2 Sm 5:1-3; Col 1:12-20; Lk 25:35-43
This Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King, marks the closing of Year C of the Liturgical Calendar. This special Feast reminds us that over and above being the universal King, Christ is the Head of the Body, the Church. His Divine reign stretches out from the alpha of time to the omega. There is no other true King, for God is one.
Kingship has become the topic of the past. In a few places where the kingship has remained, it has only been a nominal kingship. The days of autocratic rule have been the talk of the past. Kingship also reminds us of the lavish way of living, holding continual wars, having huge decorative palaces and sometimes of immoral and suppressive rules. It is natural therefore to misunderstand the concept of Kingship. However the norm of a king is to take care of his subjects, give them what they need for sustenance, help them in their difficulties and patronise art and culture. When we think of Jesus as our king, we ought to keep in mind that he is a benevolent king, taking care of each one of us.
Today’s First Reading from the Second Book of Samuel spoke of the elders anointing David as the king of Israel. He is chosen from among his brothers and is given charge to rule Israel. The choice is made by God and God chooses the ordinary person to make him strong and powerful.
In the Second Reading St Paul tells the Colossian community to express gratitude to God the Father, who has enabled all to share in the inheritance of the saints in Jesus Christ. As Christians who are united in the Body of Christ the King, all of us are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that we may proclaim the mighty acts of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvellous light. [1 Pet. 2:9].Christ is the image of the invisible God in whom the power of the Father is seen.
In the Gospel we see Jesus hanging on the cross crucified and it was written on the cross that he is the King of the Jews. What sort of kingship is this? At the annunciation Mary was told that he will be the King. Mary believed it and accepted. During his public life they want to make him king and to bring down the Roman rule. He runs away and hides. On Palm Sunday they honour him with Hosannas and they call him a king. He accepts the title and rides on a donkey into the city. At the passion they tease him with the title king and make a scarlet robe and crown of thorns. They make mockery of his kingship. He accepts it silently. Now on the cross he is mocked and the person crucified with him asks for a place in his kingdom. Without hesitation Jesus accepts him into paradise. He gives to the person everything he needs to live eternal life.
Perhaps all of us have read Tagore’s story of the Royal beggar. The beggar was going from door to door seeking alms and one day as he was going he found the royal chariot coming towards him. He was now prepared to beg and get the maximum of alms. But the king performed a strange action. Instead of giving alms he asks the beggar to give him alms. The beggar was shocked and from his bag gave a least little grain to the king. Then at dusk when he emptied his bag he found the least little grain of gold. He wept bitterly and said, “I wish I had given the king all I had and would have become rich.”The king wanted everything from the beggar so that the beggar could have everything in life. On the cross the King Jesus gave everything including the last drop of blood and water and he tells us that that this kingdom is a moment of Joy and Fulfilment.
“The kingdom of God”, what is it? This phrase appears over 80 times in the Gospels; yet these questions do not have simple answers. It is generally understood that the kingdom of God is the rule of God in the hearts of people. This kingdom has been there form the beginning and will be there till the end times and will be fulfilled in Jesus. First, Jesus tells us that it belongs to the humble, simple and the poor. One has to be childlike in order to enter this kingdom. Secondly, this kingdom will have a small beginning and will grow into a great tree allowing all to rest. Thirdly he tells us that it is within us; it is here and now. One has to be open to receive it and pray the Father to let the kingdom come within us, (Our Father). Fourthly, the kingdom is like a treasure or a pearl. It is precious. A person has to search for it and once found make all effort to make it personal and secure. In order to secure the kingdom a cost has to be encountered. Hence the person sells all he has and purchases it. Finally this kingdom is universal, inviting all to participate in it. In life, we have a choice. We could be like the soldiers who mocked Jesus. We could be like the criminal on the cross who kept deriding Jesus. Or we could be like the repentant thief who said, “We indeed have been condemned justly for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” The choice is ours!
As we continue with the celebration of today’s Holy Mass, let us be thankful to Christ the King for having called us to partake in His eternal Kingdom. Let us always remain loyal to Christ who is the Head of the Body, the Church.