Rejoice: Christ King Of The Universe Reigns!
Readings: (1st: 2Sam 5, 1-3; Ps: 121, 1-5; 2nd: Col 1, 12-20; Gos: Luke 22, 35-43)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans), Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Today, the last Sunday of ordinary time the Church in a special way invites us to celebrate Jesus Christ our anointed king who overcame suffering and death, and so brought us out of darkness into his kingdom of light. On 7th July 2009, during the funeral of Michael Jackson, the presiding pastor said: “Behold the king of pop ready to face the King of the world.” Today (34th Sunday), the entire world stands still and bows to the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Rev 17, 14), and the Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast of Christ the King and Sovereign ruler of the Universe (Dan 7, 14). Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King in 1925 in response to growing nationalism and secularism. In initiating this feast, the Church wanted to take our worship of Jesus from the privacy of our hearts and to proudly proclaim his public reign as well. The title of the feast was “Jesu Christi Regis” (Our Lord Jesus Christ the King). Again, in his 1969 motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis, Pope Paul VI gave the celebration a new title: “Iesu Christi universorum Regis” (Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe). He also gave it a new date: the last Sunday in the liturgical year and assigned to it the highest rank, that of “Solemnity.”
Many of us today will no doubt join the procession singing and jubilating without actually allowing Jesus Christ to rule over our lives or, knowing what the reason for the procession is all about. It would be an exercise in futility unless we understand what we celebrate and give Christ the chance to reign not only in our lives, families, businesses, and situations, but also in our entire world. Some students were protesting in a certain university shouting: “we no go gree o, we no go gree!”(Meaning, we will not agree) A lecturer driving past decided to find out what was happening. He called one of the protesters and asked: “what are you not agreeing about?” The first response was, “I do not know o!” He asked the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th protester and got the same answer: “I do not know o!” What a pity and shame, they have joined the protesting crowd to protest for what they know nothing about. Today, let us not be like these ignorant fools staking their lives for nothing. Let us not just join the procession without making Christ the King of our lives, families, nation and our world at large. We must endeavor to know the meaning, and appreciate the importance of what we are celebrating today.
In the first reading of today, the entire Israelites united in making David King. The reason is simple. They saw in him the spark of God and a worthy servant-shepherd. We should note that he did not impose himself on them or buy them over with whatever it may cost, or rigged any one out in order to lord it over his people. Instead, he was genuinely and universally acclaimed their king as we acclaim Christ today. He did not take the honour upon himself, as we are told: “No one takes this honour unto himself”. If we humble ourselves God will exult us our people will bear the testimony joyfully. If we do otherwise, they will certainly reject us. In the second reading, Paul reminds us of a fact that should make us beam with joy and that is that God: “has created a place for us in the kingdom of the son that he loves.” What more do we need! Let us rejoice with our Lord this day because we have a share in both his reign and kingdom. This calls for jubilation. So as we march out today “to make known the glorious splendor of the Jesus’ reign”, let us know that we are proclaiming our own reign as well over the world, the devil and all that weighs us down.
In today’s gospel Pilate and the Jews, like these foolish students connived to castigate their King without knowing what they were doing. Rather than accepting the reality on ground they hardened their hearts towards their king’s call to share in his kingdom. Our marching out today is not mockery as the Jews did in the time of Christ or blasphemy as the unrepentant criminal did. Rather, it is to exalt the Lord our king and ask him like the “humble” and “repentant good thief” to remember us in his kingdom. Certainly he will say to us today: “I promise, today you will be with me in paradise.” Like the Jews most of us are blindfolded and carried away by what we see in this present world. These people are the modern day materialists who simply believe that everything ends here on earth. This is a grave mistake because, the kingdom of this world will pass away but that where Christ will reign eternally will not pass away. Although Christ is the King of the entire world, today we are reminded that when this world has passed away, he will continue to reign in his eternal kingdom in heaven. Christ is and should be a role model to all kings, rulers, decision makers and leaders. He cares, loves and lives in peace with his people. He does not rule with iron fists, military might, or financial strength, but is a good Shepherd. He is a just judge, a compassionate and forgiving King. He is the only king who treats us as his brothers and sisters, friends, relatives and allows us to share in his kingly nature (Rev 1, 6; ITh. 2, 12). He is ever ready, close, and no special protocols are required to reach him. What king, ruler or leader of our world can match our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe? None! Brethren, let us therefore celebrate because: “The Lamb who was slain is worthy to receive strength and divinity, wisdom and power and honour, to him be glory.” Amen!
Peace be with you!!