Life & Soul Life and Soul

The Word this Week 

A Byzantine-style mosaic of Christ in Cefal├╣ Cathedral, Sicily

Christ the King
Dn 7:13-14; Rev 1:5-8; Jn 18:33-37 (Year B)

The prayer at Mass for the solemnity of Christ the King spans our relationship with God from its beginning in Creation to its ultimate conclusion with Christ’s Second Coming as Lord and King.

It is a prayer full of hope, turning to the Father who, in the gift of his beloved Son, has restored all that had been lost to sin. Christ, acclaimed as Lord and King in his death and Resurrection, is celebrated as King of the Universe and the liberator of an enslaved creation.

This all-embracing vision calls the Church, at the end of its liturgical year, to an unshakeable faith in Christ. At the same time it demands of us the humility to acknowledge that Christ’s kingdom of love, grace and peace must continue to challenge everything within ourselves as yet unredeemed from other lords and other kingdoms.

Christ himself, as a humble servant, journeyed to the Father. In like manner we journey to Christ and the fulfilment of his kingdom. As we carry within ourselves a frailty that has been touched by sin, it is a journey of both joy and struggle. Joy, because whatever our struggles, we know that nothing “can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

This Sunday’s Scriptures bear witness to a joy born of struggle. The visions of both Daniel and Revelation had their genesis in the widespread persecutions both preceding and following Christ’s birth, death and Resurrection.

Here, through physical and psychological degradation, God’s people had been stripped of every pretence. Despite overwhelming suffering, they continued to proclaim Christ as “the first-born from the dead and the Ruler of Kings. The Alpha and the Omega, who was, who is and is to come. The Almighty!”

In our own generation, both as Church and as individuals, the struggle continues. Jesus bore witness to this struggle as he stood condemned before Pontius Pilate.

He insisted that his was not a kingdom of this world. What Jesus referred to as “a kingdom of this world” is anything centred on sinful pride and domination at any cost.

He had come to establish his Father’s kingdom, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace. We, with Christ as our King, are called to build such a kingdom.

“Yes, I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth, and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.”