34th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (24 November 2019)
2 Sam 5:1-3; Col 1:12-20; Lk 23:35-43
We celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King this week. When Pilate questioned Jesus about His Kingship, He answered that His kingdom is not of this world. As we come to the end of this liturgical year, we are asked to reflect on the nature of our relationship with Christ. Do we truly revere Him as our King? Does His will rule us?
The first reading is taken from the book of Samuel. As always, we find the Old Testament points us towards the fullness of God’s revelation that is given when Jesus enters Creation. In this reading, it is His earthly forbear, David who is anointed King of Israel. All the tribes had gathered and they reflected on the victories they had won with David and on the fact that God has chosen him to lead Israel. David’s kingship was the high point of the monarchy for the Jewish people. After him, the earthly kingdom of the Jews declined as first Solomon and then a long series of kings failed to devote themselves single-mindedly and whole-heartedly to God. As a result the people were first divided, then conquered and finally exiled. But in God’s plan and in His time, this gives way to the new, eternal and perfect Kingship of Jesus Christ and we are called to live as subjects of the God-King who brings salvation.
The second reading is taken from St Paul’s letter to the Colossians and in it we are given a remarkable insight into the nature and the complete sovereignty of Christ’s Kingship. Christ reigns over a Kingdom of saints; a Kingdom of light where we are forgiven all our sins, gain our freedom and live as members of God’s family. This is fitting because Jesus is the image of God; and all things that are created have meaning and purpose in Him. The things we are accustomed to holding in awe – thrones, sovereignties and powers – were all created for Him! In Him, God has accomplished the perfect reconciliation between everything in Heaven and on Earth. This is the foundation of our faith: that Jesus Christ crucified, rose from the dead and then ascended into Heaven and there He reigns as the Divine King over everything.
Christ’s Kingship is inextricably linked to the Cross of our salvation, for His sacrifice, brings redemption and restores God’s Sovereignty over death itself. The Gospel drives this home. As Christ hung on the Cross, the two criminals on either side of Him make their final choice. One like the leaders of the physical world, is blind to the Glory of God, and mocks the suffering Son of God. The other, the scales lifted from his eyes, sees the majesty of the Lamb of God, confesses his sinfulness, and pleads for God’s forgiveness and that very instant is saved and promised eternity in heaven.
We are in precisely the same position as the two who hung alongside Jesus. God knows we have sinned. He knows we do not deserve to be in Heaven. But such is His mercy and love that He gave us His Son on the Cross. When Jesus died on the Cross, perfection confronted death and in that contest, God reigned Supreme and death was destroyed. Indeed, Christ is King over everything and as we celebrate this Solemnity at the end of the liturgical year, and it is an occasion of immense joy. Christ is Our King and we are already called to live anticipating His Eternal Kingdom.
Some points for reflection as you read the passages:
- If you were invited to meet a king today, how do you think you would prepare for it? What would you be most anxious about as that day came closer?
- Do you ever think you are going to be with your King when you go to worship at Church? How could seeing Christ as your King affect your reverence for God?
- Can you identify with each of the two criminals who were hanging alongside Christ? Does a greater awareness of your sinfulness bring you closer to God?