Feast of Christ the King
Giving thanks to God the Father, Who hath made us worthy
to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light:
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness,
and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
In Whom we have redemption through His Blood,
the remission of sins
(Col. 1.12-14, from the Epistle of today’s Mass)
The Lord and Savior Jesus Christ fled away when the Jews wished to make Him their national king. It was a repudiation of their narrowly materialist conception of messianism which for the Synagogue meant their political salvation: not just deliverance from their imperial enemies but final victory: the submission of nations to the rule of Israel (the present-day Zionism).
In today’s Gospel (Jn. 18.33-37), the Savior denies once more the Synagogue’s term for the manifestation of God’s saving sovereign Kingship. In His trial which preceded His Passion and Death, Pilate questioned Him on the subject: “Art Thou the King of the Jews?” To this Our Lord did not reply directly – He Is not king of any one determined nation; His Kingdom has nothing to do with the kingdoms of earth. But to Pilate’s second and more precise question, “Art Thou a King then?” the Savior replied unhesitatingly: Thou sayest it; I Am a King. Notice carefully how Our Lord and Savior proclaims His Kingship in the most formal manner before the highest civil authority in Palestine; He proclaims it, not in the midst of an enthusiastic crowd whose ‘sensibilities’ were pleased, nor in the triumph of His miracles; but bound with chains before an inferior authority who is about to condemn Him to death, before a crowd thirsting for His Blood a few moments before being banished out of Jerusalem and dragged to Calvary – in the midst of the unspeakable humiliations of His Passion – thus affirming in the clearest manner that His Kingdom is not of this world, that His Kingdom is so sublime that no dishonor, no insults can eclipse it. By this, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ teaches us that He prefers to manifest His Lordship far more as a conquest of His Love – and far more precisely as a conquest of His Blood, we have redemption through His Blood, the remission of sins – than as a title belonging to Him in virtue of His divine nature (… all things were created by Him and in Him… by Him all things consist, Col. 1.16,17, from today’s Epistle).
Christ’s kingly majesty is therefore intimately linked to His immolation: first, for the sake of God’s glory – total, unreserved submission to God’s incomprehensible plans and designs; second, for the salvation of souls: He hath appeared for the destruction of sin, by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb. 9.16). He that commiteth sin is of the devil: for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God appeared, that He might destroy the works of the devil (1 Jn. 3.8). Far from trying to escape and resist Christ’s absolute dominion by varied pretexts and contrivances as is the New ‘Order’ of today, let us heed the appeals of the Immaculate Heart of Our Blessed Mother that Christ our King may be the sole Lord and Ruler of our whole mind and heart, and the complete Master of our will and all that belongs to us. Thus, that we might be preserved in His transfixed Heart blazing with love for us and so be spared from the destruction to which the ‘flow’, the ‘spirit’, of the day’s [Dis-]Order rushes innumerable souls, for behold they that go far from Him shall perish: He hast destroyed all them that are disloyal to Him (Ps. 72.27).
A most blessed Feast to all!
Related post: “The Measure of Loving God“