A number of years ago the late King Baudouin was reigning in Belgium. As the Constitutional Monarch, one of his duties was to "rubber stamp" all the bills passed by Parliament with his signature, thereby officially promulgating them as law. In 1990, the Belgian parliament passed a reprehensible bill that basically removed all legal sanctions against abortions. As a practicing and conscientious Catholic, King Baudouin objected to abortion vehemently, and so he could not and would not endorse the measure. But according to the Constitution, he did not have a choice - as figurehead Monarch, he had to ratify the bill, so by refusing to sign the bill into law, he was, in effect, attempting to veto the parliament, and putting his throne on the line! The parliament simply dethroned him for one day, promulgated the law on that day when there was no reigning monarch in Belgium, and then re-instated him on the next day. Earthly monarchs of this century are only titular heads and they do not have absolute power. Jesus the king is not limited in his power by any constitutions, but he is the absolute monarch.
Pope Pius XI instituted The Feast of Christ the King in 1925 for the universal church because the people of the day had “thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives,” believing “these had no place in public affairs or in politics.” The purpose of this feast was that the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration of the feast, as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies (Quas Primas, 33).
The first reading presents God as a Shepherd reminding us of Christ’s claim that he is the true shepherd. In the second reading, St. Paul introduces Christ as the all-powerful ruler who raises the dead and to whom every other power and authority must eventually give way. Today’s Gospel presents Christ the King coming in Heavenly glory to judge us, based on how we have shared our love and blessings with others through genuine acts of charity in our lives. Matthew adds a new dimension to the risen Jesus’ presence in the Christian community in the parable of the Last Judgment. Jesus is present to us now, not only as our good shepherd leading, feeding and healing his sheep, but also as dwelling in those for whom we care.
Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, Prophet Micah announced the Messiah’s coming as King. "But you, O Bethlehem Ephrata, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel.." (Micah 5:1). Daniel presents "one coming like a son of man ... to him was given dominion and glory and kingship that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed" (Daniel 7: 13-14).
In the Annunciation, recorded in Lk.1:32-33, we read: “The Lord God will make him a King, as his ancestor David was, and he will be the King of the descendants of Jacob forever and his Kingdom will never end.” The Magi from the Far East came to Jerusalem and asked the question: (Mt 2:2) “Where is the baby born to be the King of the Jews? ” When Pilate asked the question: (Jn 18:33) “Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus, in the course of their conversation, made his assertion, “You say that I am a King. For this was I born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the Truth.” (John 18:37). Before His Ascension into Heaven, the Risen Jesus declared: (Mt. 28:18) “I have been given all authority in Heaven and on earth.”
The Kingdom of God is the central teaching of Jesus throughout the Gospels. The word Kingdom appears more than any other word throughout the four Gospels. Jesus begins His public ministry by preaching the Kingdom. "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel" (Mark 1:14). In Christ's Kingdom, “we are all a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Pt 2:9; see also Ex 19:6; Is 61:6).
Jesus Christ still lives as King, in thousands of human hearts all over the world. The cross is his throne and the Sermon on the Mount is his rule of law. His citizens need obey only one law: “Love others as I have loved you" (John 15:12). His love is selfless, sacrificial, kind, compassionate, forgiving and unconditional. That is why the preface in today’s Mass describes Jesus’ Kingdom as "a Kingdom of truth and life, a Kingdom of holiness and grace, a Kingdom of justice, love and peace." He is a King with a saving and liberating mission: to free mankind from all types of bondage so that we may live peacefully and happily on earth and inherit Eternal Life in Heaven.
This feast is an invitation to all those who have power or authority in the government, public offices, educational institutions and in the family to use it for Jesus. Are we using our God-given authority so as to serve others with love and compassion as Jesus did? Are we using it to build a more just society rather than to boost our own egos?
Conclusion: The Solemnity of Christ the King is not just the conclusion of the Church year. It is also a summary of our lives as Christians. On this great Feast, let us resolve to give Christ the central place in our lives and to obey His commandment of love by sharing our blessings with all his needy children. Let us conclude the Church year by asking the Lord to help us serve the King of Kings as He presents Himself in those reaching out to us.