CHRIST THE KING OF THE UNIVERSE
34th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
This Sunday – a solemnity – brings to an end the liturgical year (Year B). It is a fitting celebration, the crowning of the whole year. He – Jesus – is the alpha and omega (the beginning and the end), the one who remains for ever
(the Lord who was, is and is to come). The one who conquers, who judges and rewards. His word is final and remains forever.
Jesus’ kingship (rule, glory) was announced through the prophets: cf. Daniel (First Reading). Daniel calls him a “Son of Man” on whom is conferred sovereignty (supreme power), in fact ‘eternal’ sovereignty. Most probably his identity was obscure to prophet Daniel.
Jesus, when he came, identified himself with that mysterious figure. He called himself Son of Man. Obviously he was Son of God: he called God ‘His’ Father. But he was also ‘Son of Man’, a true man.
He is the king of all peoples, nations and races, not only of the Jews (in spite of the label that Pilate put on top of the cross: Jesus Nazarene King of the Jews).
The beginning of the book of the Apocalypse, i.e. of Revelation, (Second Reading) gives a splendid presentation of Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man. He is called:
- Faithful Witness, to speak on behalf of God the Truth. “I was born for this, to bear witness to the truth” (John 18,37).
-The first born from the dead: the conqueror of death and evil.
-The King of kings and Lord of lords.
- He has washed away our sins with his blood: he is our Redeemer. He gives his life for us and makes us partners in his divine nature.
- He makes us a dynasty (race) of priests and kings, chosen to serve God the Father.
- He is Alpha and Omega: the Almighty.
In the gospel passage, Pilate asks Jesus: “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answers: “Yes, I am a King” (without adding “of the Jews”). Notice how he refused to be acclaimed a king at the moment of glory (after the miracle of the loaves, John 6,15) and went to hide over the hills, but there, before Pilate, while being a captive, humiliated, in the guise of a criminal, rejected and scorned by the crowd, clearly a loser... there he says clearly: “Yes, I am a king!” Humanly speaking, this sounds madness! And then he adds: “I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth”.
“Truth? What is that?” is Pilate’s scornful reaction. He turns away: this is something totally strange to him, he is not interested to hear about truth. But TRUTH is something most precious, most vital, most desirable: more precious and more important and necessary than food and life itself.
What is the truth Jesus speaks about? It is the truth Jesus came to reveal, to bear witness to, to die for! The most appropriate and clearest answer to this question is what Jesus said to Nicodemus, during their dialogue THAT night:
“God LOVED the world (the human race) so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him.... may have ETERNAL LIFE!”
(John 3,16) This is THE TRUTH, the basic, fundamental truth of life for every man: God’s LOVE FOR US and ETERNAL LIFE WITH HIM!
Can anyone think of anything more precious, more beautiful, more desirable, more important? This is the heart of the Good News, the fullness of the Good News. And Jesus is God’s truth, the revelation of God the Father, the revelation of the ‘Father’s merciful face’ (Jubilee 2016).
He came to establish on earth “a kingdom of truth and life,
of holiness and peace,
of justice, love and peace” (Preface)
(This beautiful compendium of Jesus’ kingdom should be briefly explained)
+ A final, personal and unavoidable question: “Is Jesus truly OUR King?
We readily call ourselves his disciples, his followers, his subjects... Are we true Christians? Only if we try to be also Christ-like, if we really try to make HIS choices, OUR choices.