On this last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Church invites us to reflect on Jesus' kingship. Here in America, it is often difficult for us to understand what a king really is and what he does. For us Americans, kingship often holds negative connotations. After all, we've heard for years in history classes about old King George of England who treated the American colonists so badly that they rebelled and won their freedom in the Revolutionary War. Perhaps we even look at today's royal families and think, “Well, they're just a bunch of millionaires or even billionaires who really have no power at all. They're just figureheads!”
Jesus' kingship, however, is something very different. Let's look closely at today's readings and discover what it means for Jesus to be our King.
First Reading – Daniel 7:13-14
In this reading, we hear that God has given One like a Son of Man all dominion, glory, and kingship. Although Daniel wrote many years before Jesus was born, his prophecy clearly refers to Someone Who is both human (like a Son of Man) and divine (He comes before the Ancient One, God the Father, on a cloud), and of course, that Someone could only be Jesus. The One Daniel sees receives power over all people. The whole world will serve Him. His glorious reign will last forever; it will never be removed or destroyed.
Psalm 93:1, 2, 5
The Psalm tells us more about the characteristics of Jesus our King. Our Lord and King is “robed in splendor” and “girt about with strength.” He is magnificent in appearance, noble and radiant. Further, He is strong, so strong that He wears His strength like a belt. It is noticeable to everyone. This King is also the Creator King. He made the world, and He holds it in existence at every moment. He Himself is everlasting. He has no beginning and no end. He has been King forever and will remain King forever. Finally, this King is trustworthy. When He makes a decree or a proclamation, we can believe that He speaks the truth for our best interests, and we must obey.
Second Reading – Revelation 1:5-8
The Book of Revelation presents the mysterious visions St. John experienced while he was in exile on the island of Patmos. Our reading from this book today gives us another glimpse of Jesus' kingship. Jesus our King is a “faithful witness.” He tells the truth about God and about His plan for us. Further, He is the first One to ever rise from the dead, and He is the ruler of all kings on earth (and everyone else, too!). What's more, this almighty King loves us! He loves us so much that He died for us to save us and free us from our sins. Jesus proclaims that He is the “Alpha and the Omega.” Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, so Jesus is saying that He is the first and the last and everything in between. He always was, He is now, and He always will be King.
Gospel – John 18:33-37
In this passage, we hear part of the conversation between Jesus and Pontius Pilate during Jesus' trial. Pilate asks Jesus whether He is a king and what He has done to make the Jewish leaders hand Him over to the Romans. Jesus says in reply, “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.” Even though Jesus is the King of all people of all times and places, His kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. It is a heavenly kingdom. It does not abide by the rules of the world but by God's rules. Further, Jesus clarifies what He has come to do as the King of the heavenly kingdom, namely, to testify to the truth. He has come to tell us Who God is and what He has done, is doing, and will do for us. He expects us to listen intently to His voice.
Yes, Jesus is a King, and He is a King like no other. Today we crown the liturgical year by celebrating His kingship.
Take a few minutes to ask yourself a very important question: “Is Jesus the King of my life?”