This Sunday, at the end of the Church’s liturgical year, the readings describe the enthronement of the victorious Christ as King in Heaven in all His glory. Pope Pius XI instituted the feast of Christ the King in 1925 and proclaimed: “Pax Christi in regno Christi” (the peace of Christ in the reign of Christ). Christ is the creator of the universe and our redeemer. He reigns supreme over all the nations of the world.
The title “Christ the King” has its roots both in Scripture and in the whole theology of the Kingdom of God. In most of the Messianic prophecies given in the Old Testament books of Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel, Christ the Messiah is represented as a King. In the New Testament in the Annunciation, recorded in Lk 1:32-33, we read: “…and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the House of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there will be no end.”
In fact, the Kingdom of God is the centre of Jesus’ teaching, and the phrase “Kingdom of God” occurs in the Gospels 122 times, of which 90 instances are uses by Jesus. b) The Magi from the Far East came to Jerusalem and asked the question: (Mt 2:2) “Where is the Baby born to be the King of the Jews? We saw His star… and we have come to worship Him.” c) During the royal reception given to Jesus on Palm Sunday, the Jews shouted: (Lk 19:38) “God bless the King, who comes in the name of the Lord.” d) During the trial of Jesus described in today’s Gospel, Pilate asked the question: “Are you the king of the Jews?” (Jn 18:33) Jesus replied: “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the Truth” (Jn:18:37) e) The sign hung over Jesus’ head on the cross read: “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.” f) Before his Ascension into Heaven, Jesus declared:
“All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me; go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations … (Mt 28:18ff).” g) Finally, in Matthew 25:31, we read that Christ the King will come in glory to judge us on the day of the Last Judgment. Jesus is however, not like any temporal King. Jesus is an all-loving King. He told us that He came not to be served but to serve and gave us the perfect example of service by the washing of the disciple’s feet.
We become Jesus’ followers when we recognize Jesus, present in everyone, especially the poor, the sick the outcast, and the marginalized in society and render humble and loving service to Jesus in each of them. We need to accept Jesus Christ as the King of love. Jesus came to proclaim to all of us the Good News of God’s love and salvation and gave us a “new commandment” of love: “Love one another as I have loved you,” and demonstrated that love by dying for us sinners. We accept Jesus as our King of love when we love others as Jesus loves each of us, unconditionally, sacrificially, and with agape love.