Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Universal King
The Bible in Dialogue with Questions of the Day: Kingship of Christ, Source of Confidence, Call for Unity
A psalm on the kingship of God begins: “The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice” (Ps 97). Belief in the kingship of God and of Christ is a source of confidence. God reveals himself as king principally for this purpose. He controls human destiny. No human dictatorship can or will destroy his plan. Belief in this kingship is very often stressed in times of crisis. This is clear in the case of the vision of the Son of Man in the book of Daniel. It was a cause of confidence for those suffering bitterly for their faith in the God of Israel. The feast was first instituted by Pius XI in 1925 in response to growing nationalism and secularism. It gave confidence in times of totalitarianism. To the visionary John, Jesus Christ presents himself as the faithful witness, the First-born from the dead, the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To him every knee is destined finally to bow. He is with his church in every age, witnessing to the Father’s truth, and where necessary calling for repentance. In the judgment scene of John’s Gospel Pilate may be taken as typical of an unbelieving political power of any age. Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world. Its true nature is understood through the gift of faith. Christ the King is the faithful witness. All members of his kingdom, that is the church, are called to be witnesses to his truth in the world. In Christ’s own words to the visionary John they are a line of kings and priests to serve his God and Father. In Jesus’ own words to Pilate, he came into the world to bear witness to the truth, and those who are truly of his kingdom and on the side of truth listen to his voice. Today’s feast has a simple message for us all: Let us have unbounded confidence in God, in Christ our King, who is ever with his church to strengthen her in true faith. But let us also listen to the voice of Christ the true witness and to that of the Church, founded to bear witness to Christ’s kingdom in our own day.