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Christ the King
Christ the King
How is Jesus king?
As we seek to understand how our beloved Lord Jesus is King, what being King means, we must first forget about Kings of earth. As Pilate tries to understand, Our Lord says.: "Mine is not a kingdom of this world - if it were my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews". "So, you are a King then?" "Oh yes" says Our Lord and gives us the essential aspects of this kingship. "I was born for this, I came into the world for this to bear witness to the truth" This kingship is the purpose of Jesus becoming man. Jesus the King witnesses to the truth, he reveals God, truth itself, and "all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice" the subjects of this King are those who are on the side of God, on the side of truth. And the context, the moment when our Lord tell us this is the time of his passion and death. Only in the sacrifice of the cross, the moment of his self-surrender to the Jews, to us, to the Father, to divine love, the moment when he loses everything in order to save us, only then does he reveal what his Kingship is.
And this King's kingdom? St John who stood beneath the cross which is the throne from which our Saviour reigns teaches us in the second reading. We are his kingdom, I am his kingdom, each of you is his kingdom. "He loves us and has washed away our sins with his blood and made us a line of Kings, priests to serve his God and Father". Christ the King rules by dying for us and making us kings, sharers in that Kingship which means, with him, surrendering ourselves to others, to the Father, to Divine love.
We become the servants of Christ the King, those over whom Christ the King rules by being Kingly ourselves. When Daniel in the first reading says "On him was conferred sovereignty, glory and Kingship, and men of all peoples, national and languages became his servants" we must not think of ourselves as obedient slaves under the power of Christ the King- but of loving fellow servants, united to their King in love, sharing with him the task of giving our lives, in different ways in the service of others and the praise of God the Father.
And finally this kingdom, this kingship, which we share, is victorious, it can never pass away, it will overcome all obstacles and opposition because it is born of the divine will, it reveals divine truth and it is makes present divine love. And the divine will always succeeds, divine truth cannot be hidden and divine love cannot be overcome.
At the end of the Church's year, this feast proclaims, and we proclaim with it, that Christ is our King, he has made us Kings, by his grace, exercising kingship by serving God, serving others, in love and truth we recognise that nothing in the world, or of the world can in the end stop us.
During the terrible anti catholic persecutions in Mexico at the beginning of the 20th Century men, women, old and young would shout out "long live Christ the King" as they were killed. I used to think it was a cry of defiance, a sort of battle cry, and there is some truth in that, but I realise more and more that it also the voice of love, of great serenity that for those who are kings with Christ love and life can never end, of great loving joy that they are called to share the throne of the cross with Our Lord and also of compassion for their killers and the hope that by this kingly sacrifice even those killers would be brought into the joy of Christ's kingdom.