The Solemnity of Christ the King (2012)

The highest point of today’s Gospel is the conversation between our Lord and Pilate. Pilate was the ambassador of Rome. His palace, his garb, his behavior radiated the power of the Roman Empire. Jesus was…let us say an itinerant preacher, a carpenter a very simple person at the sight of the world. There was nothing about him that would throw a powerful man in fear. Jesus held no titles; he was not supported by an army. He didn’t even wear shield or carry a sword. So here was this weak and poor Jesus, standing before the powerful Pilate. Was Pilate mocking Jesus or intrigued when he asked him, Are you a king? We don’t really know. But we do know Jesus’ answer: You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth[1].

To testify to the truth. That is what true royalty is about, so this solemnity of Christ the King is a good moment to reflect about testifying to the truth, about integrity, the same topic that we talked about few weeks ago. I am sure many of you remember…

There is a great scene in the great movie A Man for All Seasons that fits so well here. You might remember that the movie was about the determination of St. Thomas More to stand for the faith against the persecution of King Henry VIII. Well, in the scene I’m referring to, after the King made all his arguments, Thomas More said that he himself was unfit to intervene in this argument and the King should take it to Rome. Henry VIII retorted that he didn’t need a pope to tell him what he could or couldn’t do. Then we come to the center point. Thomas More asks the King, “Why do you need my support?” Henry VIII replies with words we would all love to hear said about each of us, “Because, Thomas, you are honest. And what is more to the point, you are known to be honest. There are plenty in the Kingdom who support me, but some do so only out of fear and others only out of what they can get for their support. But you are different. And people know it. That is why I need your support.”[2]

In the presence of integrity, Henry VIII knew who was King and who was subject.

Thomas More, John Fisher, Maximilian Kolbe and so many others followed Jesus Christ in being people of integrity. The powerful Pilate could have Jesus tortured and killed, and he did in fact, but Pilate himself remained a prisoner because he lived a lie. And Jesus remained a King because he testified to the truth to his last breath.

Then you are a King? Pilate asked, and Jesus answered, you say that I am a king. For this was I testify to the truth[3].

This gospel, this solemnity of Christ the King reminds us that each of us was born for this same reason, to testify to the truth. And what is the truth? Jesus Christ is the truth, and the way, and the life[4], as we know very well…

So as we leave this liturgical year, we might leave wondering, how can I enter into the kingship Christ gives me? And the Gospel gives the answer.

On this last day of the church year then, take time to think about your own life. How disordered has our life been? Have we been placing too much effort in the wrong places? And don’t get discouraged, don’t be disappointed, because we have the shepherd watching over us, helping us on to the right paths, caring for us and providing for us.
His message is simple: “put your hope in him, and think about others” and that is how you will reach the kingdom of heaven at the end of your time on earth.  That is the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel today!

[1] Sunday 25th November, 2012, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King. Readings: Daniel 7:13-14. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty—Ps 92(93):1-2, 5. Apocalypse 1:5-8. John 18:33-37 [St Catherine of Alexandria].
[3] John 18:37
[4] Idem 14:6. 

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris