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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Robert Barron » Robert Barron - Is Jesus the King of Your Life?

Robert Barron - Is Jesus the King of Your Life?

Robert Barron - Is Jesus the King of Your Life?

Peace be with you. Friends, we come today to the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Feast of Christ the King. I always think of the liturgical year as kind of this great procession, at the end of which comes the most important figure, the King. Because in a way this sums up what the Christian life is all about. Is Jesus the King of your life? Is he the Lord of your life in every sense? All the other celebrations of the year in a way are asking that question. They're leading you toward that conclusion, that Christ must be King. Can we say that he's our "dominus," to use that Latin word, and I like it, because it sounds like "dominate" in English, and that's okay. He's meant to be the one who dominates. He's the Lord of every aspect of our lives.

Can we say with Paul, "it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me"? That means he's become the King of every aspect of my life. Because here's the point, everybody. If we say anything but that, we are basically horsing around with Christianity and not living it seriously. Let me say that again. If we say anything other than "Christ is the King of the whole of my life," I'm horsing around with Christianity. I'm not living it properly. If we pay lip service to Jesus (Wasn't he a wonderful figure from the ancient world? Wasn't he an inspiring ethical exemplar?) we're fooling around with Christianity. We're not truly living it.

If we pay attention to him for a few minutes every Sunday and then we live the rest of our lives as though he doesn't even exist, then we are not treating him as the King. We are playing around with Christianity. Shift the metaphor, if we let him into one or two rooms of our house but not the rest of the house, we're horsing around. We're not taking it seriously. To say Christ is King, it means he commands every room in the house. He commands as Lord, as "dominus," every aspect of my life. Anything less than that is not real Christianity. Okay? That's what the feast, I think, of Christ the King means. But I don't want to leave it there just as an abstract statement.

Let's get concrete about it. What does it mean to say that Jesus is the King of your family life and your sexual life? Always talking about sex. I might as well start with that topic, it'll get your attention. It means, first of all, you treat every member of your family as an end and not merely as a means. That's sort of philosophically stated. That's a very important principle. To treat someone as a means is to use that person for your own advantage. I'm going to use you to get something I want. To love is never to treat a human being, especially a member of your family, as a means to your own advancement, your own pleasure, your own projects and plans. Oh no. Every person in your family is an end in himself or herself.

How do you treat your wife, your husband, your kids? As ends or as means? If Jesus is King of your life, you'll never use them that way. Our sexual lives: that simply a means for our own pleasure, or have we situated our sexuality within the context of love? See, to make Christ the King means every aspect of your life comes under the aegis of love, because that's who Jesus is. He comes into the world as the bearer of the divine love. If I'm living my sexual life in a way that I'm just using other people for my pleasure, Christ is not the King of my life. Ask yourself those honest questions. How about this? If I can just get even a little more concrete.

How about the number of children you have? The Bible likes big families. "Be fruitful and multiply" is one of God's great commands. But many, I think, in our culture and society, let's make sure our families are really small so that we can also realize our projects and plans. Is Christ King of your sexual life and your family life if you're thinking predominantly in that way? It's a challenge. Okay. What does it mean to say that Christ is the Lord of your professional life? So all of you who are pursuing a profession, going to work every day. I think, first of all, it might mean, if you're involved in a job that is fundamentally immoral in orientation or purpose, you got to get out of it. Oh, hey, it's a good job, I make a lot of money. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter.

If Christ is King of your professional life, that means you can't be in a job that's fundamentally immoral in purpose and orientation. What if your company is pursuing strategies and policies that are immoral? It means you got to raise your voice and protest. You got to make clear that this is morally wrong, if Christ is Lord, is King of your professional life. It means, I think, furthermore, you should bring, whenever you can, your faith into the workplace. I don't mean in an overbearing, word-on-your-lapel sort of way. But I mean, take advantage of the opportunities to evangelize those around you, to let you know that you're a Christian, that you're a Catholic, that you're proud of your faith.

That means making Christ King of your professional life. That money isn't everything. How often in our professional lives we think, well that's my main value here. Nothing wrong with money-making, of course we need it to support our families and so on, nothing wrong in itself. But if the dominant concern of my professional life is making as much money as I can and not instantiating the kingdom of God, well then Christ is not King of your professional life. Somebody else is, by the way. What does it mean to say that Jesus is the King of your personal life? How about this? This has helped me a little bit. It means that in your personal life, you should feel comfortable doing everything you do in private in such a way that Jesus could be sitting right next to you.

Let me say that again. So, in your personal life, the way you're seeking entertainment, or the way you're seeking diversion, would you be comfortable, whatever you're doing, to have Jesus sitting right next to you while you do it? If not, he's not King of your personal life. Oh no. I better keep him in another room of the house. No, no, whatever you're doing, watching television, you're on the internet, you're going to a ball game, whatever it is in your personal life, your friendships, are you comfortable if Christ is sitting right next to you while you do it? Then he's King of your personal life. It means, everybody, if you're involved in something egregiously immoral in your personal life, and even if no one else knows about it, you've kept it hidden from the prying eyes of other people, but you can't keep it hidden from the eyes of Christ the King.

If you're engaged in something egregiously immoral in your personal life, you got to stop it. Otherwise, he's not King of your personal life. It means that your friendships are wholesome. They lead you in a positive direction. If you have friends, they're decent people, or they're funny, or they're entertaining, or they distract you, but they're not leading you down the right moral path, then Christ is not King of your personal life. Ask yourself that question. Furthermore, it means that you're in steady contact with the Lord through prayer. Prayer is something very private. I spent an hour this morning, as I always do, doing my holy hour, making sure that with all my flaws, believe me I got them, but trying to make sure that I maintain a steady connection with the Lord so that my personal life and all that I do is dedicated to him.

That's what I do in my holy hour in the morning, is I'll say, "Lord, here's what I'm going to do today. May all of it be ordered to you. May all of it be under your aegis". Is prayer basic in your life or something you do on rare occasion? If it is then he's not Lord of your personal life. How about the sacraments, our fellow Catholics? How often do you attend the sacraments? Marriage has gone down, baptisms have gone down, confession for many years has gone down. This can't be healthy in the life of the Church. If the sacraments are the privileged and primary means by which we access Christ, if they become something we do from time to time, then Christ is not King of our personal lives. If he isn't, make him so.

Okay, let's keep going. What does it mean to say that Christ is the King of our minds? Paul says "may that same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus". He speaks too of the renewal of our minds. Well, it means that you think deeply about your faith. How many Catholics have fallen into a kind of indifference when it comes to the deep questions? Oh, that's too much for me, I can't think about all that. I'll give my mind over to lots of other things, but not over to the faith. When's the last time you read a really serious book about the faith? And I don't mean some little pop superficial thing. I mean a serious book that engages your mind and leads you down interesting intellectual paths in regard to the faith. If you're not, then he's not the King of your mind.

When's the last time you looked into serious apologetics? You know, I do this professionally, but there's a massive disaffiliation on the part of young people from the faith. And you know what they say, time and again, in all the surveys? They never got their questions answered. No one explained the faith to them. They got a dumbed-down Catholicism. Well, look, we met the enemy and it's us. If we're not thinking deeply about the faith and we're not able to explain it to our young people, if you can't explain the faith and give others "a reason for the hope that is in you," as St. Peter said, then you're not making Christ the King of your intellectual life. If all your intellectual energy is given over to worldly pursuits, he's not King of your mind.

Would you be happy if your knowledge of literature or history or economics remained at the sixth-grade level? But for so many, it seems to me, their knowledge of the faith remains at the sixth-grade level. If that's true, then Christ is not King of your intellectual life. Finally, what does it mean to say that Christ is King of your body? Oh, Christ is King of my soul or King of my mind. No, but he must be King of your whole person. Means you treat your body with respect. You don't abuse it through the misuse of alcohol or drugs or excessive eating and drinking. Look, many in our society do that all the time. If they do, Christ is not King of their bodies. It means you practice temperance, that great classical virtue. It means you're committed to being as physically fit as you can. Why? Well, because this body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. It's meant to be a vehicle of mission.

If my body is a wreck, I can't do the mission Christ has for me. And if that's the case, then he's not King of my body. It means you're not taking the resurrection of the body seriously. The hope of Christianity is not that the soul escapes from the body. Our hope is that our bodies are resurrected. Well, that means Christ is King of my body, if I'm attentive to this fact. Okay, we could get more and more specific if you want. I've just given you a few examples. But let me just close with this. One thing I love about the Feast of Christ the King, is it proves that the spiritual life, everybody, is not a democracy. I'm all in favor of democracy, don't get me wrong. I don't like kings politically; I'm a proud American, I'm glad we got rid of the king.

I like democratic political systems. But the spiritual life is not a democracy. Christ is not the president. He's not a prime minister. He's not the leader of a party. Because all those figures can be voted out. All those figures can be more or less ignored when they're not suiting our purposes. To say that Christ is King means that he's the "dominus," he's the Lord of the whole of our life. To understand that and take it seriously is to be a true Christian. Not to get it, to marginalize him, is to be horsing around with Christianity. So, Feast of Christ the King, we got to make a decision. Does everything belong to him? Does he belong in every room of the house? Is he King or something else? Everything will depend upon that decision. And God bless you.
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