The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Daniel 7:13-14, Psalm 93:1-2, 5, Revelation 1:5-8, & John 18:33b-37
Remember the Magi, the Three Wise Men? "Where is he who has been born King of the Jews?" they asked. A question was frightening for King Herod. He had a rival—a new king. To eliminate that rival, he slaughtered hundreds, maybe thousands of baby boys.
In today's Gospel narrative, Pilate asks Jesus, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus is indeed King. He is King of the entire universe. However, and this is crucial, He is not a King in the sense Pilate believes Him to be. Jesus has no interest in collecting taxes, raising an army, wearing regal clothing, or living in a palace.
Jesus unquestionably answers Pilate, "My kingdom does not belong to this world." Our Lord does not say, "My kingdom is in the 'other world." He does say His kingdom comes from beyond this world. His kingdom is no less than the rule of God. It is real, and it is here now. Jesus rules over human hearts. He will not force anyone; He will invite them and persuade them that His kingdom is what they should seek in the gentlest way.
Pilate did not get it, neither did Jesus' disciples. Peter was there in the garden that night waving his sword, while James and John wanted to sit in glory at Jesus' right and left hands. Why?
The key to all that we read today may be the word "power." For Pilate, power is armies, force, fear, and domination. For Jesus, power is compassion, self-sacrifice, and mercy. Pilate did not get that at all. But then, sadly, Jesus' Church has not always understood that part either.
I once read this story, and maybe it will help us understand Jesus' intentions. A famous doctor with an extensive, lucrative practice left it all behind to the surprise of his family, colleagues, and friends. He moved to the island of Haiti because it was the poorest place in the Western Hemisphere. A few years later, one of his friends visited him on the island. The doctor had just finished a very complex surgery, and his friend asked, "How much would a New York hospital ask in payment for that operation?" The doctor said, "I suspect several hundred thousand dollars." The pastor asked, "How much is the payment here in Haiti?" The doctor said, "Oh, a dollar or two, and the smile of God," and then added, "But this is really living."
"My kingdom does not belong to this world." We all know that. We have seen glimpses of it in our lifetime. Today, and every day, let us give thanks to the Lord our God. Let us give thanks to Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
Question of the Day: The Lord Jesus came into the world to testify to the truth. Will you?
Prayer: "The Lord is King; He is robed in majesty." Alleluia, alleluia.