Pope Francis preaches the centrality of Christ, in three ways. Christ at the center of creation, of his people, and of history:
1. The apostle Paul, in the second reading, taken from the letter to the Colossians, offers us a profound vision of the centrality of Jesus. He presents Christ to us as the first-born of all creation: in him, through him and for him all things were created. He is the center of all things, he is the beginning. God has given him the fullness, the totality, so that in him all things might be reconciled (cf. Col 1:12-20).
Citing that early Christian canticle, it’s more than just a vision, it’s an inspirational lyric.
This image enables to see that Jesus is the center of creation; and so the attitude demanded of us as true believers is that of recognizing and accepting in our lives the centrality of Jesus Christ, in our thoughts, in our words and in our works. When this center is lost, when it is replaced by something else, only harm can result for everything around us and for ourselves.
So rarely do the historical narratives get interpreted in such a way as this, at least in the homilies I hear. Most often the Gospel is emphasized.
2. Besides being the center of creation, Christ is the center of the people of God. We see this in the first reading which describes the time when the tribes of Israel came to look for David and anointed him king of Israel before the Lord (cf. 2 Sam 5:1-3). In searching for an ideal king, the people were seeking God himself: a God who would be close to them, who would accompany them on their journey, who would be a brother to them.
Christ, the descendant of King David, is the “brother” around whom God’s people come together. It is he who cares for his people, for all of us, even at the price of his life. In him we are all one; united with him, we share a single journey, a single destiny.
3. Finally, Christ is the center of the history of the human race and of every man and woman. To him we can bring the joys and the hopes, the sorrows and troubles which are part of our lives. When Jesus is the center, light shines even amid the darkest times of our lives; he gives us hope, as he does to the good thief in today’s Gospel.
My pastor preached similarly today, how Christ is essential for Christianity. Seems like a no-brainer. But it must be said.