Christ the Universal King by Fr. Joel
Today marks the end of our liturgical year and at the same time the beginning of a new
year in the Church’s calendar. On this day, we celebrate Christ as the universal king. Celebrating Christ as universal king at the end and beginning of our liturgical year suggests that Christ is the beginning and the end of all creation and all that we do.
In the first reading of today, David an anointed king was acknowledged and accepted by all the tribes of Israel. On the other hand, in the gospel, Jesus an anointed king after his ancestor, David was ignored and rejected by the people. Jesus demonstrated his kingship through suffering on the cross. He won victory and salvation for us through the cross. Unlike worldly kings, his throne and palace are suffering on the cross. Through his cross we have passed from darkness into the kingdom of light.
Psalm 122 says let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. It is a song of thanksgiving and joy for the privilege of being members of God’s house/kingdom. In the second reading Saint Paul asked the people of Colossians to thank God for making them share in the inheritance of his kingdom of light. Heaven is our inheritance as children of light. Jesus has delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of light. Christ is king of heaven and earth, controller of dominions and principalities. He is the head of the church. He shed his blood to gain salvation for the church. He is the good shepherd that lay down his life for his sheep. His sacrifice on the cross was heroic, and a source of power and strength for his people. To give one’s life to save others is heroic. He said, to be great before God, is to be a slave or servant to others. Whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Only those who fear God can make sacrifices and render services for the sake of others. One of the thieves recognized the sacrifice of Jesus for our salvation. That is why he asked Jesus to remember him in his kingdom. In the same way we too should recognized Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins and we shall be remembered by him in his kingdom. In addition, when we make sacrifices for the sake of others we are acknowledging Jesus as king of our life and are working under his commands.
Jesus gave us a perfect example of good leadership. He came to serve but not to be served. Each of us has been called to serve as leaders in different capacities, for instance as parents, teachers, adults, mentors and as Christians. But how many of us know the implication of the leadership role we have been called to play? Many of us aspire for various leadership positions only for the benefits and glories attached to them. We do not think of the services and sacrifices that are required of us as leaders. Many of us have excluded God in our leadership roles and are working had against God’s command as leaders. We are afraid of God’s rule over us and we do not want to hear about him anymore. We think of God as a bully who wants to deny us freedom to do whatever we want. Many leaders want to have absolute power to control the world and do whatever they want. As a result, we are experiencing numerous violence and destruction of life and property. But no one can have absolute power except Jesus, the universal king. He has the power over the whole world. We are all called today to submit to his authority at all times. Only those who submit to his rule and authority can be successful leaders and followers of him. Until we accept Jesus as the universal king before our world can experience true freedom and peace.
Jesus gave a good example of leadership for us to follow; he sacrificed himself on the cross for the world. As leaders, we must acknowledge the power of God and follow his commands. We must be ready to provide protection and support for others especially the most vulnerable ones. We must not oppress others or humiliate or abuse them in any way. We should lead people to success, happiness and a peaceful life. We should use our authorities for the good of other people. We are called to be source of strength, unity and love for other people. We should be ready to be misunderstood and persecuted like they did to Jesus. Know that leadership is sacrifice and service to the people.
We must acknowledge Jesus as our king and ruler of our lives and nation. We are to pledge allegiance to the king of the universe, Jesus Christ. We must not submit to the devil for he will destroy us. When we reject God in our society and institutions, we invite the devil into our lives. The devil will make us experience all kinds of bitterness and destroy us. It is because of our selfish desires that we fight God and reject him in our lives. It is a fight that we can never win instead it is a fight that will bring us sorrows and bitterness. We must decide today who we want to rule over our lives. Is it Jesus or the devil? Who is our king and ruler of in our lives?
If Jesus is your king you will follow his rules but not that of the devil. For example, the laws encouraging abortion and same sex marriages are not coming from God. Racism and discrimination against people is not God’s law. Divorce and division amongst people is not God’s will for us. Therefore, acknowledge Jesus as your king and learn to emulate him and follow his commands in your life. We have been called to be servants to others as a leader. Please let us try not to fail them. Let us be like Jesus to them and bring them justice, happiness and love.
CHRIST THE UNIVERSAL KING