November 21, 2021  

BToday marks the final Sunday of the Church’s year. And, as usual, we celebrate today the Solemnity of Christ the Universal King. What is the significance or meaning of Jesus' kingship for us? In the 21st century the idea of Kingship seems antiquated, especially in democratic societies where everyone is supposed to be treated equal and free.  

God at first did not want to give his people Israel a king. Why? Because God alone was their King and they needed no other. Nonetheless, God relented and promised his people that through David's line he would establish a Ruler and a Kingdom that would last for eternity (Psalm 89:29). The Jews understood that the Messiah ("Anointed One") would come as God's anointed King to restore paradise and establish God's reign of everlasting peace for them. They wanted a Messianic King who would free them from strife and division and from foreign oppression. Many had high hopes that Jesus would be the Messiah and Ruler for Israel. Little did they understand what kind of kingship Jesus claimed to possess.

We see in the first reading from the Book of Daniel the prediction of Jesus, "I saw one like a son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven." 
Christians, of course, see in the "son of man" Jesus their Lord who often referred to himself as the "Son of Man". He was presented before the "Ancient One", God the Father, from whom he received "dominion, glory – and kingship". And this kingdom, unlike all those, which have gone before, "is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed". As Jesus himself was to say, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." This kingdom is indestructible and everlasting. 

The kingdom of God finds its greatness in humility, because the kingdom of God is born first within our hearts. Christ must reign in our hearts first before we can ever dream of being with him in paradise. Christ’s kingship begins now here on this earth, in the midst of all the issues of daily living, it is only the beginning, and its completeness comes later. As the Church teaches: “Though already present in his Church, Christ’s reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled ‘with power and great glory’ by the King’s return to earth. This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ’s Passover. Until everything is subject to him, ‘until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God.’ [CCC 671] 

In every mass we pray for the coming of the kingdom of God. A kingdom planted initially in our hearts at baptism and that is meant to flourish in our lives preparing for its completeness at Christ’s advent. 

The kingship of Christ is one of service, redemption and love its glory cannot be gain without first going through the cross. Like the good criminal who recognized his sins and in so doing recognized the kingship of Christ, we must follow his example and desire the kingdom that is to come in its fullness. He did not request relief from his cross, nor did Christ seek his own relief. As Jesus told the Pharisees in Luke’s gospel when they questioned him about the advent of the Kingdom of God, Our Lord replied that “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, look, here it is, or there it is. For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” Christ then predicted that he first must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.  For true power comes through redemptive suffering. In his suffering Christ showed that his reign is to bring life, life that will last forever. 

The kingdom we should look for and what the church prays for is beautifully described in today’s preface: 

An eternal and universal Kingdom:

  • a kingdom of truth and life,
  • a kingdom of holiness and grace,
  • a kingdom of justice, love and peace.

May God’s kingdom come on earth and may we be found waiting and watching ready for his advent.  


For comments and suggestions: Sacred Heart Catholic Church Web Team
Updated: November 28, 2021

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