This Sunday is the last Sunday in ordinary times and is also the Celebration of the Kingship of Christ as King of the kings and the Lord of lords. Throughout the Old Testament, God promised to send a deliverer; a savior of humankind. It was the fulfillment of this promise that made the Wise Men traveled all the way from the Far East to Bethlehem to worship the new born King. It was the fulfillment of this promise that made King Herod, in a jealous rage, to slaughter innocent children in his bid to kill Jesus. It was the fulfillment of this promise that made Matthew to begin his Gospel with a genealogy tracing Jesus to the lineage of King David. It was Jesus’ claim of His Kingship that made Pilate to nail a sign “King of the Jews” on the Cross of the crucifixion. In the book of Revelation, John writes “I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True. He is called the Word of God…On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”
But it was not until 1925, that the Church officially instituted the celebration of this solemnity by Pope Pius XI. This, he did, in response to the then growing nationalism and secularism that sought to thrust Jesus Christ and his holy laws out of public life; a move, the Pope believed, was a threat to human civilization and religious freedom. Unfortunately, we still live under that threat even till this day. Bill O’Rielly, on his radio program, a few years ago, asked: “Why is Christianity under attack in our culture?” The answer, in my opinion, is not farfetched. The two kingdoms, the kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of Christ are not easily compatible; they are constantly in conflict and do not see eye to eye. The contrast between them is not about good and evil but rather about two fundamentally different mindsets, belief systems, and loyalties.
The kingdom of this world trusts the power of the sword and might to conquer, to subdue and to lord it over others. This kingdom is rooted in preserving and advancing ones self-interests and will; is heavily invested in defending and advancing one’s own group, one’s nation, one’s ethnicity, one’s state, one’s religion, one’s ideologies, or one’s political agendas. The motto of this kingdom is “tit-for-tat”—“eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” It is a kingdom where money, power, superiority, and affluence, are worshiped, the end justifies the means, and appetite satiation is the dominant philosophy of living.
In contrast, the Kingdom of Christ is a kingdom of light and peace; a kingdom that trusts in the power of the cross; in the power of kindness and compassion, in the power of transforming lives from the inside out, in the power of doing God’s will even if this requires sacrificing one’s own interests. It is a kingdom that believe in putting God first above all things, in serving rather than being served, in carrying the cross not the sword, in returning evil with good, in forgiving the neighbor, in praying for the enemy, and in seeking the well-being of others. It is a kingdom that is involved, not in conflict and wars with enemies of blood and flesh but with “rulers, authorities, the cosmic powers of this present darkness, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ref. Ephesians 6:12)
My friends, Christ, as King, is the only king that can free us from the fear of death; the only one that makes the resurrection possible; the only one that offers eternal life beyond the grave, and the only one who can obliterate our guilt before God at the end of our earthly journey. He is the only one that makes heaven possible. Many a time, we are prone to think that making Christ the King of our lives somehow takes joy and fun out of living. Quite the contrary! As Christ says, “I have come that they may have life and have it in its fullness”. To declare Christ as your lord and king is to live and to love, to forgive and to be forgiven, and to enjoy the life-giving grace of God. May Christ be our king and all, Amen!