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Christ is king who came to serve others
Based on Dn 7:13-14; Rev 1:5-8; Gospel of Jn 18:33b-37
The church year concludes this Sunday, as it does every church year, with the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
Last Sunday we heard Jesus say, “They will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory.” When today’s reading from Daniel was written, it was intended as a promise that Israel would triumph over all its enemies. In Jesus’ time it was generally understood that the Messiah would powerfully rule over all the nations on earth.
The reading from Revelation gives us many images for Jesus that particularly point to him as universal king. The most famous one is “the Alpha and Omega” – God is the beginning and the end of all things. Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.
In the Gospel, Pilate, the earthly ruler, stands face-to-face with Jesus, the Lord of the universe – two different kings, two different kingdoms. Pilate is upset and frustrated by the circumstances, and Jesus stands bound and exhausted from the first 12 hours of his Passion. Pilate’s questioning of Jesus fails to achieve a definitive statement from Jesus that would help convict him or acquit him.
Instead, Jesus says, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. I came into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
It is here Jesus states his mission and his part in it – obedience to the Father’s will. His crown will be one of thorns and his throne will be a cross on which he will die willingly for his subjects.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The people of God share in the royal office of Christ. He exercises his kingship by drawing all men to himself through his death and Resurrection. Christ, King and Lord of the universe, made himself the servant of all, for he came ‘not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ For the Christian, ‘to reign is to serve him,’ particularly when serving ‘the poor and the suffering, in whom the Church recognizes the image of her poor and suffering founder” (#786).
Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ is King.