The Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
Jesus Christ is King (Luke 23:35-43)
What does Christ the King say to the world today?
On the way to church, someone would approach you: Do you know any kings? Perhaps someone would say without thinking that they see the surname King and, maybe, would think of the poet John the King. Others, more versed in political events, would think of the Queen of England, the kings of Norway, Sweden, or Spain. Would we remember Jesus Christ the King?
In the liturgical calendar, the last Sunday is called Christ the King Sunday. On December 11, 1925, Pope Pius XI established the feast of Christ the King with the encyclical Quas Primas. It is at a time when monarchs, thrones, and kingdoms are being abolished. And it is then that the Church becomes more aware that Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of all things. The Church gives this title as a solemn address that Jesus is the Lord of the whole universe; to him, the Father has given all power, and he will come at the end of time as the Judge of all the universe. Jesus did not acquire the title “King” like the potentates on earth by force, inheritance, or appointment…
And yet, the inscription above the crucified Jesus is authentic: “This is the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38).
The Jews were angry at this inscription, which Pilate, the governor, and administrator of Palestine, had placed over Jesus’ head. The Jews deliberately put the Lord Jesus on the cross between two thieves to humiliate Him as much as possible. They had forgotten what Jesus had said earlier, that He would draw everyone to Himself when He was lifted from the earth. According to Cicero, the cross, a sign of disgrace, humiliation, and a defense of human dignity, death for the enslaved person, became a sign of victory, glory, power, hope, and a throne for God who took human flesh. Jesus already proves his victory and power when he hangs on the cross. The leading men and soldiers mocked him: “Save yourself if you are the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:37). They did not understand what the one crucified with him understood when he said: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk 23:42). And Jesus, despised by men, rejected by the nation, humiliated by the soldiers, abandoned by the apostles, the one who, out of love for men, became man to reconcile them to the Father, says to the first man, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Lk 23:43). The first man canonized. It is not the beloved Apostle John; he was the only one of the Apostles who stood at the foot of the cross. It is not Peter to whom He promised the head of the Church on earth. It is the thief to whom conscience is echoed, who accepts the grace offered to believe that the condemned one beside him is the awaited and foretold Messiah. Jesus proved not only in word but in deed that He is the God who is the hope of all sinners who will acknowledge their sins and ask that He will remember them also in His Kingdom. Jesus demonstrates His power. He doesn’t have to have a wand, an apple in His hands, and a royal crown on His head. He doesn’t need counselors, ministers, servants, or soldiers around Him. His treasure is not the treasures which the moth devours, the rust destroys, the thief steals, but the love which He proved by shedding His most precious thing, His blood, not for friends only, but for all sinners. Behold Christ on the cross, the true King. King of all human history. The King who redeemed and saved all men. The King invited all men to accept him as their brother and his Father as their God the Father. Jesus is the King who respects the freedom of his brothers and sisters, even when they despise him, betray him, and do not accept him, but then they become his enemies, and the King must justly condemn them.
It is a joyful reality that even the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the King of kings, has followers, admirers, those who accept his teachings, fulfill them, and receive the reward of their lives in Christ’s kingdom.
It is also a painful fact that many did not accept Jesus when he proved by word, by signs, death, and resurrection that he is the Son of God, and they reject him even today, and therefore they are facing punishment, damnation, hell.
Throughout history, every man has been the engineer of his happiness and unhappiness. With Jesus, it is not true that they are predestined and predestined. Each person decides for himself his eternal life, salvation, or damnation.
Jesus as King is wisdom itself. Justice is immeasurable. The reward is blissful. All defiance, anger, resentment, hatred, and sin will cease, lose strength, courage, and power before him as King and Judge. Whoever is condemned will be condemned justly.
Conversely, anyone who acknowledges him as his God and Lord during his life on earth will receive an equally just reward.
Therefore, neither in damnation nor blessed glory will they be equal. Each of his life on earth prepares a degree of punishment and praise.
Such words as favoritism, connections, power, and standing in judgment will lose their credit. On the contrary, those who are marked as having been humble, pure, humiliated, poor, merciful, imprisoned, tortured, and put to death for Jesus’ sake, as well as the hungry, thirsty, naked, and homeless, and those who have thus shown their love as to Jesus Himself, will shine like stars in the sky of heaven.
Long live Christ the King! Let us confess this with our lives. To love God, to love our neighbor as ourselves is the surest asset for a joyful encounter with Christ the King. We remind ourselves of this to fulfill this command reminded by Jesus with even greater love.
Just as Jesus accepted death on the cross, not out of compulsion, so we choose Jesus Christ as our King without compulsion. We not only want to know the teachings of Christ, but to keep them, to fulfill them, and thus to share in his Kingdom. Our life, actions, and words are our “yes” to Jesus. A religious sister remembers visiting a family where a disabled child was lying in a cradle. When the sister asked what the child’s name was, she was told, “That’s our professor of love.” And the subsequent explanation, “From him we learn to live love.”
Jesus Christ is the Teacher who teaches and demonstrates true love to all. It is up to us to do it. May the sight of Christ crucified be more and more an appeal to us to do God’s will, live according to the commandments, and keep the commandments. We will have time for Christ because we want to be with him for all eternity. We will put Christ before everything. By taking the nature of man, He proved His love for us. Let us draw strength, courage, and grace from the crucified King. May our lives be marked by victory over the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
The Sunday of Christ the King is not a commemoration of people equally weak, though personalities of different positions; today, the King of King’s feast is celebrated.
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