Extending the Reign of Christ: The Solemnity of Christ the King
Jesus replied to Pilate’s questioning: My kingship is not of this world… At a later stage in the interview Jesus tells the Roman Procurator: I am a king. For this I was born…1 Although the Reign of Christ is not of this world, it has its beginnings here. The Reign of Christ extends so far as there are men and women who know themselves to be children of God, who are nourished by him, who live for him. Christ is a King who has been given all power in Heaven and on earth, but He governs like one gentle and lowly of heart.2 His rule is to serve others. The Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.3 His throne was a manger in Bethlehem and then was a Cross on Calvary. He is the ruler of kings on earth 4 whose tribute is the proof of our faith and love.
The first person formally to recognize Christ as king was a condemned criminal. He captured the Lord’s Heart with the humble request: Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingly power.5 This man was able to grasp the real meaning of Christ’s kingship even though it was the object of merciless ridicule from the clamoring throng. His faith deepened as Christ’s divinity became increasingly obscured. The Lord always grants us more than what we ask for. The thief merely asked to be remembered, but the Lord said: ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’ The essence of life is to live with Jesus Christ. And where Jesus Christ is, there is his Reign to be found.6
Jesus speaks to us on the occasion of this solemn feast: For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.7 Let us resolve to make our hearts conform to the Will of God. Let us ask his blessing on our efforts to extend his kingdom through our apostolate of friendship and confidence. This is the calling of Christians, that is our apostolic task, the desire which should consume our soul: to make this kingdom of Christ a reality, to eliminate hatred and cruelty, to spread throughout the earth the strong and soothing balm of love.8
If we are to make these ideals into reality we must turn once again to Our Lady. Mary, the holy Mother of our king, the queen of our heart, looks after us as only she knows how. Mother of mercy, throne of grace: we ask you to help us compose, verse by verse, the simple poem of charity in our own life and the lives of the people around us; it is ‘like a river of peace’ (Is 66:12). For you are a sea of inexhaustible mercy.9
1 John 18:36-37
2 cf Matthew 11:29
3 Matthew 20:28
4 Second Reading, Year B, Revelation 1:5
5 Luke 23:42
6 St. Ambrose, Commentary on St. Luke’s Gospel, in loc
7 Jeremiah 29:11
8 J. Escriva, Christ is Passing By, 183
9 Ibid, 187
Image Credit: Christ before Pilate (Duccio), Public Domain.
This reflection is an excerpt from In Conversation with God, Vol. 5 by Fr. Francis Fernández-Carvajal, © Scepter Publishers. Following the thread of the Liturgical season, this series gives many practical hints for deepening in one’s relationship with God and is a practical source for daily meditation on every aspect of Christian life. Learn more at www.scepterpublishers.org