Who do we pick as our king?

Post Date: November 15, 2022
Author: Jeff Borski

A Reflection on the Readings for Sunday, November 20, 2022,
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

First Reading: 2 Sm 5:1-3
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
Second Reading: Col 1:12-20
Gospel: Lk 23:35-43

We can easily, as Christians, people who believe in God as the supreme creator, come to a quick understanding of the term “King of the Universe.” But to truly understand why the term “king” is used, it must be further defined.

It is rare in our American culture to fully understand a monarchy since our government is one of a republic state in which power rests with the people or their representatives. We are, therefore, specifically without a monarchy.

In the years leading up to and following the birth of Christ Jesus, it was not uncommon to have one individual who would be responsible for caring for and protecting the community. One man invested with authority carrying the weight of governance and making decisions on behalf of the people.

I would suspect the visions most of us would have of kingship would not be that pleasant if we studied history. There were countless homicidal, brutal, and narcissistic rulers and kings, such as Nero, Genghis Khan, Edward II, Charles I, George IV, and Edward VIII. These kings and rulers were impaired by greed and hunger for power. We also might look around the globe and see this type of behavior happening in real-time currently.

However, if we look to Jesus, we see he comes at a time when God’s children are looking for a military ruler, one that would be much like king David, someone who would reassert Israel’s independence, rid the land of the Romans, and make good and wise decisions for the people.

When Jesus appeared, proclaiming God’s kingdom, he offered an antidote to imperial ways. He criticized the way the “kings of the Gentiles” lorded over their people and even demanded recognition for their benefaction.

By contrast, Jesus urged the leaders among his followers to be the servants of all (Luke 22:25-26), a manner of life he modeled for them as he traveled with people at the lowest levels of society. We also see that Jesus was unlike an offended monarch who imposed harsh punishments for infractions; he instead exercised power through forgiveness and compassion when transgressions occurred. This is never more obvious than at his own crucifixion.

This way of kingship contrasts the Roman Empire and even our current worldly governing parties. It might even seem as though the world of selfish suppressive dictators and rulers may be winning out as we watch the worldly events unfolding in the media. But as we hear in the gospel for this solemnity, it is perfectly clear that Jesus’ kingship, his merciful rule, cannot be extinguished by death; this makes him “Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.”

As followers of Christ the King, we find ourselves challenged to form communities where the only royal figure is Jesus, the only kingdom is God’s, and the power of forgiveness reigns supreme.

Through our baptism, we are called to be priest, prophet, and king. Focusing on our kingship, we are to look upon our call to live as servants to others, to be forgiving and compassionate, and to be good stewards with the blessings we have received from God.

May Christ our King always reign in our hearts!

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