This Sunday is the Solemnity of CHRIST THE KING and the last Sunday of the Church’s Liturgical Calendar. “I am a king. For this I was born and for this I have come into the world to bear witness to the truth”, Jn 18:37 The above expression was Jesus’ firm response to Pilate during His trial before His Crucifixion. We, therefore, gathered today with the entire Church to affirm and to celebrate that Jesus is indeed born to reign as the King of our lives as well as the King of the universe.
Salvation history, as we know, began with the Jews. Originally, God did not give the people of Israel a king at first. Why? Because Israel was taken to be a Theocratic Nation. God alone was their King and they needed no other. But later God relented and chose David as King over Israel with the promise that God would raise up through David’s lineage a Saviour who would establish an everlasting Kingdom of Righteousness and Peace for all ages (Psalm 89:29). What is the significance and meaning of Jesus’ Kingship for us? One might ask. From the Gospel reading of today, “Above the head of Jesus on the cross was the inscription, ‘This is the King of the Jews’.” Reading this the solders mocked Jesus, and offered Him vinegar saying; ‘if you are the King of the Jews, save Yourself. The same with the leaders who jeered at Him saying, ‘He saved others, let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the Chosen one.’ Even one of the two thieves hanging there abused Jesus as well. ‘Are you not the Christ?’ he said. ‘Save Yourself and us as well.’
For all these people, they neither know who Jesus really is, nor do they believe in Him and His Kingship over them. That is why they made mockery of the one who comes to give them life to the full and to rule their lives in Love, Justice and Righteousness. Conversely, we celebrate today as people who believe in Jesus and who allow His Kingship to reign over our individual lives as well as our respective families. However, when we talk of Jesus’ Kingship over us, what do we really mean? The Scriptures tell us that there are ultimately two kingdoms in this world which are opposed to each other; the Kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness. Each kingdom is ruled by one lord or master; The Lord Jesus Christ, the Light of the world rules the Kingdom of Light while -the devil (the Anti-Christ) rules the kingdom of darkness by lies and deception.
If we serve the Lord Jesus Christ and allow His reign over our lives and homes, He will open our hearts to the truth that guides one to inner peace and Eternal Kingdom in Heaven. But if we follow the course which is set by the ruler of darkness through his lies, deception and manipulations, then, we will discover that we will be led down a path of inner sorrow and eternal destruction through sin. Therefore, we cannot be celebrating Jesus’ Kingdom/Kingship over us when we still cling to our own kingdom. As David Payne would say, ‘We can’t pray, ‘Your kingdom come’ without also praying ‘my kingdom go’. As followers of Christ, there is only one room for one King in our lives. And Christ is that King. There should be no other. Hence, today’s celebration calls us to live our lives as those whom Jesus has absolute authority over their lives.
It is only by HUMBLE OBEDIENCE TO THE WILL OF THE FATHER whom Jesus comes to reveal, that we would allow His Kingdom to reign in us and over us. When Satan tempted Jesus during His forty-day fast in the wilderness, Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world (Matt. 4:8-9) but through His submission and humble obedience to His Father’s Will, Jesus secured His victory over the devil. Similarly, only obedience to the will of God gains us victory over Satan. Therefore, to follow Jesus, whose Kingdom we are proclaiming today demands that we should stand apart from those elements of the world that refuse to recognize Jesus’ Authority. Following Jesus Christ our King, obliges us to make life decisions that are determined by the law of God rather than the popular and erroneous opinions of this world which are built on Lies and manipulations. Following Jesus Christ the King necessitates that we should separate ourselves from all the popular and erroneous opinions which the world promotes and glorifies and which are contrary to Christ’s Gospel values. And to ardently hold onto this separation is a call to Holiness for every member of this Kingdom of Christ. With the good thief we, pray, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.
I pray as you celebrate Jesus Christ the King of the Universe, may you enjoy His royal blessings, protection, breakthrough, and favours in the Mighty name of Jesus Christ.
Fr. Dom Udegbe