Reflection on the Solemnity of Christ the King

by Fr Sandile Mswane

Last Sunday in Ordinary time, year B
Christ the King, Solemnity

The celebration of the feast Christ our universal king confirms what is narrated by the prophet Isaiah (9:1-7), and the evangelists in the nativity stories of our Lord where we heard that a king to rule over Israel was born. Born in the royal line of King David. When this son to be king was born, the whole world was shaken. Wise men from the east came to see him, shepherds were told of his story. King Herod heard of the news which he did not receive with delight. He felt intimidated, he sensed the arrival of a rival.

Herod could not comprehend this hence, he attempted to take the life of this new king. Though Herod was greatly mistaken in thinking that this new born king was to overthrow him in the future because the king born in Bethlehem was not an ordinary king, “his kingdom was not of this world” (John 18:33-37). His kingship was completely different from what even the apostles in the future thought. For they saw Jesus as a great leader of Israel to be, someone who will overpower the Romans. They too thought of earthly power. This is proved also by the sons of Zebedee (Mark 10:35) when they asked Jesus to sit at his sides when his kingdom come thinking of the earthly kingdom. Selfishness which angered the other apostles for they also wanted to be part of that rule. It was indeed hidden from many minds that this king was not an ordinary king, not an earthly king but his kingdom was divine.

Like many people, what comes into our minds when we talk of a king, yes it is an image of our earthly kings. The power, the glamour he possess. A king must have everything; silver and gold are his, women palaces etc. Pilate asks Jesus “are you the king of the Jews?” (John 18:33) because he was shocked that the person whom the people were talking about saying he has followers and powerful looked very simple. His first glance of him did not suggest that he was king or will he ever be king judging with his earthly eyes. Jesus had dirty feet on his sandals, his clothes thorn, he didn’t even own a donkey yet people were behind his. For Pilate it was a joke but they have all missed the point that this is not an earthly king but a Divine king, his power was spiritual.

Jesus came to this world to remind us that what is in this world is all temporal and vanity. Nothing lasts in this world what lasts in in heaven the true kingdom with a true king. The treasures which we always want to accumulate are nothing. What lasts are the things of heaven “where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in” (Matthew 6:20). That is the kind of kingdom which people are supposed to yearn for. A kingdom where there is always justice and peace, love and happiness.

More beautiful about this kingdom where Christ is king is that, king Jesus does not even want to be elevated to that high level above everyone. He wants to share his kingship that is why when we are baptised we receive the gifts of Christ’s prophecy, priesthood and kingship. He calls us his brothers and sisters and he wants our relationship with him to be on that level. This king wants to be with us always as we feel his presence in the celebration of the Eucharist. He is not out of reach because we always touch him and he touches us when we receive him. He is always seen during Mass in the brief adoration (elevation) time. I call on him, communicate with him anytime I want and he always listens to me and answers me. A true king, humble and close to us, thinking about us, always there for his people ready to help them on their needs.

What pleases our king, Christ the king, is very simple. It is to do his Father’s will and by so doing he promises to welcome us into his Father’s kingdom to be with him forever.