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Our Lord, Christ the King

Jn. 18:33-37

Almost 2,000 years ago Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, accused of being an insurrectionist. The Jewish authorities had brought the charge that He was claiming to be a king. This was the most serious crime in the Roman Empire because it meant that the accused had dared to challenge the authority of the emperor. Pilate found the accusation difficult to believe as he looked at the lonely figure standing before him and asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

That seems a simple question, requiring a yes-or-no answer. But if Jesus had said He was then Pilate would have assumed that He was pleading guilty to the charge. That would not have been true. Jesus had no aspirations at all to the throne that was occupied by Caesar. And for Jesus to deny the charge would not have been true either. For as He explained, His Kingdom was not of this world. Pilate just could not understand that!

Today we proclaim that Jesus is our King. What makes Him our King? I think the words He spoke to Pilate give us the clue. “All who are on the side of truth listen to My voice.” We begin making Jesus King of our lives by making Him King of our minds, when we listen to the voice of Jesus and not that of Satan. In one of his Letters to the Corinthians Saint Paul wrote, “every thought is our prisoner, captured to be brought into obedience to Christ.” That describes very well what it means to say that Jesus is King of our lives, because we demolish every presumptuous notion against the knowledge of God, and we bring every thought into captivity or obedience to Christ.

When we fill our minds with the voice of Jesus, instead of the voice of Satan, it will have an effect in our lives. People will see that Christ is our King when Jesus rules our lives and we are not ashamed to claim that we are Catholics. We attend Mass every Sunday and more often, not for show but because we love Christ and are committed to His Church. In conversation and at work people should easily see that we are ruled not by worldly standards but by those of Christ. We are not ashamed of Christ and for what He stands. In all these ways that we listen to the voice of Jesus we make Him King of our lives.

Sadly there is a difference between the laws of the land and the laws of God. Parliament passes immoral laws because of pressure from certain groups. Even when the Government gives us the freedom to do something, we still need to ask ourselves whether this is the right thing to do. Would it have the approval of Christ our King? When laws concerning public morality are introduced we need to ask, did the lawmakers listen to the voice of Jesus or to some other voice. For as Jesus says, “all who are on the side of truth listen to My voice.” Laws permitting abortion, euthanasia, divorce, IVF, embryonic stem cell research, so-called 'same-sex marriages', artificial contraception and the morning-after pill are have not been passed while listening to the voice of Jesus. Embryonic stem cell research is often called destructive stem cell research - because taking the stem cells from the embryo kills the embryo! Many Catholics are not aware that IVF is forbidden by the Church as normally practiced for the reasons that it is inconsistent with respect for the life and bodily integrity of the embryo. In many cases, too, it is inconsistent with respect for the family, and the identity of the origin of the child.

Many people are not aware that when a test-tube baby is produced about a dozen spare embryos are also stored indefinitely. Just because a government says I can do something does not mean that it is right to do it. Remember those words of Jesus to Pilate, “All who are on the side of truth listen to My voice”. We have to be guided by the Church which Jesus founded. Whoever listens to His Church listens to Him.

This means that if you had to vote on an issue of public morality and your favourite political party said to vote one way, and the teaching of the Church said faith in Christ demands that we vote in a different way, how would you vote? If Christ is your King, then there is only one way you can vote, and that is against your favourite political party. That is what Jesus meant when he spoke those words to Pilate almost 2,000 years ago.

Today we celebrate Jesus as King to show that in all that we think, do and say we want to listen to the voice of Jesus. This is a joyful celebration because Jesus is not like kings of earthly kingdoms who may be remote from their people. He is close to us, He walks by our side, He lifts us up when we need help, He gives His Life to us.

Holy Spirit, You inspired Paul in his Letter to the Philippians to proclaim this truth: “God has highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the Name which is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and on Earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

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