The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
November 25, 2018 – Year B
Readings: Dn 7:13-14 / Ps 93 / Rv 1:5-8 / Jn 18:33B-37
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
This is the last Sunday of the liturgical calendar. This is so even though the Gregorian calendar uses a different date for the New Year. For the Church, the new year begins with the first Sunday of Advent, which is next week. That is why it is a tradition in the Church to give thanks the week before, for all the blessings God has given us throughout the past year. This is like the tradition within families to give thanks at Thanksgiving, mentioning all the blessings they have received since the last Thanksgiving.
Today is the Feast of Christ the King and it is also our tradition, as members of God’s family, to give thanks to our Lord, our Savior and our King for all the blessings He has given us as we prepare to meet the coming year.
In the digital age and in a democracy, the idea of a King may be a little ancient or part of a make-believe world that is made into a movie by Disney or the Hallmark channel. It is a challenge to grasp the idea of having Jesus as our King.
In the gospel we just heard, Pilate himself didn’t have any idea what kind of king Jesus is. When Pilate asked Jesus what type of king He was, Jesus told him the truth, and He didn’t deny it. He said, “You say that I am a King. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world.” He also said, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.”
Yes, His kingdom does not belong to this world, but we also know that His kingdom begins here, because He is God and as God the whole universe is part of His kingdom. He has complete power and authority over all creatures. So it is not surprising what He can do; He could make the blind see, the lame walk, cleanse lepers, and raise the dead to life. He could even make the seas and waves obey him. No earthly king could do that.
In this world, we still have queens and kings in various areas. Even in this country we could consider someone a king. Take for example Elvis, “The King;” Arnold Palmer, the king of golf; or Michael Jackson, the king of pop. These three have one thing in common: they are all dead. Today we are celebrating a king who is alive, who is in our midst, whose Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity are here present in every Catholic Church.
The Lord Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. But there is an interesting fact. In spite of everything He had done, the first person to acknowledge Him as King was not one of His disciples or one of His followers. It was a convicted criminal who was crucified with Him at Calvary!
The criminal asked Him, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.” He only asked to be remembered, but he got much more than that. The Lord said, “Today you will be with Me in paradise.” This is a real paradise that will never end, that will never be destroyed, where we can experience happiness and joy in all its fullness. Not just for one hundred or one hundred twenty years, but for all eternity.
Last Thanksgiving Day I was in California visiting a friend. His brother lives in Paradise – California. Paradise looked like a war zone, like a ghost town. It is a sad situation and we pray for those who are there. The paradise our Lord Jesus offers each and every one of us is not like California. It will last forever.
We can have a foretaste of Christ’s paradise now, here on earth, by living in God’s presence always. We can’t do it on our own; we have to live the teachings of the Gospel. We have to acknowledge that to live a life worthy of our dignity as God’s children, we have to always be in God’s presence and get the support of the other members of the mystical Body of Christ, His Church.
Because today, the same Jesus, the same King who promised paradise to the thief on His right at the cross of Calvary is the same Jesus, the same King who is in our midst as we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He is the same Jesus whose Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity we will receive in Holy Communion in a few minutes, to give us the strength that we need to live a life worthy of our dignity as God’s children.