“He has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the Kingdom of the son that he loves and in him, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.”
The 34th Sunday of ordinary time is the last Sunday of the liturgical calendar and is celebrated as the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
Once upon a time, many nations used to be ruled by kings but today they are rare breeds. There is lot of history about the rise and fall of many kingdoms. Many nations today have become disinterested with royalty and wonder why people need to reign over. However, a few nations still have monarchies, which are more ceremonial in nature than exercising real power.
In this Sunday’s first reading 2 Sam 5:1-3, we are told about King David of Israel. After the death of King Saul, David was anointed king of Judah in the south and after seven years, the elders of the tribes of the north accepted him as their king. The elders came to David at Hebron and said, ‘we are your own flesh and blood. In days past when Saul was our King, it was you who led Israel in all their exploits; and the Lord said to you, “You are the man who shall be shepherd of my people Israel. You shall be the leader of Israel.” So David made a pact with the elders of Israel at Hebron in the presence of the Lord, and they anointed him King of Israel.
By accepting to be king of Judah and Israel, David united the nation of Israel into one people under one God. In this way David prefigured the messiah king who was to come. He ruled over a two fold kingdom and Christ, the king also ruled over a two told fold kingdom: His kingdom in heaven to which belongs all the Saints who have gone before and are part of the triumphant church in heaven and his kingdom on earth of the pilgrim church of all the baptised.
It is important to note that both King David and Jesus were shepherds. David started from a shepherd boy to being the shepherd of his people, Israel. The same God who chose David as a shepherd over his people Israel is the same God who chose Christ the king as the good shepherd who gave his life for the sheep. (Jn. 10:11)
The kingdom that Christ reigns over is spiritual in nature. In the gospel of John 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of 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 of this world.” The kingdom of God is within us because it is spiritual.
As we celebrate the feast of Christ the king of the Universe, the second reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Colossians 1:12-20 exhorts us to give thanks to the father who has made it possible for us to join the Saints and with them to inherit the light. Our reason for giving thanks is because; “He has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the son that he loves, and in him, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.”
Through baptism all of us, Christians become united in the body of Christ the universal king. Through baptismal waters we too died with him on the cross so that we may rise with him in the kingdom of light and peace. In baptism, we become a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people set apart to proclaim the mighty works of him who has called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Pet. 2:9)
As we celebrate the feast of Christ the king, we must remember the words of Christ; my Kingdom is not of this world. From the annunciation of his birthday, Angel Gabriel made it very clear that: The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the house of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end. (LK .1:33-34).
During his ministry on earth, Jesus taught his disciples not to follow the example of the pagan leaders around them, who lord it over their subjects and made their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. (LK. 22:25-26)
Jesus educates his followers to have and exercise a healthy kind of religious authority. A true and authentic authority is the kind that lightens the burdens of it subjects and brings them liberation. Jesus in his life and ministry taught us the meaning of true and authentic authority. It is the authority of his holiness that comes from his relationship with his father through the spirit as the only begotten Son of God. It is the authority of love that made him lay down his life as a ransom for many; the authority of humble service.
His authority is manifested in his self-sacrificing death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. His authority is expressed in the establishment of a kingdom in which all kinds of people will have a home, especially the ignored, the poor, the broken and wounded. It is a kingdom for the repentant, like one of the thieves crucified with him.
The king we celebrate in this feast does not have an earthly throne. His reign is in the hearts and minds of men and women who are on the side of the truth and accept his words into their lives. He is the king who extends his mercy to the distress and sinners. He has come to gather all the scattered children of God into one fold. Let us open our hearts to him that he may rein therein.