“The Lord is king; He is robed in majesty.”
Today we solemnly celebrate the feast of “Christ the King,” a feast of God's kingdom – God's rule.
Jesus Christ, the 'King of Kings' travels with us towards heaven, our ultimate destination. He is our Lord and King and in Him we live and move and have our very being.
He is not just part of our life, but He is at the very center of all our living, and also the beginning and the end, 'the alpha and the omega' of our life and all life.
Now, the word 'King' evokes all kinds of images, and whatever image of king comes to our mind may influence subconsciously our thoughts about this feast.
But what really is this feast of “Christ the King” all about? Is it still relevant to call Christ – The King? Why is it celebrated at the end of the liturgical year?
But to call Jesus Christ “King” is a paradox – and in this is the central paradox of our faith.
The gospel reading from St. John does present Christ as a King, but He is “King” in a different sense. It speaks of a strange confrontation between Pilate, the Roman governor, and Jesus. An encounter between a man who feels, as the chief authority of a colonial regime, that he has unlimited power and Jesus, a traveling preacher who seems to have none.
In the gospel text, Pilate asks Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answers him, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over…but as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”
Then Pilate asks him again, “So you are a king?” And Jesus answers, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.”
Although Jesus does not explicitly respond by saying 'I am a king', He does speak very clearly about 'My kingdom' or 'My kingship'.
He says it is 'NOT OF THIS WORLD'.
In fact, the gospel of St. John presents him as king exactly in his HUMILIATION, standing bound and scourged before Pilate. He is king because He witnesses to the TRUTH; that God is love and that it is by the force of love that God rules the world, and that God has loved us from all eternity.
Jesus as king is quite different from the conventional image. It is very different from the image that Jesus’ own people had of the Messiah-king they eagerly awaited. In front of Pilate at this moment He looks anything but a king.
So, Jesus’ kingdom is not to be compared with the kingdom of the earth. His kingdom is not about ruthless power, or royal attendants, or all those things we think of when thinking of kings. He has no ministers, no servants, He has no royal mantle, no scepter.
On the contrary, HIS CROWN IS OF THORNS, HIS MANTLE BLOODSTAINED. He stands alone, condemned, despised & crucified and on HIS CROSS, WHICH IS HIS THRONE, the inscription on it reads - “JESUS OF NAZARETH, KING OF THE JEWS.”
We call Jesus 'king' because of His value, and because of His authenticity – and in Him we recognize a different kind of power than is normally associated with kingship.
His power is from everlasting and will last forever. It will be victorious, and it often brings surprising victories against all the odds, against the principalities and powers of this world:
“The lord is king; He is robed in majesty.”
The passage chosen for today's second reading from the book of revelation brings together the gospel and first reading.
Behold, He is coming amid the clouds,
And every eye will see Him,
Even those who pierced Him.
All the peoples of the earth will lament Him.
At that point - at the closing of history - everyone will be confronted with an eternal reality – THE ONE WHO IS THE 'ALPHA' AND THE 'OMEGA' revealed as Son of Man and Son of God.
Then they will be faced with a choice - how do they react to this revelation? Will Pilate bend his knee before the one whom he condemned to death? Will Caiaphas? Herod? The soldiers who crucified Him. And what of Judas?
This is the moment foretold by St Paul: “The day when every knee shall bow - every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is indeed lord.”
There is no point in celebrating the Feast of Christ the King unless we bring ourselves under His kingship. It is He who rules our life with love.
We await His final coming at the end of time and we have no complete understanding of what the end of time will be like.
But, to know how it is to happen is of less importance than how we prepare for the moment.
How will each one of us react and respond whenever He comes and
CALLS US BY NAME, AND
CALLS US HOME?
May God bless you all