Gifts to the Church → Jesus, Our King
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, better known to most of us as Christ the King. As you may be aware, things in the Church sometimes take time, and this particular celebration is not very old when we consider the time that has passed since Christ established the Church, more or less on Pentecost Sunday, which we celebrated last May. It was Pope Pius XI who established this festival in 1925, a mere 90 years ago.
In his encyclical, in which he decreed this feast, Pope Pius XI stated,
“It has long been a common custom to give Christ the metaphorical title of ‘King,’ because of the high degree of perfection whereby He excels all creatures. So He is said to reign ‘in the hearts of men,’ both by reason of the keenness of His intellect and the extent of His knowledge, and also because He is the very truth.”
The Pope goes on to provide other aspects of the Lord that make him a King, citing His inspiration, charity, mercy, kindness, and love. Our readings for this day confirm those traits in Jesus, and explain why He is our King, especially as the Pope said,
“in our hearts.”
In our Gospel from Saint John where Pontius Pilate asks Jesus point blank, “Are you the King of the Jews?” to which the Lord eventually replies,
“My Kingdom is not of this world.”
Pilate was surely perplexed and confused by that answer because Pilate’s perception of what it means to be a King is perhaps similar to many of us. St. Augustine, in writing about this Gospel passage, points out that to Pilate who thinks of being a King only in political terms, “…earthly kingdoms are based upon force, pride, the love of human praise, the desire for domination, and self-interest.” Jesus is the antithesis of all of these. Yet, we, who are very human, also tend to recognize the kind of power and dominion that Pilate thought of and understood when the word “king” was used.
The heavenly kingdom, as exemplified by Jesus, is based on love, sacrifice, humility, and righteousness. As Advent begins next week, and as we make our own preparations for Jesus’ reign, we need to keep those traits close to our heart, because those are the attributes of a steward, one who strives to serve God and others.
Remember St. Mary’s with a gift in your will or estate plan!