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Our Lord, Christ the King

Dan. 7:13-14; Rev. 1:5-8 & Jn. 18:33-37

A coronation ceremony is a great occasion for national pride. It is marked by a beautiful and elaborate ritual whereby sovereignty is conferred on the new monarch. The people acclaim their new king, pledge their unswerving loyalty to him, and experience a sense of unity and belonging as his subjects under his rule. Today we celebrate the greatest kingship of all and the only one that really matters - the kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The prophet Daniel describes a majestic vision of the coronation of Christ in Heaven at the end of time in today's first reading. Not that Christ is not king already – in fact, He is so from all eternity – but this kingship will be completed and sealed after the Last Judgement when His true subjects will be separated from His rebels. The figure resembling a son of man is Jesus Himself who is led into the presence of One of good age, that is, God the Father, who conferred sovereignty, glory and kingship on Him.

This glorious Kingdom of Jesus, which will be completed in Heaven at the end of the world, has clearly been on Earth when Jesus was born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. Ever since then, this Kingdom has been growing in the heart of each person who accepts Jesus as Lord and in the community of believers which is the Church. What, then, are the characteristics of this Kingdom of Christ?

It is not exclusive but inclusive and open to everyone. The only condition for membership is the acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Saviour and a commitment to live the Gospel. It consists of people, therefore, from all nations and languages from all parts of the world. We can already see this in the Catholic Church - the word Catholic means universal. And it extends over the whole of Creation, so that Jesus is the King of the Universe.

The Kingship of Christ will last for all eternity, and it will be the only kingdom that remains. All earthly kingdoms will have passed away and the kingdom of Evil, which is led by Satan, will finally be destroyed at the end of time. Then the Kingdom of Christ will shine in all its glory for ever.

The human intellect seeks the truth just as memory seeks peace and the will seeks love. The intellect finds fulfilment only in the truth. Today, as much as ever, the people of our society are desperately searching for fulfilment in life but many, sadly, are searching in the wrong places. Some have sought spiritual fulfilment in pagan religions – such as the ancient Eastern or the modern New Age movements – where they worship false gods in the form of created objects or non-existent beings. Others have denied the spiritual dimension and pursued a purely material fulfilment based on the secular values of power, prosperity and pleasure. Secular society, often aided by the media, puts forward the biggest lie, namely that fulfilment is to be found in the unbridled gratification of human urges, regardless of any objective spiritual norms.

Against such a background of deception and lies we proclaim Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life. In Him alone, and in no other, can the human heart find the fulfilment of its deepest aspiration, and the human intellect the truth which answers the most profound questions. This is implied in Jesus’ answer to Pilate, “Mine is not a kingdom of this world. I came to bear witness to the truth. He who is on the side of truth believes in Me.” The tragic irony is that Pilate walked out asking, “What is truth?” when Truth Himself, Jesus, was staring him in the face!

Finally, Jesus’ Kingdom is a Kingdom of love. Jesus is the King Who sacrificed His life for the sake of His subjects. Which earthly king would ever do that? They normally sit in their palaces and send their troops to fight the war. If faced with defeat they often try to flee from the country. By contrast, when Jesus Himself led His subjects in the war against sin, He allowed Himself to be killed for their sake, and by rising from the tomb emerged victorious, as the first born from the dead.

Lord Jesus, help us each day to long for love, truth and immortality to turn to You, praising You, Jesus Christ, the eternal and universal King!

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