control – we found it more difficult to control our thoughts and feelings,

and when they go wrong, there are tears! But now, with Christ, we can

begin to grow in control and mastery. If a king can’t control himself, how

can he expect to rule his kingdom? If a queen doesn’t offer her life to

Christ, then she will struggle to keep herself in order, never mind trying to

give an example to others.


Christ reigns as King: King of kings and Lord of lords. But for us, there

is work to do. We are not born perfect – sometimes we can see that more

easily in other people, but it’s true of ourselves as well. Peter and Susan,

and Edmund and Lucy couldn’t have defeated the witch all by themselves.

We too need Christ if we are to be victorious and to reign.

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