Today we celebrate the last Sunday in Ordinary time by celebrating the Solemnity of Christ the King. The liturgical year symbolizes the history of salvation, and the Solemnity of Christ the King celebrates when, at the end of time, salvation history comes to its fulfillment. We conclude the liturgical year this week by remembering the end of salvation history, when, as John tells us in the Second Reading, Christ will come amid the clouds, and all eyes will see him. It is a moment to celebrate that Jesus is the Lord of Life and History.
As today’s First Reading reminds us, Jesus is not just Our Lord. He is the Lord. Daniel reminds us that Jesus, after completing his mission on earth, appeared before Our Heavenly Father and “received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. his dominion is an everlasting dominion.” When Jesus stood before the Sanhedrin, and the High Priest asked him if he was the Christ, Jesus responded with the very words we have considered in today’s First Reading (cf. Matthew 26:63-64). In exchange for declaring his kingship, he was beaten, tortured, and nailed to his throne, the Cross. The horrors he voluntarily underwent didn’t change the fact that he was and is the Lord of Life and History. He reigned, even from the Cross.
Today’s Second Reading speaks of that day when Our Lord returns and everyone, good and bad, will see him: the Last Judgment at the end of history. After Jesus’ resurrection, before he ascended to his Heavenly Father, he only appeared to those who had believed in him. In the eyes of the world, he had suffered, died, and disappeared. John reminds today that the day will come when Jesus returns. All will see him, including those who pierced him. Everyone will see him at the end of salvation history, good and bad. If Jesus is the Lord of Life and History, what will happen to those who persist in their rebellion, who do not let him reign in their hearts? It is a call for all of us to pray and sacrifice for those far from God.
In today’s Gospel Jesus tells Pilate that his kingdom is not of this world, and that he had come to the world to testify to the truth. The who belong to the truth hear his voice. Those who belong to the truth let Christ reign in their hearts, even Christ crucified, because he is truly King. This is why we pray, “Thy Kingdom Come!” whenever we recite the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus received his Kingship by suffering and dying on the cross, and for fulfilling his mission, his Father invested him with eternal life and authority over all. We see the glory of his kingship in the Resurrection, and we know that the reign of eternal life and love will come for each of us, if we listen to Jesus’ voice and welcome his truth into our hearts.
It’s enough to look at a Crucifix to know that the Lord will keep his promises. In today’s Second Reading John tells us that Christ has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us into a kingdom. His blood freed us from the true rebellion—sin—and made us members of an everlasting kingdom. Christ’s kingdom has not yet completely come, but he has already won the war. The difficulties we face in life are the last battles of a conquest Our Lord has already made, and now Christ continues, soul by soul, to battle for each soul until the end of time. In turn let’s battle not only for our own salvation, but for all those souls out there who need help to hear the Lord’s voice and to let him reign in their hearts.
Readings: Daniel 7:13–14; Psalm 93:1–2, 5; Revelation 1:5–8; John 18:33b–37. See also Solemnity of Christ the King.