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Jesus Christ is King!

November 24, 2019

A reflection for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Year C. The readings are Samuel 7:1-3; Psalm 122; Colossians 1:12-20 and Luke 23:35-43.

Mosaic of Christ Pantokrator, Basilica Saint Paul Beyond Walls, Rome.

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, but before we talk about what it means that Jesus is king, let me ask you a few questions.

  • Who is the king of the jungle?
  • Who is the king of rock n roll?
  • Who is the king of pop?
  • Who is the king of the NBA?
  • Who is the king of soccer? (Answers below*)

Who is the King of the Jews? Who is the King of Heaven? Who is the King of all Creation? Who is the King of Kings? Who is the King of Life?

Who is the King of your life?

If you answered ‘Jesus’ to these last questions, you are correct.

Except, I don’t know about you, but even though I want Jesus to be the King of my life, I don’t know if I always act like it.

A hundred years ago the Feast of Christ the King did not exist. It was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 at a time when many monarchies around the world were being toppled and there was a rise in socialist, nationalist movements: the soviet revolution in Russia, the Spanish civil war, the rise of the national socialist party in Germany, the coming to an end of the Kingdom of Italy. Pope Pius XI wanted to remind us, especially the totalitarian governments of Mussolini in Italy, Hitler in Germany and Stalin in the Soviet Union that Jesus Christ is the only Sovereign King: There is but one monarch, one ruler and one Kingdom, that really matters.

In the first reading we hear about the anointing of David as king of Israel. For the first 7 centuries, the people of Israel did not have a king. But all the other nations had kings and the people of Israel were jealous of them and fascinated by these kings of other nations. And they wanted a king. But the prophets would always say that they didn’t need an earthly king because they had God as their king. If they had an earthly king, they would stop following their heavenly King. But the people insisted and finally God gave in and they got their king: King Saul, the first King of Israel, who wasn’t terrible, but also wasn’t great. Then came King David who was the shepherd-turned-king, and then Solomon, who apparently was a very good king. But after that, as it pertained to kings of Israel, it was hit or miss.

The people of Israel (and their kings) were not great at following God as their king.

It’s the same today. Whether it’s the Old Testament, or 1925 or today, power corrupts. Maybe that’s why I don’t like the image of Jesus as king: Kings are corrupt. But Jesus Christ is a king in a very different way. A king who is called the Good Shepherd; a king who rules from the cross; a King who came to serve and not to be served.

So, for me, the image of king is not a great one. I don’t know what it means to treat Jesus as king. But maybe that’s good. What matters is not that He is king; what matters is why He is king. Jesus is King, because He is God.

Jesus is God. That is what St. Paul is talking about in the second reading: Jesus is the image of the invisible God; He is the firstborn of all creation; In him, with him and for him all were things created; He is before all things; He is the Head of the Body, the Church; In Him all fullness is pleased to dwell…. That all means that He is God.

Jesus can welcome you today into His Kingdom because He is God.

But how do we respond to that? How do I behave in the presence of God?

I don’t even know how to behave in the presence of a king.

So I looked it up: “The dos and don’ts for meeting the Queen”:

  • Arrive before she arrives and leave after she leaves.
  • When you meet the Queen, women should curtsy and men should bow. You can shake her hand, but that’s the only touching you can do.
  • Never turn your back to her majesty.
  • Don’t speak unless spoken to.
  • Never ask personal questions.

If the Queen arrived here right now, we would probably all stand up.

If Jesus Christ arrived right now, what would you do? Fall on your knees?

We should fall on our knees.

Well, Jesus Christ is always present at Mass.

And what do we do?

So, either we don’t believe He is God; or we don’t really believe that He is here.

When I was growing up, it was common practice in my parish and in many parishes in the city, that after Communion, when the hosts are being reposed in the Tabernacle, everyone would stand and face the Tabernacle.

I’d like to propose that you begin doing that too.

Why don’t you start the next time you’re at Mass. After Communion, no matter whether you are praying on your knees or you are already sitting down, when the Deacon or the priest (or the ministers) take the hosts to the Tabernacle, you should stand. If the minister genuflects, you can also do a small bow. Maybe at that time you can whisper a small prayer: “may your Kingdom come.”

Stand and bow. It’s a simple gesture of respect and reverence.

You’d do it for the Queen, is the least we can do to for Jesus Christ, the King of the universe; the King of all Creation; the King of Heaven; the King of Kings; the King of Life.

The King of your life.

Jesus Christ, who is God.

Who is the king of the jungle? (the lion)
Who is the king of rock n roll? (Elvis Presley)
Who is the king of pop? (Michael Jackson)
Who is the king of the NBA? (King James – LeBron James)
Who is the king of soccer? (Pele)

From → English, Reflections

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