The Solemnity of Christ the King (B)
Pilate could only conceive of a kingdom in terms of a throne, a palace, a strong army, unlimited wealth, subjects, innumerable servants and vast territory. For him these earthly things made the king, and made him powerful. But Jesus knew that His Kingdom was, is and will always be one of relationship in love and forgiveness, of life in truth and of magnanimity, a kingdom of obedient followers and men of good will.
The characteristics of the Kingship and Kingdom of Christ
- His Kingdom is not of this world, but it is in the world, for it is a kingdom in the Spirit. Jesus said: “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews” (Jn 18:36). St. Paul proclaims, “a person will reap only what he sows, because the one who sows for his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit” (Gal 6:7-8).
- His Kingdom is one of truth and love. Christ is King and also makes His followers participate in His Kingship. His followers also live in truth and in love for Him and for mankind.
- His army is not one with soldiers who carry arms to kill, but one with followers/soldiers who are armed with His Spirit to conquer the powers of evil and who are equipped with truth and love to bring life to all.
- His Kingdom will not be destroyed and will have no end, because He is King and He rules by the power of mercy and love. Despite the fact the there is suffering and pain, they are also redeeming. Despite the fact that there is sin in the world, His power of forgiveness heals. His truth conquers the lies and deceptions of the world, and His love conquers all sin and division. “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice” (Jn 18:37), says the Lord.
Why do people live with the deceptions of the world? Many live in the darkness of the culture of death through abortion, artificial contraception, and elimination of people through wars, genocide, homicide and other means. Many believe that they are better off in this world in their pursuit of absolute power, unlimited wealth and extensive fame for personal aggrandizement. Many people are even hindered from exercising their rights to life, to religious freedom, to dignified work and other human rights. Why? Because they take the Lord Jesus for granted. They do not allow Jesus, the Universal King, to reign in their hearts. The Kingdom of Jesus is a kingdom of truth and He who does not live in truth lives in darkness.
Why is there so much bickering and quarreling among neighbors, division in our families, wars in the world? Because we do not take the Lord seriously. We receive Him in Holy Communion, but we want to subjugate others, be masters of our affairs and reign over relationships. We do not allow Jesus to be King because we are proud, so we do not understand what is to be kind and generous, meek and gentle, and loving and devoted to our families and our community. We lose our humanity and our relationship with the Divinity of Christ because we give up caring for one another. What is the use of our religiosity if we nurture a world of deception? The Kingdom of Jesus is a kingdom of Light, a kingdom of love, a kingdom where He reigns.
Every Sunday (and for some, every day) we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus, and we ask the Lord to reign in our hearts, in our families and in our country. Do we really mean what we ask of Him? If we do, then, we can and should be one in mind and heart and one in faith, as He is the one Lord and King of the Universe, who manifests Himself to the Church. He manifests Himself through our Holy Father, the bishops and priests, who bring Him down to our Altar of sacrifice, around which we gather to celebrate and partake of Him. This Altar of Sacrifice is Jesus Himself. He manifests Himself to each one of us, as we live moral and upright lives. The Book of Revelation tells us that “Jesus Christ, the faithful witness…. made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father” (Rv 1:5-6).
As we allow Jesus to reign in our hearts, our families and our country, we can be joyful like Mary, who, in Her humility, accepted the will of God to be the Mother of Jesus. She joyfully exclaimed, My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior (Luke 1:46-47). The saints accepted Jesus in their hearts, and even in their suffering did not abandon their faith. Now they are joyfully proclaiming God’s praises and glory in His Kingdom.
Let us allow Jesus to reign in our hearts, so that He can make us holy. Let us seek His mercy and love in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and be nourished in the celebration of the Eucharist. And let us bring the life of the King of the universe to our families and to the whole world, as we follow His command to go and teach all nations to be His disciples.