Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe
The Roman soldiers called Jesus the “King of the Jews” in a mocking and derisive way when they crucified Him. Today, we proclaim Christ’s title of King of the Universe with joy and hope. We embrace it because Jesus is king in a way unlike earthly kings, for His kingdom is not of this world. In this Sunday’s Gospel, He offers the repentant thief this unearthly kingdom. “Today, you will be with me in paradise,” Jesus tells the thief. Instead of wealth, position and power, the true king of a kingdom not of this world offers repentance, forgiveness and paradise to those who seek it. The suffering encountered in this world will be reversed and overcome in the next.
We proclaim Jesus as king, but He is no mere figurehead – like most kings and queens today are. Jesus’ kingship is not about His own glory or power. His kingship is not about saving himself, but a life poured out completely, to the last breath, for others. His crucifixion was a tremendous act of violence which became a tremendous act of love. We end the liturgical year by recalling this tremendous act of love. Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, gives himself completely on the wood of the cross. As we enter into a new year of living and growing in faith, may we keep this paradox of kingship always on our mind, for at the very beginning of our Christian lives, we, too, were anointed priest, prophet and king. May we come to embrace the kingship of Jesus, a kingship completely poured out for others, transforming death into life, and violence into love.
This Sunday, we are enrolling our altar servers to the Guild of St Stephen. How appropriate that this should take place on the feast of Christ the King, for the Guild of St Stephen’s motto is “To serve is to reign”. Service is what the reign of Jesus, the King of the Universe, is all about.