Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

From the Dean’s Desk

We come today to the final Sunday of the Church’s liturgical year.  It is always celebrated as Christ the King.  This title may be a little misleading, as we normally associate royalty with power, wealth, territory, prestige and the like.  Jesus presents himself as a different king.  Since news of his birth was made known to the people of Israel, he had been announced as the infant king of the Jews. This unsettled the monarchy of the day, believing Jesus, who was a baby at that stage to eventually grow into an adult who will be a threat to their position.  The normal thing to do was to make sure that the baby never reached adulthood.  So from his infancy Jesus was seen as a threat to the present power structure.

Today as we celebrate Jesus as Universal King we speak primarily of his spiritual kingdom.  Jesus came to inaugurate the Kingdom of God.  We have an insight into that Kingdom when Jesus began his public ministry.  He read from the prophet Isaiah while he visited the Synagogue at Nazara that the spirit of the Lord was upon him. That he was to bring the good news to all, setting people free from their restraints and to bring the joy of the Lord into their lives.

The Gospel today [Luke 23:35-43] presents Jesus as King.  But his throne is not an adorned seat set on a pedestal.  His throne is the Cross. Paul in his letter to the Colossians that makes up our second reading [1:12-20] today reminds us of the impact of this ‘throne’ of Jesus: ‘Because of what he has done – he has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that he loves, and in him, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.’

As we celebrate Jesus as Universal King we are indeed reminded that through his death on the Cross and his Resurrection he has given us all a place in his Kingdom.  Because of this we need to work for the further earthly establishment of God’s kingdom.  His Kingdom is one of justice and peace for everyone.  Every person regardless of race, creed or economic or ethnic background possesses dignity as an image of God.   Everyone therefore has the right and responsibility to contribute their talents in making the human society more Godlike.

As Jesus’ followers and disciples we are asked, therefore, to treat people with dignity and reverence and to allow them, through the realisation of their own dignity in front of God to transform society through their actions, which brings about the righteousness of the Kingdom.  This is the true meaning of celebrating Jesus as Universal King.  He needs to rule in our hearts today, so that we may continue to establish his Kingdom here on earth. I can ask myself today: Is Jesus the King of my life or have I made room for another ‘king’?

Fr Robert Bossini
Dean and Parish Priest