Exalt the Universal King of Glory!
Readings: 1st: 2 Sam 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). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
On this thirty fourth and last Sunday of ordinary time, year C, the holy mother church celebrates the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Universal King. Today we adore Him as the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Rev 17:1), and we exalt Him as the 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. Through this, the Church wanted to take our worship of Jesus from the privacy of our hearts to a higher level. That is, to also proudly proclaim his public and universal reign as king. The title of the feast was “Jesu Christi Regis” (Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King). However, in 1969 Pope Paul VI gave the feast a new title: “Iesu Christi universorum regis.” (Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe). He elevated it to a solemnity, and fixed its celebration on the last Sunday of each liturgical year.
In the first reading of today, the entire Israelites united in making David King. The reason is simple. They saw in him a worthy servant. He did not impose himself on them. He did not need to waste much money and resources to be chosen or elected. Rather, he was genuinely and unanimously acclaimed their king, as we acclaim Christ our king today. He did not take the honor upon himself because he knew that: “No one takes this honor unto himself” (Heb 5: 4). If we humble ourselves God will exalt us. Our people will bear joyful testimony to our capability to lead them.
In the second reading, Paul reminds us that God: “has created a place for us in the kingdom of the son that he loves.” What more do we need! This calls for jubilation. So, as we celebrate today, let us know that as we “make known the glorious splendor of the Christ’s reign,” that we are proclaiming our own reign over this world and its forces.
In today’s gospel, Pilate and the Jews ignorantly conspired to castigate Christ, their king. Rather than accept him, they hardened their hearts to God’s call to share in his kingdom and glory. Our celebration today is not a mockery as the Jews and the unrepentant criminal did. Rather, it is a genuine celebration of the universal reign of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Like the Jews of Christ’s time, some of us are really carried away by what we see in this present world. Some Jews of Christ’s time represent the modern-day materialists who believe that everything ends here on earth. This is a grave mistake because, the kingdom of this world will pass away, but Christ’s reign and kingdom is eternal.
Christ the universal king is a role model to all kings, rulers, presidents, 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. He is a good Shepherd, a just judge and a compassionate king. He is the only king who treats us as his brothers, sisters and, friends.
Christ our universal king is divine, yet he shares in our humanity, and allows us to share in his kingly and priestly nature (Rev 1:6; I Th 2:12). He is ever close, and no special protocols are required to reach him. So, brethren, let us celebrate because: The Lord comes to rule his people with fairness. He will reign forever and will give his people the gift of peace.
Peace be with you!