Sunday, November 21, 2021
The Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Year B
Jesus answered, “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.” John 18:36
Today, on the final Sunday of our Church year, we celebrate the glorious Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Next Sunday begins Advent. On this day we profess the profound truth that our Lord is King! He is the King of all things. He is King of the Universe. And He is King of Heaven and all spiritual realities. However, in the Gospel passage quoted above, Jesus responds to Pilate who was questioning Him about whether or not He was the King of the Jews. Jesus is clear that He is a King, but that His Kingdom does not belong to this world. So where is His Kingdom?
We can look at Jesus’ statement from two points of view. First of all, if Jesus would have claimed that He were an earthly king, one with civil authority, then Pilate would have judged Him to be guilty of trying to overthrow the Roman authority. This would be unlawful and would be punishable by death. In that case, Jesus could have been found legally guilty of violating civil law.
But Jesus was purely innocent. He was morally perfect in every way, and that included His obedience to all legitimate civil law. But Jesus was a King. He was The King of all Kings! Therefore, so as to exercise His Kingship, He declared that His Kingdom was not of this world. In other words, it was not a Kingdom that was in competition with the Roman authorities or any other civil authority. To that, Pilate did not know how to respond.
Today and always, God desires that His glorious Kingdom reign in every way. God begins by reigning in our souls. He invites us to invite Him to enter in and take control of our lives. He desires to be the ruler of every passion, desire, thought and action that is ours. When this happens, His Kingdom is firmly established within us.
It also needs to be pointed out that Jesus wants His Kingdom to grow. First, it must grow in the minds and wills of all people. But from there, He wants every person to then work to conform every part of our society to the governance of Him as King. This means that as the hearts of civil leaders are converted, they will be called to enact laws that fully support and build up God’s Kingdom on earth. It means that business leaders, as they convert, are called to govern their businesses in accord with the will of God so that their businesses contribute to the establishment of God’s Kingdom here and now. It means that as the leaders of our schools, sports programs, social programs and the like all invite Jesus to reign in their hearts as King, The King of the Universe will then guide them to conform all of their endeavors to His will and to the continued upbuilding of His Kingdom.
The first duty of the Christian, in regard to the governance of every aspect of society, is not to impose God’s law from without, as a ruthless authoritarian would. Rather, it is to convert minds and hearts so that God’s governance comes forth from within. As God’s Kingdom is established in the lives of His people, all objectively grave evils embedded within our earthly laws must be overturned. For example, the legalization of abortion stands out as perhaps the greatest of moral evils, since it involves the taking of a completely innocent life. This and countless other immoral earthly laws must be replaced by the laws of God as hearts and minds are converted to His Truth.
Reflect, today, upon your duty to help bring forth the Kingdom of God here and now. Start by seeing your duty to allow God’s Kingdom to grow within you and your family. From there, be open to the many ways that God wants to use you to help others do the same. As you do, do not be afraid to work toward the external establishment of God’s Kingdom in all that you do and in all that falls within your responsibility. Jesus is King, and He desires to reign everywhere. Cooperate with Him, and His Kingdom will indeed come.
My glorious King, I choose You as King of my life, and I dedicate to You all my actions and endeavors. Please use me to further Your Kingdom. I pray for wisdom, prudence and courage as I am sent forth by You to help bring forth Your merciful and just reign in the lives of all people and within the entire Universe that You created. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done! Jesus, I trust in You.
Scripture Meditations for Ordinary Time
Saint of the Day – Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary—Memorial
Not celebrated as a liturgical memorial this year since it falls on Sunday
Further Reading – Christ the King
Featured image above: Stained glass panel in the transept of St. John’s Anglican Church, Ashfield, New South Wales (NSW) by Toby Hudson, via Wikimedia Commons