November 22, 2015
Solemnity of Christ the King
Jn 18: 33b-37
Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”
Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
A King of Redeeming Love
Each of the four Gospels mentions that, when Jesus was crucified, an inscription placed above his head on the cross read: “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.” When was the last time I thought of Jesus as King? From the days of its founding, the United States has always rejected any effort to impose a king’s rule over it. Jesus, too, rejected kingship in any worldly or political sense and all our suppositions about kingliness are turned upside-down in the Gospels.
Ever since Adam and Eve people have longed for a ruler who would usher the whole human family into a kingdom of justice and peace. What Christians have recognized in Jesus over the centuries is this: here is a King of redeeming love, the humble servant of all. Remember the old Quaker hymn: “When Love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?”
—Fr. Paul Harman, S.J. is a Jesuit of the USA Northeast Province. He has worked in Jesuit formation and over many years has been a valued administrator at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA.
My life goes on in endless song above earth’s lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear it’s music ringing:
It sounds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?
While though the tempest loudly roars, I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness ’round me close, songs in the night it giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm, while to that rock I’m clinging.
When love is lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?
—Robert W. Lowery
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