My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1
The Solemnity of Christ the King that we celebrate today marks the last Sunday of the Church’s liturgical year, as we know. Next Sunday we begin a new liturgical year, with the start Advent.
As we look back on this year, I think we all understand that we are living in a time of deep changes in the world, and that this is a time of renewal and reform in the Church.
And as I was reflecting on the readings we just heard, I found myself thinking that
in our society it is getting harder and harder for us to see the reality of God, and to recognize that Christ is our king.
In the first reading today, we heard the beautiful and powerful visions that the prophet Daniel saw.
I saw one like a Son of man coming
on the clouds of heaven.
Now, Daniel is just an ordinary person like any of us. He is living in the world. Yet Daniel can see the reality of heaven. He can see the reality of Almighty God and his kingdom.
But as I was saying, as I have been reflecting on these readings, I think it is not so easy for us today to see the reality of the presence of God in our lives. I think it is getting harder for the vision of God to “break in” to our lives.
And it seems to me that it is because of the reality of the fact that we live in a technological society.
We live today like we are “self-sufficient,” like we can do everything for ourselves. We do not need God to solve our problems or answer our questions.
We live today as if this world is “all there is.” And as we know, this is not true!
There is more to this world than what we can see and hear, and taste and touch! There are truths in the universe that our science and technology cannot reveal to us.
There’s also, as we know, the reality of eternal life. Our destiny is fulfilled in the beauty of heaven. And our life has meaning as we walk in our journey of faith knowing that our goal is eternal happiness in the presence of God.
And this is, my dear brothers and sisters, what the solemnity of Christ the King is all about.
Jesus Christ is telling us today — just as he tells Pontius Pilate in the Gospel:
My kingdom does not belong to this world …
My kingdom is not here.
This is the truth about real life. What Daniel saw in his vision — this is the truth about the world.
Pilate could not see this. He was thinking according to the standards of this world. He was only thinking about “a king” in terms of power and control.
But the truth is that we are living in God’s kingdom, now. Jesus brings the kingdom. And he calls us to open our eyes to this reality.
So what is this kingdom? The kingdom is all of us, it is you and me. His kingdom is his Church.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us:
The Church is the Kingdom of God, which has been begun by God himself on earth and which must be further extended until it has been brought to perfection by him at the end of time.2
The second reading of today’s Mass, from the Book of Revelation, tells us that Jesus “has made us into a kingdom.”
But Jesus is not a king like any other king. He does not rule by force or by power. He does not try to control us. He rules by humility and sacrifice. He rules by love.
And my dear brothers and sisters, Jesus is calling each one of us — he is calling you, he’s calling me — to accept his love. To make him King in our hearts.
As we pray every time we pray the Our Father: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” And this is the mission that Jesus gives us too.
We need to live for Jesus. We need to follow him and build his kingdom along with him.
This is the Church’s mission in every age — to follow Christ and to proclaim him and bear witness to the reality of his kingdom.
It is true, this is who we are. The Church. The Kingdom of God.
But all throughout history, the Church is always called to renew herself. As I said before, I think this is a time in the Church for reform and renewal.
The Church is always called to correct what is wrong, to clear away what prevents us from bearing witness to Jesus Christ.
So we, my dear brothers and sisters, we need to do our part to help our world to see the beauty of the kingdom of God, the beauty of God’s plan of love for us.
But reform and renewal mean more than changing our way of doing things or how we do things. Reform and renewal always mean returning — going back to Jesus Christ, to his words, to his “faithful witness.”
Jesus tells Pilate today in the Gospel:
You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.
So today, as we contemplate the beauty of the Kingdom of God — Christ the King — let’s make a new act of faith. We need to make Jesus our King. We need to listen to his voice.
If we believe in the truth that he speaks to us, this truth will set us free. And we will see the world in a new way. We will see his kingdom coming — in every act of love we make, in every work of mercy we perform.
It is a beautiful resolution and today as we prepare for this season of Advent, start by making an act of faith and opening our hearts, our souls, our lives to the Kingdom of God. To Jesus as the King, Christ the King.
Let’s ask Mary Our Blessed Mother for her intercession that we can accept the love of Christ our King and proclaim his kingdom by our lives. An eternal and universal kingdom. A kingdom of truth and life. A kingdom of holiness and grace. A kingdom of justice, love, and peace.
1. Readings: Dan.7:13-14; Ps. 93:1-2, 5; Rev. 1:5-8; John 18:33b-37.
2. CCC 782