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)

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

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church


[1st Reading – Dan.7:13-14; Ps.92; 2nd Reading – Apoc.1:5-8; Gospel – Jn.18:33-37]


Jesus does not deny that He is a King. In fact, he goes further and specifies what type of King He is. He says that His kingdom is not of this world … and so it follows that his kingship would not be the same as that found in this world.

In today’s Gospel, we are invited to try to understand the type of kingdom Jesus is talking about. We are told in the first reading that the son of man was conferred (eternal) sovereignty. In the second reading, we are told that Jesus Christ made us a “line of kings”. So what kind of kings and kingdom are we talking about?

In our country we are quite accustomed to the concept of Kings, Queens and Kingdoms and so it is quite easy for us to understand the role of a King. However, trying to understand the type of kingdom that Jesus is referring to is not so easy. We know it is not a normal kingdom and Jesus Himself made things simpler for us to understand by saying that he is a king and He was born to bear witness to the truth. The kingdom that Jesus is talking about is a kingdom of truth! Jesus also said that those who are on the side of truth listen to His voice – and so His kingdom has to do with Truth and listening to His voice, which is made up of the Word and the Truth that Jesus Himself transmits. His kingdom is not made of earthly riches, but of heavenly components: The Word which was spoken at the beginning of time, and which has become Flesh and the Truth that the Word transmits to the world.

Jesus’ kingdom is not imposed upon us. It is not a kingdom where the King reigns over his subjects. Instead it is a kingdom where the subjects put themselves under this King (not to be ruled by Him but) to continue to live through the Truth that He, being the Word, continues to communicate to those who listen to His voice.

When Pilate asked Jesus if He was a King, Pilate was also thinking of an earthly King and Kingdom where the king rules over his subjects. Jesus tells Pilate that His Kingdom is not a Kingdom of someone who rules, but a kingdom created through a relationship with the one about whom Jesus spoke and to whom He bore witness to, i.e. the Father. The witness that He bore was by doing the Father’s will. Thus, the subjects of His Kingdom are subjects who freely and willingly decide to put themselves under this King. It is their own choice and like Jesus they themselves choose to do the Father’s will.

Jesus gives this choice to us as well. We can choose to follow Jesus and therefore do the Father’s will for us – something we can only understand if we create a relationship with Him – a Kingdom that is to last for eternity. Alternatively we are free to choose to continue to imagine a Kingdom like the earthly one that is not eternal and ends after it runs its course in due time. In this Solemnity of Christ the King, are we celebrating a King that we have a relationship with, or a King that we have only heard about – the same question that Jesus asked Pilate: “Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others spoken to you about me?”?

Lord, You are the King of Glory! Give us the wisdom we need to open ourselves up to You so that we can get to know You and 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 )

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