Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Year A

Every last Sunday of the liturgical year we celebrate the Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. By this feast not only do we renew our loyalty to Christ but we also express our commitment to act as citizens of his Kingdom. So, whatever our profession our action is supposed to manifest the tenderness of Christ the King who uses his authority to serve the little ones.  

I become a citizen of Christ’s kingdom when I act with love especially to the poor and to the needy
Bible Reading
Ezekiel 34: 11-12, 15-17
Psalm 23: 1-3, 5-6
1 Corinthians 15: 20-26, 28
Matthew 25: 31-46

Is he like any other king?

I wonder what image evokes the word king in your mind. Even though kingship may not be a system common to many people today, nevertheless, from history and from stories we have a vivid image of a king: someone with supreme power, lives in affluence, and most often accessible only to people of certain class or positions in society. The image of national presidents can also feed our imagination. So we think of someone in posh, expensive cars; heavy military security and someone who gives orders and others soil their hands to execute them. Is that the king we are celebrating?

No, he’s king of another style

Christ is king after the image of shepherd as mentioned in the First Reading. Actually, the first reading does not speak about a king but only a shepherd. But we know in the Old Testament the kings of Israel are referred to as shepherds.  Normally, they are chosen by God who entrusts them with the care for his people. A shepherd is there to protect the sheep and to lead them to pastures. Unfortunately, in practice, it isn’t always the case –things turn the other way round. Instead of caring for the people kings care about their own interests to the point of not only neglecting the people but also exploiting them. That’s why God announces his coming as shepherd. In other words, he’s coming to be the king of his people. He’s there not wield his power over the people but to protect and to provide for them. Besides, he’s ready to go out of his way to retrieve those that are lost.

It’s in this sense we can understand the kingship of Christ. That evokes a different image, not a king in luxurious palace but in shepherd’s gear ready to penetrate thickets in search for lost or injured sheep. He identifies himself with the little and suffering people.

Renewing our loyalty

In celebrating Christ as King of the universe we acknowledge him as master of our lives (cf. Homily For Solemnity of Christ the King, year C) but not in a passive way. We also want to emulate him. He’s king who rubs shoulders with everyone and pays special attention to the little ones. That’s equally expected of us as citizens of his kingdom. We pray, “Your Kingdom come” but our prayer needs to be accompanied by action so that the fruits of the kingdom can be seen.

Participating in the kingship of Christ

The kingdom of God does not come about by lobbying but by action of love and justice of every individual person. It’s not so much about the change of laws or political system but the transformation of one’s attitudes, values and way of acting. Where one acts charitably towards another one there the kingdom of God is taking shape. That’s why, we would say, in the parable of the Last Judgement Jesus gives us the way we can participate in realising and advancing such kingdom; it’s acting in favour of those who are suffering or those who are in need: the hungry, the sick or those in prison.

A reminder of our fundamental choice

Hence this feast invites us to review our fundamental choice: who’s the master of my life? In other words, who influences my life? What values do I want to live by?

When I affirm my loyalty of belonging to Christ I also commit myself to living as citizen of his kingdom –the kingdom of love. But the question is: what am I doing in my neighbourhood to manifest the presence of this Kingdom of love?

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See also:

Solemnity, B. Christ, You are My King; it’s My Choice!

Homily For Solemnity of Christ the King, year C