- 2 Samuel 23:1-7 and Psalm 132:1-12, (13-18) OR
- Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 and Psalm 93 •
- Revelation 1:4b-8 •
- John 18:33-37
Thoughts on the Word:
The idea of a king (or queen) is something that seems odd to many of us, who live in modern liberal democracies. While my country technically comes under the dominion of a monarch (Queen Elizabeth II) our constitution and legal structure is such that she is really no more than a figurehead who signs off on legislation. This was not always how Kings and Queens were however. The people of first century Israel certainly understood Kingship very differently. They understood it in terms of absolute power - the King had complete control, of every aspect of the kingdom - from the treasury, to the army, to the religion of their subjects. It was not uncommon for Kings to exercise this power with brutal force in order to ensure their continued reign - their continued power over their subjects.
When Jesus came, and it began to dawn on his followers that he was the promised Messiah - the promised King of Israel, they were expecting that he would exercise his power in the same way - preferably by first vanquishing their Roman occupiers and destroying all those who opposed his rule.
However that is not the kind of King that Jesus is. Jesus' Kingship is not one of earthly dominion and power, rather it is a Kinship not of this world - as we see in John 18:36. It is important however that we understand that Jesus saying that his kingdom is not “of this world,” certainly doesn't mean that it is not “in this world.” Jesus calls us to live lives of justice and compassion, understanding and generosity. His kingdom, the reign of God, is centred on living out a life of service and love. Jesus is a very different kind of King!
The apocalyptic readings we see for today in Daniel and Revelation show us imagery of Christ the King reigning in the heavenly realm. These readings have meaning for today's feast, for the end of the liturgical year and for the world in which we find ourselves today. First, they remind us of the nature of the authentic rule of Christ. It is a rule of victory through self-giving. It is a rule where authority springs from truth. Whenever we follow the example set for us by Christ, we participate “in this world” in the reign of God, which is not “of this world.”
As we reflect on this reigning victorious King who is our Lord and saviour - it is worth reflecting on the journey that we have taken over the liturgical year, which ends today. The Church's year takes us on a journey, from anticipation of the coming saviour in Advent (which we begin again next week) through his life, death and resurrection - today we conclude the liturgical year by looking to our triumphant King. Let us in looking to Him, seek to love as He loves, to give as He gives and to serve as He serves.
God bless you this week.
This was adapted from here.