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This Sunday is the last Sunday in ordinary times, Year A, and is also the Celebration of the Christ the King. 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 travel all the way from the Far East to Bethlehem to worship the newborn King, made King Herod slaughter innocent children, out of jealous rage, in his bid to kill Jesus, and made Matthew begin his Gospel narrative with a genealogy tracing Jesus to the lineage of King David. It was Jesus’ claim of His Kingship that made Pilate nail the 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.” 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 to this day. Bill O’Reilly, on his radio program, a few years ago, asked: “Why is Christianity under attack in our culture?” The answer, in my opinion, is not far-fetched. The two kingdoms, the kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of Christ are in constant conflict and 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 in the power of the sword, might, and money to conquer, subdue, and lord it over others. It is rooted in advancing and preserving one's self-interests and will, and it invests heavily 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. Its “Motus operandi” is “tit-fortat”—“an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” It is a kingdom where money, power, superiority, and affluence, are worshiped; where the end justifies the means and human appetite is the dominant philosophy of living. In contrast, the Kingdom of Christ is 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 believes 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 not in cohort with the “rulers, authorities, the cosmic powers of this present age and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ref. Ephesians 6:12)

My friends, there is beauty in making Christ the only King in my life. His kingship is the only power that makes the resurrection possible, the only power that can wash away our guilt before God, and the only power that offers eternal life beyond the grave. 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”. As St. Irenaeus puts it, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” Yes, man fully transformed to function optimally as purposed by the creator.

So as we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King this year, let us ask ourselves some basic questions: Who is my creator and how should I respond to Him? What is life all about and what happens when I die? How would I make my time on this earth worth it? It is my prayer that God will guide us in this reflection and bring us to answers that will lead us to eternal life, Amen!

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