Reflection: Christ the King

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

 Mass is conducted in a mix of Cantonese and Mandarin

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

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[1st Reading – 2Sam.5:1-3; Ps.121; 2nd Reading – Col.1:12-20; Gospel – Lk.23:35-43]

As we celebrate the solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, the Church is presenting us with Jesus on the Cross. The most sublime position on earth (a monarch) is represented by the most miserable death on earth (the cross). This apparent contradiction, that seems to exist in today’s text, can be understood if we keep in mind the title of today’s solemnity – Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.

We are speaking of a King that is not of an earthly reign and whose kingdom is not linked to a specific time and space. We are speaking of a universal King who is eternal and therefore whose kingdom is timeless and space-less. If Jesus is King of the Universe, then his kingdom goes beyond other kingdoms. All the images that are used to represent him are mere images that may help us understand Jesus as King. Yet these same images can also be deceiving because we also expect representations of earthly kingdoms – thrones, crowns, sceptres … none of these actually apply to Jesus. If his kingdom is the whole Universe, then his kingdom will be very different to any other kingdom. This is the King that the Church is presenting to us today. The Church did not invent this title or any other title for Jesus. It is scripture which presents to us Jesus as an extraordinary King. He was born a King, but not as a prince from parents who are kings or queens. He was born as ‘King of the Jews’, a title given by the Magi who saw the sign of the newborn King. Even when he was on the Cross, he was addressed as ‘King of the Jews’ … He spoke and made the Kingdom of God, his Father, present to the people.

His actions show us what type of King and kingdom Jesus represents. He is the King that was ready to die on a Cross, with all its consequences, so that his subjects may have life. He presented us a kingdom that is not made of riches or earthly hoarding, but a kingdom built on love. He is the King of those who freely choose to become his subjects. He is not therefore imposing himself on anyone but instead he is freely accepted by those who want to become his disciples. He is a King who although he died on the cross and did not do anything to alleviate the burden of it, was ready to pass through the Resurrection to return back to life and continue to be with his subjects who accept him as their Saviour, Lord and King.

Jesus Christ is the King of the Universe. Am I one of those who freely choose every single day to be his faithful subject or am I still trying to understand where do I belong in Jesus’ Kingdom?

“Lord, you are my King. Give me the strength to be a faithful subject of your Kingdom. Thank you Lord!”

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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