With the celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe today, we shall bring to a close the Church’s Liturgical Year. When we come to Church next weekend, we will celebrate the First Sunday of Advent which serves the dual purpose of ushering us into the Advent Season and effectively begins a new Liturgical year, Year “A.” The Solemnity of Christ the King was instituted as a feast in the Liturgical calendar by Pope Pius XI in 1925, and in 1970 its observance was moved from October to the last Sunday of Ordinary Time and thus, the end of the Liturgical year.
Pius XI had instituted this feast with his Encyclical Quas Primas as a response to growing secularism and atheism. He recognized that attempting to thrust Christ and His Holy Law out of public life would result in continuing discord among people and nations. The Solemnity reminds us that while kings, kingdoms and governments come and go, Christ reigns forever.
The First Reading provides an Old Testament foundation to Jesus’ claim to eternal Kingship. The second book of Samuel recounts how David, ancestor of Jesus, was approached by the rest of Israel, his “bone and fl esh,” to ask him to become the Shepherd King over them. With this covenant request, David would go on to establish an everlasting dynasty that would prefigure the eternal kingship of his descendant, heir and successor, Jesus Christ. The First Reading also recalls that David, and by extension, his dynasty, was promised by God to be given kingship, not merely over Israel but over all nations, as well.
In the Second Reading, Paul thanks God the Father for giving the Church, the Body of Christ, a share in the kingship of Christ. The Apostle notes that through Him, we who were in darkness, have been delivered and transferred into the Kingdom of Light wherein we have been endowed with redemption and forgiveness of sins. He concludes by stating that through the shedding of His blood on the Cross (His throne), Jesus has reconciled all humanity with God. The Gospel passage presents a unique exercise of His Kingly Power by Jesus, clearly distinguishing between His Kingship and that of the Kingdoms and governments of the world. While He hung on the cross, crucified by those He came to reconcile to God, Jesus was recognized as “King of the Jews” by Pilate, mocked by Jewish leaders and local authorities and ridiculed even by a criminal, one of those crucified with Him. The latter had no idea what a privilege he allowed to pass. However, a second criminal crucified with Jesus rebuked his fellow condemned criminal and seized the opportunity to ask Jesus to remember him in His kingdom. He recognized the universal Kingship of Christ, seized the moment and so enjoyed the singular privilege of becoming the very first person to enjoy the fullness of the fruits of the redemptive work of Christ.
The Kingship of Christ is different from any other kind of rulership in this world. Jesus is a Servant King, a Merciful Judge, His throne is the Cross, the emblem of suffering and shame and so anyone who stands under His banner cannot wish away suffering for the sake of the kingdom and should embrace redemptive suffering in order to stay as subjects of His reign. Acknowledging Christ as King in our lives, homes, Church, community and time is not a matter of verbal declarations but of active witnessing by our life experience. If Christ occupies the most important place in our lives, if we consider His will over and above ours, if we live in accordance with His precepts and teachings, and if we constantly imitate His kindness and sacrificial love duplicating them in our lives, then He truly is King in our hearts.
May we humbly off er our wills in service to the Servant King, may Jesus reign in our hearts, and may we become true instruments of peace, love and godliness in our community.
Please be kind and may God bless you.
Fr. ManassehBACK TO LIST