Reflection on the Feast of Christ the King
Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.
Kingship is probably as old as human society. According to biblical history, the first king was Nimrod, the son of Cush and the grandson of Ham, whose father was Noah. The scriptures identified him as a mighty hunter whose kingdom covered Babylon, Uruk, Akkad, and Kalneh in Shinar and other cities like Nineveh (Genesis 10:8-12). Egypt, another son of Ham and grandson of Noah, brought Kingship to its organized and grandiose structure, as we see in the Book of Exodus with the narratives about the Pharaohs of Egypt.
The traditional function of the king was to protect the subjects and maintain the dignity and valor of the kingdom. The strength and glory of a kingdom were often measured by the power and dexterity of the king. That could be why the people of Israel asked for a king to become like the nations around them (1 Sam 8:4-22).
Saul was the first king of Israel at the people’s demands to God through Samuel. Saul lost his position because of his arrogance and disobedience, so God chose David as a replacement (1 Sam 16:1-13).
Saul’s primary assignment as a king was to deliver the people from the hands of the Philistines (1 Sam. 9:16), but guess who did most of the work, David. He killed Goliath, a battle enigma to the people of Israel (1 Kings 17:48-50). The First Reading (2 Sam. 5:1-3) tells us that when all the tribes of Israel came to anoint David in Hebron, they confirmed that when Saul was king, he (David) led the people.
Divine Kingship Takes Flesh
The choice of David as king was a divinely orchestrated strategy leading to the true king, whose kingdom would last forever. During the visit to Nazareth, the angel Gabriel told Mary about the Son she would have,“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:32-33).
The Word becoming flesh is the same as divine kingship taking flesh and dwelling among us full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Recall that during the visit of the Wise Men from the East, their question was, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2).
During the trials of Jesus, Pilate asked him whether he was king; Jesus said, “you said so, I am a king. That is the reason I was born”. (John 18:37) In another place, however, Jesus clarified to Pilate that his kingdom is not of this world.
In the Gospel today (Luke 23:35-43), the thief on the right side, who seems to understand the signature of the eternal king, said to him, “remember me when you come in your kingdom.” The statement implies that Jesus is king and has a kingdom that lies beyond the physical realm. The thief on the right side was the next to sincerely call him king after the Magi and before Pilate nailed the inscription on the cross, “Jesus King of the Jews.”
Kingship redefined by the Eternal King.
Our Lord Jesus Christ redefined kingship through his life and conduct. He chose to come from a lowly parental background. His mother was a humble maiden from the town of Nazareth, which was considered a dead end. His father, Joseph, was a carpenter originally from Bethlehem in Judah, the tribe of David.
Nothing in the life of Jesus Christ on earth indicated royalty. He had no place to lay his head (Luke 9:58). Recall that he was born in a stable and was buried in a borrowed tomb. Yet, he is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev.19:16), the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end (Rev. 1:8; 22:13). St. Paul adds in the Second Reading (Col. 1:12-20) that “for him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.”
Moving Forward: Making Jesus Christ the Real King of our Lives:
Christ the King is an annual celebration that gives us the platform to proclaim Jesus Christ the Universal King. In most places, there is usually a procession with the Blessed Sacrament accompanied by songs of praise, and in some areas, people dance in honor of Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe.
Beyond this annual ritual, we must demonstrate how we assimilate and live out the Kingship of Jesus Christ. Can we claim to have Jesus Christ as our King while allowing other “kings” to control our lives? Yes, other “kings” we may not regard as such: our jobs, phones, habits, family, and friends, other dispositions that limit the presence of Jesus Christ the King in our lives. The following are the expectations of Jesus Christ the King in our lives:
Attention: The best gift you can give anyone is attention because it takes time, which is the true measure of life’s destiny. Whatever you give your attention to often determines what you get in life. In the secular world, subjects give full attention to royalty because they decide what happens to them. How much time do you give to Jesus Christ if he is your king?
Obedience and Submission: Nobody says no to a king and survives it except God intervenes like in the case of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the heart of the fire (Daniel 3: 19-23; 91-93) or Daniel in the den of lion’s den (Daniel 6:19-22).
Our obedience and submission demonstrate our love for Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe. In the Gospel of John (14:15), Jesus said: “if you love me, you will keep my commandment.” Are we obeying and submitting to the other contending “kings” in and around us, or are we holding on to steadfast obedience to our Lord and our King?
Jesus Christ is our Shepherd King; he provides and protects. He is our Savior King; he can save us from all situations and will ultimately save our souls. He is our Servant King; he came to serve and not to be served (Matthew 20:28).
If you accept Jesus Christ as your King, let him rule your life from this moment forward.
God bless you!