Today we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the Church year, and one week away from the season of Advent. A good day to remind ourselves that all of our celebrations are summed up in one statement: "Jesus is our King." Jesus is the one we serve.|
From the dawn of civilization, kings have arisen who have dreamed of possessing a world-wide dominion, a universal kingdom that would last forever. Some have come close to conquering much of the known world-Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Augustus Caesar, and Adolf Hitler, to name a few. Despite all their machinations and self-glorifying monuments, the great rulers of the earth all proved mortal like anybody else. They had their day in the sun, only to disappear. Their kingdoms, too, ultimately passed away, leaving abundant ruins for generations of tourists and archeologists to explore. There is another thing that these great ones of the earth had in common-they jealously guarded their glory, sharing it with no one. Their ascent to power was made over the backs of others, and they did not hesitate to eliminate any and all rivals.
The feast of Christ the King celebrates the fact that there is one who is remarkably different.He came to serve all, even His enemies. He truly was a Son of Man, with a vulnerable human nature. But He was also truly Son of God. Rather than executing His opponents, He forgave them. Rather than dominating His subjects, He exalted them. He even called them friends and bestowed on them a share in His priesthood and kingship. He died willingly to save His people, and His death was not a result of a battle lost or a plan gone awry, but of a glorious victory planned before the world began.
At His heavenly coronation, when He ascended to His Father, He was given what all the rest lusted for in vain-a worldwide dominion that will never pass away. But the world goes on oblivious with many still jockeying for position, exalting themselves at the expense of others. The true King, however, is biding His time. He will return and suddenly things will be seen as they truly are. His coming will sweep away ambition, vanity, and pretensions and much of what now appears important will look very empty. No longer will oppression be allowed to stand; the innocent will finally be liberated from their tormentors. For His coming means doom-judgment for those who have for so long resisted Him.
The feast of Christ the King, then, was and is basically a language thing, a symbol, a metaphor, designed to be a statement of life's fundamental question for broken times such as ours. Who rules our lives? Who dominates culture? Today we assert the gospel message - the message that Christ is in charge. What makes Christ our King? He gave himself for the sake of others. Here is what it means for us to live under his reign: to give our lives for others.
When we forgive those who have hurt us, reach out to those who are trying to change and grow, expand our hearts to welcome those who are marginalized. This is the way Jesus has shown us; this is what Jesus has saved us for; this is the way we embrace the kingdom of God.
This feast of Christ the King was instituted during bleak days, when fascist and communist clouds were darkening the earth. The feast serves as a reminder to us that we know the end of the story and should not be fooled by the braggarts who strut and the bullies who gloat. They will be gone soon and He will be here soon. How soon, no one knows.
Rev'd. Fr. Colin Humes