A Reflection for today’s solemnity
By Fr. Ron
I find it odd how many people today are “royal watchers” You know what I mean. There has been so much interest in the last few months about the health of Queen Elizabeth of England. There is also this obsession with the intrigue surrounding the younger generations of the British royal family. The fact remains that the sovereign Prince of Monaco, the King of Saudi Arabia, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and the Emperor of Japan can still grab headlines. Do you know that there are currently 44 sovereign states in the world with a monarch as the head of state? When something happens to one of them, it makes headlines.
I find it curious that a democracy like ours that threw off the rule of a foreign monarch has so much interest the royal family of other nations.
That brings us to today’s Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. We are not a people you want to be ruled by a king. We have chosen a democratic form of government.
In his trial before Pilate which we heard about in today’s gospel reading, Jesus is asked: “are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus acknowledges that he is a king and adds:
"My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here."
Jesus is a King like none other. He is not a king who uses force or intimidation. He is not a king who tries to frighten his subjects. He is not a king who uses military might to get his way. He is not a king who imposes his will on others.
Yet he is a king who exercises great power. He has power to forgive sins. He has the power to cure the sick. He has power over life and death.
But that power is rooted in love. We see that love in the compassion he shows for the lost and forgotten. We see that love in the freedom he offers sinners. We see that love in the healing he extends to those with handicaps. We see that love in the way he challenged injustice in his day.
When Pilate asks Jesus if he is a king, Jesus shifts the focus of the conversation to his Kingdom. He says that his kingdom is not here. He means that his kingdom will only be complete when he returns at the end of time. But he makes it clear in other places in the gospels that we wants his disciples to begin to build his kingdom now.
His kingdom is a kingdom founded on the power of love. He never forces his will on us. But he eagerly waits for us to freely choose to do his will.
We pray every day: “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In that sentence, Jesus is saying the same thing twice. God’s kingdom will come when everyone on earth will do God’s will.
And his will is that we help to build that kingdom of love. He asks us to stand against violence and oppression. He asks us to challenge racism and all forms of prejudice. He asks us to advocate for the poor and the homeless. He asks us to extend forgiveness instead of revenge. He asks us to stand against the powers of this world who wage war rather than build a kingdom of peace.
When it comes to Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, we can’t just be “royal watchers.” He asks his disciples to imitate him. We can’t just be intrigued by him. We have to do more than admire him. We must do more than just pay him lip service. He wants more than our hymns that praise him for his kingship. He wants more than a multiplication of prayers.
He wants our commitment to work with him to extend his kingdom to the whole world, to build a kingdom of justice and peace, of compassion and forgiveness. That’s how we are to honor Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe.