Jesus Christ the Universal King (Last Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Jesus said to Pilate “Yes, I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.” John 18:37
These words were spoken by Jesus our King at His trial before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor before He was crucified. Jesus is a King. In fact, He is the Mighty King above all other kings. He is Sovereign over all. He is King of Majesty, Love and Grace. He is King of the world and the Universe. He is the King of creation. If we choose to love and accept Him, Jesus becomes the King of our hearts. He makes His home in us by the Power of the Holy Spirit.
Throughout His Life, Ministry and Teaching, Jesus often spoke about the Kingdom of God. He loved to compare the Kingdom of His Heavenly Father with everyday things and events that He saw around Him. He told lots of parables which helped His listeners and Disciples begin to understand this Kingdom which begins on earth as we believe in Jesus and which is an eternal Kingdom which will never end after death as we shall live with God for ever.
To save us, as He suffered His Passion for us, in His Death, Jesus’ Royal kingship was mocked and ridiculed. He was treated as a mock-king. The Roman soldiers scourged Him, then clothed Him in purple and crowned Him with thorns. They spat on Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ At the Cross, crucified criminals would have a titulus or placard placed above them to tell the world what they were being executed for. The placard above Jesus’ Head on the Cross read, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Every Crucifix in every Catholic Church has this placard on it which reads as INRI which are the Latin words, ‘IESUS NAZARENUS REX IUDAORUM’. Unknowingly, the titulus that Pilate wrote in three languages of Latin, Greek and Hebrew was indeed truthful. Jesus is not only the King of the Jews but of all the Nations and all peoples of every race, tribe and language. Jesus shows His Royalty and Kingship by being crucified for us and for the world. He is the grain of wheat which falls into the earth and dies and which yields a rich harvest. His Royal Throne is the Cross, by which we are saved by His atoning sacrifice and saving death as He is lifted up and will draw all people to Himself as He dies. (c.f. John 12:32)
In the book of Revelation or the Apocalypse, Chapter 19 verse 16 reads thus: “He has a Name written on His Robes and on His thigh ‘King of kings and Lord of lords’.” Jesus Kingdom is a kingdom of the Heart. He seeks our allegiance and loyalty of love but He will not force us to choose Him. The Kingdom of God is love, joy and peace. As we come to the end of the Church’s Year, as it the last week in Ordinary Time, this week before we step into the Season of Advent, the Church encourages us to focus on the Four Last Things which we heard about last week: Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. Jesus will come again for the Second time and at the end of all things. He will not come as Saviour, but as the Righteous King and Judge.
In our Baptism, we were Baptised into Jesus’ Death on the Cross. Through the waters of Baptism we die to sin and are raised to new life in Christ. We are anointed with the Sign of the Cross and the Cross of Christ is traced on our foreheads and chest with Holy Oil. We receive a lit candle which symbolises how we have passed over from darkness to light. We are to shine as a light in the world (bringing Jesus’ Light – for He is the Light of the World – to others) to the Glory of God the Father.
The Holy Spirit is given to us in our Baptism and through His inspirations and indwelling, we are made children of the Heavenly Father, Citizens of Heaven and members of His Kingdom. We are Royal Sons and Daughters as we are Princes and Princesses! This is our dignity in Christ as He has made the way for us to be beloved Children and receive our inheritance. For we are co-heirs with Jesus. Jesus is our King and Brother and we are members of His family and Kingdom as fellow Brothers and Sisters.
We are also anointed with Chrism which is one of the three Sacred Oils blessed in Holy Week. Chrism is used to anoint Kings and Queens. We are made like Jesus in His death and are raised to new life with Him as we are made Prophets; (To proclaim God’s kingdom by our lives, words and actions). Priests; (We are a Royal Priesthood, a people belonging to God, a Holy people who work with Christ in bringing His kingdom on earth by our prayers, sacrifices, service, joys and sorrows). Finally, King; (We are destined to be co-heirs with Christ and be seated in the heavenly places to reign with Him for ever in Heaven.) Through His sacrifice for us, we can receive His crown of glory because He wore for us our crown of thorns.
Prayer for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King:
Father, all powerful, God of Love, You have raised Our Lord Jesus Christ from death to life, resplendent in glory as King of creation. Open our hearts, free all the world to rejoice in His peace, to glory in His justice, to live in His love. Bring all mankind together in Jesus Christ Your Son, whose Kingdom is with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.