23 Nov OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE
Dear friends in Christ,
Today’s Gospel highlights the kingship of Jesus in the scene of the crucifixion: his most unusual throne is the cross, his crown is the crown of thorns. Christ is enthroned as King on the cross for he has triumphed over sin and death by the sacrifice of his own life on the cross.
Pope Pius XI established this Feast in 1925, when all of Europe had dread memories of the World War I, a time of corruption, destruction, hatred and darkness. The Pope wanted to guide the world back under the loving leadership of Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life. The preface of the Eucharistic Prayer of this Feast describes Jesus’ kingdom as “a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.”
Napoleon made a comparison between the great conquerors in human history and Jesus, the King of kings, saying, “Alexander the Great, Caesar, Charlemagne and he himself had founded vast empires, but they all depended on force, while this King Jesus came and founded his kingdom on love.” Luke’s Gospel reported that one of the thieves reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” Jesus did not come down from his cross. It is precisely that Jesus is the king of the world that he did not save himself. He was more concerned to save others through his humility and love that bring them to the mercy of God.
It’s easy to be part of the crowd that welcomes Jesus and also easy to be part of the crowd that crucifies him, but it’s not easy to remain by Jesus’ side to walk with him all the way from Palm Sunday to Good Friday. Likewise, many Catholics are willing to be part of the crowd celebrating First Holy Communion, Confirmation, Wedding, Easter or Christmas, but not many would be faithful to come to Mass every Sunday.
If there is one thing that Jesus continues to warn us against, it certainly is the danger of becoming Christians with divided heart, letting Christ reign over some areas of our lives, and something or someone else reign over other areas. Divided loyalty brings into our society and our lives all kinds of trouble and sin. Today, Christ invites us all to come under his rule and serve him wholeheartedly. Christ be the King of the universe! Christ be our King!