November 20, 2022
Luke 23: 35-43
In 1925 the Feast of Christ the King of the Universe was declared by Pope Pius XI as part of the Church’s Liturgical calendar. He did this to re-establish the presence of Christ amidst the aftermath of World War I, an experience that led to the loss of lives both among the fighters and civilians alike. For instance, as many as 8.5 million soldiers and some 13 million civilians died during that war. The war also contributed to the collapse of four imperial dynasties and the spread of the so-called Spanish Flu due to the migration of people suffering starvation. Poor access to drinking water claimed significant numbers of lives as well. Conditions such as these prompted the decline of faith, and somehow the presence God could hardly be felt by believers of that epoch.
Bringing this home to our time, we can also realize that history is repeating itself. The COVID-19 outbreak which is currently under control through vaccines also affects all segments of the population and is particularly detrimental to members of the social groups in the most vulnerable situations as it continues to affect populations. Particularly vulnerable are people living in situations of poverty, older persons, persons with disabilities, youth, and indigenous peoples. Early evidence indicates that that the health and economic impacts of the virus are being borne disproportionately by poor people. Homeless people, unable to safely shelter in place, are highly exposed to the danger of the virus. People without access to running water, refugees, migrants, or displaced persons also stand to suffer disproportionately both from the pandemic and its aftermath – whether due to limited movement, fewer employment opportunities or increased xenophobia have claimed a large number of lives. Countries in Africa especially Nigeria were suffering from the effect of recession and economic meltdown even before the pandemic; the Boko Haram insurgence, Alshabab and other related Isis group across Africa and the world have rendered many dead and others displaced. The world had hardly recovered from the consequences of the pandemic, then the current war between Ukraine and Russia started. This too has resulted to the destruction of both innocent lives and properties and above all affected the global economy.
It is in these occasions of disorder, insecurity, pandemic, war, hunger, starvation, unemployment, and the like that the feast of Christ the King reminds and calls each of us to recognize the Kingship of Christ in our world and what He has come to offer humanity. Other political leaders and powers have failed us, but our Lord Jesus Christ remains faithful and “comes to bring us true love, peace, liberation from sin. Jesus comes with the divine power to give eternal life through his servant leader kingship style, to liberate us from evil, to defeat the dominion of death. It is the power of Love that can draw good from evil, that can melt a hardened heart, bring peace amid the toughest conflict and kindle hope in the heaviest darkness. This Kingdom of Grace is never imposed and always respects our freedom.” (Quas Primas, no 33). It calls us to make informed choices by choosing Christ. By choosing to follow the precepts of Christ the King, we must be ready to accept being scoffed at, mocked and humiliated and suffer for the truth we believe instead of compromising our values.
As Gods followers, Christ must reign in our minds, hearts, homes, communities, work places, wherever we go and whatever we do, we must allow Christ to reign in our wills, in our senses. Christ the King must be all in all for us as His real identity is seen in simplicity, humility of heart and obedience to the Father even unto death. We must be ready to bear the yoke with joy, love and devotion to our King.
Luke 23: 35-43
The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.”
Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
The Gospel of the Lord