Boldly proclaiming the kingdom
By: By Sharon Priester
The Solemnity of Christ the King, Nov. 22
Daniel 7:13-14; Psalm 93:1,1-2,5; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18:33b-37
THIS WEEKEND, the last Sunday of the liturgical year, we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King. Reflecting on kings or queens, the one I quickly thought of living today was Queen Elizabeth II, ruler of the United Kingdom. I recalled watching her coronation and how it was so somber, regal and beautiful. I know she lives at Buckingham Palace and has dominion and power over the subjects in England, Canada and Australia, to mention just a few.
In history books and in Scripture, I have read about kings and queens conquering neighboring countries. Some of these kingdoms lasted a long time (like the Roman empire) but eventually were conquered by another nation.
In this weekend’s passage from John’s Gospel, we find Jesus, shackled and helpless, standing before Pilate, the governor of Judea and a representative of the Roman empire. Pilate asks Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus responds, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” Pilate continues questioning. Jesus then replies, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.”
JESUS certainly was not the king that others pictured, but rather one that served humbly and asked his followers to do the same. He gave his life to save all of humanity and promised everyone life eternally with him. The kingdom he speaks of is not here on earth but in heaven, a kingdom that will never pass away.
He goes on to tell Pilate that he “came into the world, to testify to the truth,” that is, to help all people to come to know of God’s unconditional love for each person. Those who experience Christ’s proclamation of this truth through his words, actions, attitude and being, and accept this truth, will recognize him as king and savior of all and will be part of his kingdom.
The other two readings for this weekend help us to envision Christ, the King and his everlasting dominion. In Daniel, the author describes a vision where he saw “one like a Son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven.” According to Christian belief, this “Son of man” is Jesus. Daniel goes on to say, “His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.”
IN THE second reading, taken from the Book of Revelation, Jesus Christ is described as “the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.” A faithful witness of God and his love for all of us, he was resurrected from the dead and is the “one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.” He came to earth to make us “into a kingdom of priests for his God and Father.”
This kingdom of priests, the common priesthood to which we are called through our baptism, is a “life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1547). Each of us, members of the common priesthood, “are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that [they] may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called [them] out of darkness into his marvelous light'” (CCC, 1268; 1 Peter 2:9).
We are called to be witnesses of our faith and share it, like the apostles, throughout the world by our words, actions, attitude and being. How can you improve on how you show glory and honor to our king, Jesus Christ, boldly proclaiming his kingdom of justice, love and peace to each person you meet, today, tomorrow and forever?
Sharon Priester is one of six regional directors of religious education working with the diocesan Office of Catechetics and serves the Bloomington and Lincoln vicariates of the Diocese of Peoria. She is a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Bloomington.