Tag Archives: Christ the King

The Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ

November 21, 2018

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When Jesus was interrogated by Pilate, he testified, “My kingdom does not belong to this world” (Jn 18:36a). Jesus is a king, but not like the kings of earth. Earthly kings are powerful rulers, hold supreme authority, reign over the land and the people, issue edicts, impose their will, bask in luxury, have many servants, maintain an army with well-trained troops, and go to battle to protect themselves and their kingdom. Jesus is nothing like worldly kings.

Christ the KingJesus went on to say, “If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants [would] be fighting” (Jn 18:36b). The attendants are body guards and soldiers, and they are fighters. They use brute force to deter threats and repel attacks. Jesus did not have soldiers to fight for him. Jesus made it clear to Pilate, “My kingdom is not here” (Jn 18:36c). If Jesus’ kingdom is not here, where is it and what is it like?

The kingdom of Jesus is a spiritual kingdom, not a worldly one. The Preface for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, found in the Roman Missal, pages 360-361, lists the distinctive features of the kingdom of Jesus. It is eternal and universal, a kingdom of truth, life, holiness, grace, justice, love, and peace.

Eternal. Worldly kings reign for a time, from when the king’s father dies until his own death, or from the moment of conquest until he is conquered. The reign may be as short as a few months or last as long as forty or fifty years, but this is nothing when compared with eternity. Jesus reigned as King from the Cross, and his kingship was confirmed when he was enthroned by his Father in heaven, and his kingdom is everlasting, timeless; it goes on and on and will never end.

Universal. Worldly kings reign over a geographic territory. It may be as small as a city state or as vast as an empire, but this is nothing when compared with the universe. Jesus is king, not over a region of the world, but over the entire world, and not only over the world, but over the entire universe, the sun and the moon, the planets and the stars, the totality of all in existence, as well as heaven and all that dwell therein.

Truth. Worldly kings are notorious for their disregard for the truth. They ignore and distort the truth, practice deception, and tell lies, all to accomplish their evil objectives, to get their way, eliminate opposition, and oppress others. Jesus said, “I am … the truth” (Jn 14:6), and he told Pilate, “I came into the world, to testify to the truth” (Jn 18:37). Jesus declared earlier, “The truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32). A kingdom of truth is honest, fair, ethical, unbiased, impartial, correct, and reliable, and it liberates people from sin and evil, domination and oppression.

Life. Worldly kings are also notorious for their callous lack of regard for human life. Many were quick to go to war, fully aware that many of their own soldiers would be injured or die, and pleased to have their troops slaughter the enemy, and then to sweep across the countryside and massacre defenseless villagers, and for those who were allowed to survive, to force them into cruel slavery. Worldly kings also took the front seats in amphitheaters and watched with glee as prisoners were devoured by wild animals and gladiators maimed and killed each other. Today worldly kings allow abortion and euthanasia, develop weapons of mass destruction, practice terrorism, ignore the starving, and restrict freedoms. They are all sins against life. Jesus said, “I am … the life” (Jn 14:6). Jesus is the source of all life: “all things were created through him” (Col 1:16). In his kingdom, every being is of supreme value – precious, respected, and to be protected from womb to tomb, from conception until natural death. And then, after physical death, Jesus, the Savior and Redeemer, out of his grace and mercy, grants eternal life in heaven.

Holiness. Worldly kings are like the people of the world, sinful: prideful, greedy, jealous, angry, lustful, gluttonous, and lazy. Jesus, and all those who belong to his kingdom, are holy and practice the virtues: humility, generosity, graciousness, purity, self-control, and industriousness. Worldliness is to be like everyone else, while holiness is to be set apart, different, “in the world but not of the world.” There is no place in the kingdom of Jesus for evil, wickedness, immorality, idolatry, or licentiousness.

Grace. Worldly kings are self-centered and self-serving. They dole out special favors to those who can help them, while those who are useless to them go without. In the kingdom of Jesus, God doles out divine favors to everyone. God graciously grants abundant spiritual blessings: the desire to live a good life, the guidance to walk in right paths, the resolve to do good works, and the energy to carry it out. God provides help in every situation, is present in every moment, and is a companion for every step of the journey.

Justice. Worldly kingdoms are riddled with corruption. Worldly kings take advantage of their positions and give special privileges to their friends and allies. They take more than their fair share. They lie to get their way. They slant things in their favor. Adversaries, outsiders, and common folk are oppressed, abused, neglected, and exploited. Jesus, on the other hand, is just, blameless, innocent of all wrongdoing, and righteous, law abiding. As judge, Jesus sees all, and his judgments are honest and true, yet his justice is tempered with mercy. His kingdom is riddled with compassion. All are treated equitably. The common good is upheld. The poor and powerless are protected and receive special care.

Love. Worldly kings are impulsive, mean, jealous, pompous, arrogant, rude, narcissistic, temperamental, resentful, and vengeful. The kingdom of Jesus is characterized by patience, kindness, courtesy, respect, modesty, humility, politeness, selflessness, levelheadedness, willpower, self-restraint, forgiveness, mercy, and truthfulness.

Peace. Worldly kings are stubborn and unyielding, controlling and manipulative, quarrelsome and argumentative. They cause rivalry and dissension. They threaten and intimidate, and use force and violence. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and his kingdom is forever peaceful. It is a kingdom of flexibility, empowerment, reverence and respect, mutuality and cooperation, harmonious relationships, amiable communication, openness and honesty, common concern, and equitable sharing, where the lion lies down with the lamb, where swords are beaten into plowshares, where war is unthinkable, and all live together, safe and secure, with goodwill toward everyone. Beyond this world, the heavenly kingdom is eternal rest and peace.

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Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

November 22, 2015

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ChristKingThe Grand Finale.  The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, is celebrated on the Thirty-Fourth and last Sunday of Ordinary Time.  It is the grand, glorious, and triumphant conclusion to the Church liturgical year.  The spiritual meaning of the feast is woven into the text of the special orations or Mass prayers provided in the Roman Missal.  The Prayer over the Offerings adds to what is expressed in the Collect, Preface, and Prayer after Communion.

A Kingly Sacrifice.  The Prayer over the Offerings begins, “As we offer you, O Lord, the sacrifice by which the human race is reconciled to you.”  The sacrifice was offered on the altar of the Cross.  Jesus himself is the one, true, unblemished, and perfect sacrifice.  Pilate had an inscription placed on the Cross:  “Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews” (Jn 19:19).  Pilate’s inscription was partially correct.  Not only is Jesus king of the Jews, he is also king of the world, king of all creation, and king of the universe.

The King’s Sacrifice Achieved Universal Reconciliation.  The sacrifice that Jesus offered on the Cross reconciled the human race to the Father.  “We were reconciled to God through the death of his Son” (Rom 5:10).  “God … reconciled us to himself through Christ” (2 Cor 5:18).  The reconciliation took place on the Cross where Jesus was lifted up (see Jn 3:14b) and reigned as king.  From the Cross, Jesus issued two imperial proclamations.  With regard to those who had falsely accused him, condemned him, and tortured him, his first edict was, “Father, forgive them” (Lk 23:34); and to the repentant thief, his second decree was, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Lk 23:43).  The forgiveness that Jesus extended from the Cross has universal implications; it is extended to everyone, everywhere.  He is the reconciler, the bridge between sinners on earth and his Father in heaven.  Jesus took away sin by his sacrifice (Heb 9:26).  It is through Jesus that we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins through the blood of his Cross (Eph 1:7).  Jesus has reconciled all things, making peace by the blood of his Cross (Col 1:20).  Because of sin, humanity was estranged from God, “far off,” but because of the blood that Jesus offered, humanity is reconciled to the Father, now “near” (Eph 2:13).

King of All Nations.  The prayer continues, “We humbly pray that your Son himself may bestow on all nations the gifts of unity and peace.”  The prayer assumes that Jesus has power over all nations.  On judgment day, “All of the nations will be assembled before him [Jesus]” (Mt 25:32), the king.  Before Jesus ascended to heaven he stated, “All power in heaven and earth has been granted to me” (Mt 28:18).  Paul added, “All things [are] beneath his feet, and he is head over all things” (Eph 1:22).  Jesus has “authority over all nations” (Rev 2:26b).  Jesus always has been and continues to be the king of all people in every nation on earth.

The Kingly Gifts of Unity and Peace.  As universal King, Jesus is the one who has the power and authority to grant the gifts of unity and peace, gifts that are supremely important to him, gifts that he wants to impart. In his prayer on Holy Thursday, Jesus prayed for unity, “Father, that they may be one” (Jn 17:21,22,23).  Jesus also told them that same night, “Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (Jn 14:27); and after his Resurrection, his first words were, “Peace be with you” (Jn 20:19,21).  We are one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28b); he is our peace (Eph 2:14).  In the kingdom of God, all are united in Jesus and live together in harmony and mutual respect.

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