Christ the King in the Passion of the Church

Today, the last Sunday of October, we honor Our Lord Jesus Christ, King.

During His Passion, Pilate asked Our Lord Jesus Christ, “Art Thou the King of the Jews?” As St. John relates,

Jesus answered: ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now My kingdom is not from hence.’ Pilate therefore said to Him: Art Thou a king then? Jesus answered: ‘Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth My voice.’

Pilate saith to Him: ‘What is truth?’ And when he said this, he went out again to the Jews…” (John 18, 33-38)

‘Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth My voice.’

Notice that Pilate, after asking Jesus, “What is truth?” walked away without attending to His answer. Isn’t that typical of the posturing of the leaders of this world! Here is Jesus telling us that everyone who is of the truth hears His voice and Pilate proves that he is not of the truth by ignoring Christ the King’s voice.

Picture if you will, our King as He must have looked when He said these words, not in front of a cheering crowd, but instead, a jeering mob crying for His crucifixion and death. Not wearing splendid garments but clothed in His bloodied and dirtied robe; not crowned with gold and jewels but with hateful thorns. Thus His appearance affirms His message, that is, that His Kingdom is not of this world. There is enmity between His Kingdom and the false kingdoms of this world. It is a kingdom so sublime that nothing this world can do can impinge upon it, and it will have no end.

By affirming that “My kingdom is not of this world”, Our Lord was teaching that contrary to worldly kings who maintain  their transient rule by force of arms, by worldly power, His kingdom is absolute, it exists beyond time and will never end. His rule in encoded in our hearts, minds, in our wills and we ignore it at the peril of our souls.  There is no escaping it, and whether we accept it, shrug it off with indifference or combat it actively, we nevertheless serve it. Until He comes in glory, we must, in obedience to our thorn-crowned King, serve Him and proclaim His sovereignty in truth and love in all we do.

Today, more than ever, we proclaim His Reign. The leaders of the Church and the leaders of this world may turn away from this thorn-crowned King, but we know that He will triumph and they and all their useless pomp and foolishness will be gone in the blink of an eye. Never before have our prayers been given such efficacy; despite what the Bishop of Rome may say, we recite our prayers, be they litanies, rosaries, the Angelus, the Divine Office or the Little Office. Even when our prayers are forced through an act of the will from a heart burdened with the sorrows and disappointments of these bleak times; yes, especially when we least feel inclined to pray! Our Lord told Sister Josefa Menedez that that was when her prayers were most effective in saving poor sinners! (The Way of Divine Love, TAN Publishing).
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