View all Gospel Reflections |
Christ Our King
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
The people stayed there watching. As for the leaders, they jeered at him with the words, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” The soldiers mocked him too, coming up to him, offering him vinegar, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription: “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals hanging there abused him: “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us as well.”
But the other spoke up and rebuked him. “Have you no fear of God at all?” he said. “You got the same sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it: we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” He answered him, “In truth I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are my King. Grant that your Kingdom will come into my heart more fully every day. Reign in my heart!
- The Throne: Today is the great Solemnity of Christ the King. The liturgy has been preparing us for this day through readings focused on themes that poignantly remind us of our eternal destiny, the New Covenant, and Jesus as the mediator. Why then did the Church choose a Gospel passage about his Crucifixion to celebrate the climactic day of the liturgical year? From the cross we discover the King of the Universe who reigns triumphantly through justice and mercy. Only the God-man can atone infinitely for mankind’s transgressions and achieve the justice due from man to God. Only the God-man can triumph through the total gift of himself out of love, revealing that his glorious and heavenly throne passes first through the wood of the cradle and the cross.
- The Reign: The Psalms have alluded to God’s reign since the beginning of creation. “The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his Kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). The Christological hymn of Philippians 2:5-11 reveals Jesus’ reign being established in a particular way, in his person, through his Incarnation, through his life and death, and in his exaltation to the right hand of the Father through his Resurrection and Ascension. He is a King who reigns in and through his person, by establishing his Church as a sign of his Kingdom. God’s reign is present wherever Christ is present, through grace. For this reason we pray, “Thy Kingdom Come!” His reign is present wherever we usher him in through faith, and we await the consummation of his reign in the fulfillment of time, when all things will be recapitulated in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:28, Revelation 21:5).
- The Rule: Christ rules as a servant and a King. His kenosis, self-gift on the cross, revealed how he rules. The King of the Universe revealed who he is, taught in open places, and worked signs and wonders. But he did not force faith in him as the Messiah. He rules in humility and love, permitting his human subjects human freedom so that they can come of their own free will to receive the gift of redemption. The good thief experienced this gift firsthand. As a sinner, he submitted himself to the truth of who Jesus was and asked for forgiveness. Jesus did not withhold it: “Today you will be with me in paradise.” One of the first saints was made before our eyes by his free assent of faith in the power of the true King who rules in mercy.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, almighty and eternal King, reign in me. I praise you for your Kingship and beg you to grant that I may allow you to reign in my heart, so that I may give witness to your presence and action in this world.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will celebrate and praise you for your glorious and triumphant reign.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala and “Nine Days with Mary Magdalene.”