The following dialogue transpired between Pilate and our Lord Jesus Christ inside the praetorium early morning before the crucifixion.
Pilate: (Entering the praetorium again, summoned Jesus, and asked him): Are you the King of the Jews?
Jesus: Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?
Pilate: I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?
Jesus: My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.
Pilate: So, you are a king?
Jesus: You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.
Our Lord Jesus Christ began the commissioning of the apostles to spread the good news by saying, “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matt. 28:18).
In the Second Reading today (Colossians 1:12-20), St. Paul gives us a biography of our Lord Jesus:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him, all things hold together.
All these references bring our minds to the reality of the universal Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ, which we celebrate today. Pope Pius XI proposed and instituted the feast of Christ the King in 1925. The feast came at a time when the world was becoming increasingly secular and dispassionate about the authority of Christ with the rising of dictatorship among world leaders.
Through the encyclical Quas Primas, Pope Pius wanted to achieve three things with the feast of Christ the King:
- To differentiate the Church from the state as a community that recognizes the divine authority and leadership that comes from our Lord Jesus Christ.
- To draw the attention of nations world leaders to the supreme and divine authority of Jesus Christ.
- To make the faithful experience the power and presence of Christ the King in their souls, minds, and bodies during the celebration.
Jesus Christ, A King Unlike Others
We can appreciate the Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ more when we understand the nature and character of his Kingship. In the dialogue with Pilate at the beginning of this reflection, our Lord made it clear that his kingdom is not of this world. In the Gospel (Luke 23:35-43), the good thief on the right hand of the crucified Lord begged him to remember him in his kingdom and responding to him our Lord assures him that he would be with him in his kingdom.
Kings are born in palaces, but our Lord Jesus Christ, the Kings of kings, was born in a manger meant for little animals (Luke 2:7). Kings of the world sleep in cozy beds, but Jesus Christ, the humble King of glory, had nowhere to lay his head (Matt. 8:20). Earthly kings have people who serve and even die for them, but our King and Savior, Jesus Christ, came to serve and to laid down his life as a ransom (Mark 10:45). Kings are known for their pride and exuberance. However, our Lord Jesus Christ was humble even unto death (Phil 2:8). All other kings die no matter how long they live on earth, but our Lord Jesus is the only King that won victory over death (1 Cor. 15:57), and he would never die again (Romans 6:9).
Moving Forward: Enjoying the Benefits of the Kingship of Jesus Christ
The Second Reading relates how the Father has delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son in who we have redemption and forgiveness of sin.
One of the expressions of the power of the evil one in the world is the prevalence of darkness. Spiritually, darkness is the absence of light, and the absence of light entails the lack of the loving presence of Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of John (8:12), he tells us that he is the light of the world, and whoever follows him will not walk in darkness. With Jesus Christ as our King, we depart from darkness and walk and live in the light.
The Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ leaves us with the hope of a better place after the changes and challenges of the present life. Here we could connect with the thief on the right hand of the Lord, who got an eleventh-hour rescue from the damnation of hell. Moreover, as co-heirs, we shall reign eternally with our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Tim.2:12).
As we celebrate the Feast of our Lord Jesus Christ, it would be worthwhile for us to make efforts to dethrone all the contending kings and kingdoms in our lives. These may come in the form of sin and toxic habits and lifestyles. May the King of Kings always reign consistently in our lives! God bless you.