The Solemnity Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

How did Christ exercise his kingship?
How did Christ exercise his kingship?

Central idea: Christ is my King and my God. Doctrine: Christ as Lord and King. Practical application: Reigning by serving.

To view Lectionary 161, click here.

Central idea: Christ is my King and God

Reading 1 Dn 7:13-14

As the visions during the night continued, I saw
one like a Son of man coming,
on the clouds of heaven;
when he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before him,
the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;
all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.

  • In a vision, Daniel saw the Messiah. He had the appearance of a Son of man; that is, he had a human form. He is given by God the Father, the Ancient One, an everlasting kingdom of men. This Son of man is Jesus Christ and his kingdom is the Kingdom of God.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 93:1, 1-2, 5

R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.

The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.

And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.

Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed;
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.

  • The only proper king for the Jews and for Christians is God himself.
    • In the Old Covenant, God was to be the king of Israel.
    • This continues for Christians. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, consubstantial with the Father, is the King of the Universe.
  • Ultimately, given the personal dignity of the human person, isn’t God Himself the only proper king for every man and woman? And because of the Incarnation and Redemption, isn’t this proper king Jesus Christ?

Reading 2 Rv 1:5-8

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father,
to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.
Behold, he is coming amid the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him.
All the peoples of the earth will lament him.
Yes. Amen.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, ” says the Lord God,
“the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.”

  • Jesus Christ is the “faithful witness.” He has spoken the truth about God and man.
  • He has risen from the dead and will raise us up, too.
  • He is the universal king, and so, “ruler of the kings of the earth.”
  • We adore him because he “loves us and has freed us from our sins,” a feat accomplished by his Passion, “by his blood.”
  • He has made us to be his kingdom, not a land but a people.
  • The statement, he has made us “priests for his God and Father,” means we offer sacrifices to him, primarily whatever good we do and whatever sufferings we endure. And we confess his glory and power.
  • At his second coming, everyone who has ever lived will see him.
  • There is a note of hope in the prophecy that everyone who sees Christ will lament him, if this means everyone will comprehend what he endured and who he endured it for. Maybe men’s hearts will able to convert even then.
    • In Zec 12:10 the Lord says, “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of mercy and supplication, so that when they look on him whom they have thrust through, they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and they will grieve for him as one grieves over a firstborn.”
    • Pilate will say to Our Lord in today’s Gospel, “Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.” Not only did his own nation and its leaders at that time turn against Christ, everyone who has sinned—all of us—has rejected Christ and so perhaps everyone will be touched to finally see Christ as he is.

Alleluia Mk 11:9, 10

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!

  • Jesus Christ is the everlasting king that God promised the Chosen People through David.

Gospel Jn 18:33b-37

Pilate said to Jesus,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “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.”

  • Christ is truly a king, but his kingdom was not there. It did not belong to this world. Not yet.
  • The true meaning of Christ’s messianic kingship at that time is revealed when Jesus is raised on the cross: “The Son of Man came [down from heaven] not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Jn 3:13; CCC 440).

Doctrine: Christ as Lord and King

  • Jesus is Lord.
    • The power, honor, and glory due to God the Father are due also to Jesus” (CCC 339).
    • A “lord” is someone to whom one submits. But “man should not submit his personal freedom in an absolute manner to any earthly power, but only to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (CCC 450).
    • “Jesus Christ . . . possesses all power in heaven and on earth.” “Christ is Lord of the cosmos and of history. In him human history and indeed all creation are ‘set forth’ and transcendently fulfilled.” (CCC 668)
  • Jesus already reigns through the Church.
    • “Christ is also head of the Church, which is his body. . . . [He] dwells on earth in his Church.” Christ’s kingdom is “already present in mystery” here on earth. (CCC 669)
    • “Already the final age of the world is with us, and the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real but imperfect” (CCC 670).
    • “[Christ] exercises his kingship by drawing all men to himself through his death and Resurrection” (CCC 786).
      • So, we can say, in his earthly life, Christ exercised his messianic kingship by laying down his life for everyone. Now he exercises it by drawing everyone to himself.
    • On earth not all things are as yet subject to him.
      • “Though already present in his Church, Christ’s reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled ‘with power and great glory’ by the king’s return to earth. This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ’s Passover. Until everything is subject to him, ‘until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God.’ That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ’s return by saying to him: Marana tha! ‘Our Lord, come!’” (CCC 671)
      • “The present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by ‘distress’ and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching.” (CCC 672)

Practical application: Reigning by serving

  • We are to reign over ourselves. Christ gives his disciples “the gift of royal freedom, so that they might ‘by the self-abnegation of a holy life, overcome the reign of sin in themselves.’”
    • “That man is rightly called a king who makes his own body an obedient subject and, by governing himself with suitable rigor, refuses to let his passions breed rebellion in his soul, for he exercises a kind of royal power over himself. And because he knows how to rule his own person as king, so too does he sit as its judge. He will not let himself be imprisoned by sin, or thrown headlong into wickedness.” (CCC 908)
      • Our passions and emotions are good in themselves, God’s gifts to us through our bodies. But they are to be directed by our wills. Our wills are to be directed by our intellects. Our intellects are to be directed by the natural law and the Divine Law. This is the truly human way to live and we can do so with the help of grace and with good formation.
        • Are we kings over ourselves or are we enslaved by our own emotions and passions? Do we rule our desires or do our desires rule us?
  • “For the Christian, ‘to reign is to serve him,’ particularly when serving ‘the poor and the suffering, in whom the Church recognizes the image of her poor and suffering founder’” (CCC 786).
    • Just as our Lord did, the Christian acts as a king or lord by serving Christ, especially Christ in the guise of a person in need. Every Christian is a man for others. The Christian makes the gift of self.
  • Part of this service by which we reign is worship. Men have a duty to worship God in “the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church” (CCC 2105). The Church demonstrates that Christ is her King by the worship she shows him (CCC 2105). We adore God because we are creatures and he is the creator (CCC 2628) and he is the savior and we are his saved.
        • One of the reasons we attend Mass is to offer Christ the worship or adoration we owe him. At Mass, we don’t have to be consoled, or moved, or inspired. We certainly don’t need to be entertained. It is enough that we are there and participating.

The Homiletic Directory offers the following Catechism points and themes for the Solemnity of Christ the King – Christ the origin and goal of history:

  • CCC 440, 446-451, 668-672, 783, 786, 908, 2105, 2628: Christ as Lord and King
  • CCC 678-679, 1001, 1038-1041: Christ as Judge
  • CCC 2816-2821: “Thy Kingdom Come”






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