Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

November 22, 2015

The Pastor's Page

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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About Father Michael Van Sloun

Father Michael A. Van Sloun is the pastor of Saint Bartholomew of Wayzata, MN. Ministerial interests include weekly Bible study, articles on theological topics, religious photography, retreats on Cross spirituality, and pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

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