This weekend, we celebrate the Solemnity of Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe. In this feast, we recognize the total sovereignty of Jesus over all things, and we affirm our own belonging to Him as our King. No other power can lay claim to our hearts as completely as Jesus. As our King, Christ gathers us all – all of the baptized – into one family, one nation, one people. This was His mission when He came among us as a man, and He has accomplished that mission by forming the Church and gathering us all into it as brothers and sisters.
During His life, Jesus testified to this mission when He said, “Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” St. John adds that, He said this indicating the kind of death he would die. Jesus has cast out Satan and has taken His place as the ruler of our lives. And we see this supreme moment in Christ’s life today in our Gospel.
Here, Jesus is crucified – a strange place for a King, however, He is proclaimed the King nevertheless. “Above the cross was an inscription in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew that read: "This is the King of the Jews". King of the Jews and our King, Jesus Christ. There on the Cross, suffering with two criminals, our King calls us together and promises the Kingdom: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
You and I belong to Jesus; we are members of His kingdom. If this is true, then we cannot recognize any borders among us. Nothing can separate us from our brothers and sisters. We are not made for such barriers. With this in mind, we are all of one people – one Church – united in our relationship with Christ and with each other. No wall, no distinction, no boundary can separate us; and we cannot support any such barriers to our unity. And our world presents us with many of these barriers – ideological, ecclesiastical, linguistic, racial, and others. As Christians, we have to work against these separations and imitate Christ our King by serving as agents of unity.
It is our charge, by virtue of our shared Baptism, to work to unite the lost and the marginalized, to speak for justice and understanding among all people, to forgive others and share compassion with the vulnerable. We are all called to be on the side of the immigrant, the forgotten, the unborn, the infirm, and the outcast. These are the ones with whom Jesus chooses to identify. Hanging on the Cross, Jesus shows us that true kingship is most fully expressed in service and self-gift. This is true love – true charity.
As we gather together now and honor Christ the King, let us recognize our oneness in Christ, who “exists before all things, and all things continue in being through him. He is the head of the body, the Church”. As the Church, united in the Eucharist, we are welcomed to the table of the Lord. No one is excluded, no one is separated. This is the lesson of Christ the King, who draws all people to Himself. May we serve our King by drawing others to ourselves, and to Him. Viva Cristo Rey!