Even the world’s longest reigning Monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 7-decade reign ended with his death on October 13, 2016. A whole year of mourning has been declared even as speculations are rife if a future Monarchic government would survive the test of time. In stark contrast, year after year, we celebrate the Feast of Christ our King, a king whose reign never ends, for our King lives forever.
Thailand’s monarchy is protected by a draconian lese majeste law (a crime committed against a sovereign power) that outlaws criticism against the King, with punishments of up to fifteen years in jail for each insult uttered against the king. Again in contrast, we have a King in Jesus who invites us to ‘loving partnership’ to establish a kingdom of Justice and Peace. He is our king who reigns with love, great love.
The Gospels present Jesus as a King who cares immensely for his subjects, especially for the three basic human wants: Food, Shelter and Clothing. Jesus’ Kingship is a kingship of partnership where every subject has a role to play in establishing a kingdom of Justice and Peace. That is why Jesus explained a parable saying “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me”(Mathew 25:34-36).
Think about this. At the root of all conflicts in the family, in the neighborhood, between states and between countries is a deep-seated sense of insecurity. We would not plunder, pillage or try to pull down one another if we thought we have enough for our today and tomorrow.
Conflicts between husband and wife, parents and children, between office colleagues or crossborder terrorism and even conflicts within the Church stem from either some form of fear of losing one’s identity or fear of the future.
The message of the Feast of Christ the King is loud and clear; place your whole life into the hands of Christ the King and you will have no reason to feel lost or insecure.
Christ our king is above politics, above petty indifferences and bickering, above all clamoring for identity. Being the King of the Universe, there is no one greater in whom we can confide in and lay our anxieties and insecurities to rest. Humans and human systems will fail us, but HE won’t.
Psalm 146 echoes this reassurance so beautifully: “Put no trust in princes, in children of Adam powerless to save. Who breathing his last, returns to the earth; that day all his planning comes to nothing. Blessed the one whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord, his God, The maker of heaven and earth, the seas and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, who gives bread to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free. The Lord gives sight to the blind. The Lord raises those who are bowed down. The Lord loves the righteous. The Lord protects the resident alien, comes to the aid of the orphan and the widow, but thwarts the way of the wicked. The Lord shall reign forever, your God, Zion, through all generations”.
Paradoxically, year after year we are celebrating the Kingship of Christ even when Monarchic forms of governance have almost disappeared across the world. Invariably all Kings in the History of Humanity have played three specific roles; to Judge, Reward, Punish and Govern.
Even modern day Governance appears to centre round these three aspects. The best rulers and the best governments in the world are those that can provide food, shelter and clothing for every citizen.
Unfortunately, none of the countries in the world can claim to have provided for these basic needs for all its citizens. Even in the so-called developed nations of the world, beggars dot the streets, children are homeless and millions die of malnutrition, hunger and disease. Across the world cries for Justice and Peace are getting louder by the hour.
In a world where governments of every kind have failed and even military regimes overturned, the feast of Christ the King proclaims how Jesus Christ King of the Universe is above all peoples, all nations, and all governments. The feast has, and will continue to have relevance for generations to come. We become faithful subjects of Jesus Christ our King not by mere celebrations but by becoming ‘partners’ in establishing a Kingdom He wills.
How much have you contributed towards the Kingdom of Christ the King?
Fr. Adolf Washington