Sunday, 20 November 2022 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday which is the last Sunday in our current liturgical year, we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, also known as the Solemnity of the Kingship of Jesus Christ. On this Sunday we commemorate our Lord Jesus not just as our Saviour but also as our King. This does not mean that we owe no obedience or loyalty to any earthly powers, nations or rulers. Instead, we must realise that the ultimate source of all power and authority in this world is the Lord, our one and true King and Master, and all the nations, all the rulers of this world are truly under our Lord’s dominion. That is why we are still supposed to obey the laws of the land and our respective countries, as good Christians are supposed to be, as far as they do not directly contradict the Law and commandments of God.

Our Lord is King, not just in spiritual manner but also in real and tangible manner. He is truly the King of all Kings, the Lord of lords and Master of all, and yet, unfortunately, many among us still behave as if the Lord is nobody, and that He has no place in our hearts and in our lives. We act as if the Lord is One Who is far and distant, and we remember Him only when we have need of Him. How many of us remember the Lord only when we have something that we hope He can solve for us, or when we want Him to answer our prayers. And it is not uncommon that we become angry at God when He does not seem to answer our prayers, and even if He does answer our prayers, we are often then quick to forget about Him once again and return to our daily preoccupations, with the Lord sidelined again until the next we have need of Him. Is that how we treat our King, brothers and sisters? Let us hence ponder through our Scripture passages this Sunday to understand our King better.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Samuel, we heard of the story of the time when King David of Israel was accepted as King by the whole nation of the Israelites, having reunited the whole tribes of Israel under his rule and dominion. David was God’s chosen King over His people, and he had to struggle for a number of years against the supporters of his predecessor King Saul, and his son Ishbosheth or Eshbaal, in a civil war that eventually ended up with David being victorious and triumphant, and was finally welcomed to be King over all of Israel. That moment marked the beginning of the glorious time of the United Kingdom of Israel, of the great kingdom of David and his son, Solomon, which many later generations would look up to as a time of great glory and nostalgia, as the days when God’s rule over His people through His righteous servants David and Solomon were at its best.

Those were the days when the people of God still obeyed God faithfully and when their kings still followed the Lord wholeheartedly. When the prophet Samuel agreed to choose and anoint a king over the Israelites because of their demands, he did tell them that they had no need for a king, because the Lord Himself was already their Lord and King, and yet the people insisted. The prophet warned the people that the kings eventually would make their lives difficult, and like the other rulers and kings of the world, they might end up being tyrannical and wicked, and might lead the people of God down the path to ruin if they did not remain faithful to God or did not exercise faithfully what the Lord had entrusted them to do as the rulers, shepherds and guides for His people, and instead following their own selfish desires for glory and power in this world.

Indeed, that happened even with David himself, the model and most righteous among the Kings of Israel at times when he sinned against God as he desired power and glory at times, and when he forgot his place as the Lord’s vicar and guide in this world. When he desired a woman, Bathsheba who was already married to another man, Uriah, David sinned against God by plotting Uriah’s death and taking up Bathsheba to be his own wife. The same happened when he desired to conduct a census of the Israelites, which was done in a moment of pride in desiring to know the vastness of his power and worldly dominion. Then Solomon, David’s son, while mostly faithful and just throughout his reign, was led into sin as well at the end of his reign when he allowed his many pagan wives and concubines to mislead him and the kingdom into the path of sin and rebellion against God, which eventually led to the division of the united kingdom into two halves of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

Nonetheless, their authority and power did come from God, and God was indeed the true King of the Israelites, that when the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were eventually crushed and destroyed by their enemies, the Lord still ruled and reigned over all of His people. He told them all that just as He has promised David that his house and kingdom will last forever, then He would send a Messiah or Saviour to His people, to be born of the House of David, to be the Son and Heir of David. That was the Messiah long awaited by the people of God and the One proclaimed by the many prophets and messengers of God. The people believed that this Messiah would then lead them to victory and freedom from their oppressors and foreign rulers, and would reestablish the kingdom of His ancestors, David and Solomon, of the glorious past days of the united kingdom.

Little did they know that, the Lord Himself would actually come into their midst to be wit them, to dwell among them in the flesh, and to be born as the Son and Heir of David, born of the Virgin, Mary, His mother just as the prophets had prophesied about. This King was born into the world, the Son of God and Son of Man, born as the Divine Word Incarnate, having two natures of Divine and Man, united in perfect love in the person of Jesus Christ, Whose Kingship we are commemorating today, acknowledging Him truly as the King of Kings, the Lord and Master of all, just as He has revealed Himself to be the Saviour of the whole world, and the one true King Who has come to claim all of His people and to gather them all to be His own one flock, with Him as the Shepherd, the Shepherd Who loves all of His flock and cares for them.

That was where then, as we heard in our Gospel passage today, that this same Saviour and King chose to willingly suffer and die for the sake of His beloved flock and people, as He willingly took upon Himself the most heavy burdens of our sins and the punishments and consequences due for those sins and wickedness we have committed. He took upon Himself the heavy burden of the Cross so that by His suffering and then death, He might offer on our behalf, as our Eternal High Priest and King, the most worthy sacrifice that will be the source of our salvation and redemption. He offers on our behalf, this perfect offering of love, that gathering us all as our King, He may lead us all towards righteousness and eternal life through Him, and His most loving sacrifice on the Cross.

For that, as we heard in our Gospel passage today and as we all know, the Lord Jesus our King suffered most terribly at the hands of those who persecuted and hated Him. He was mocked and ridiculed by the Romans as the King of the Jews, and it was for this reason that the chief priests and the Sanhedrin persecuted and condemned him through the Romans to death, for back then, it was a capital offence for someone under the Roman dominion and rule to claim kingship and to be a king. Yet, at the same time, ironically, it was by this action that even those same chief priests and all those who persecuted the Lord said that the Lord Jesus was indeed a King. And at that occasion, the Lord also said to Pontius Pilate, that He is indeed a King, and His kingdom is not of this world.

It means that the Lord’s kingship and rule is not bound like any other kingdoms and rulers of this world. His kingship is a Universal Kingship, one that is outside any limits of time, space and place. He rules over all the whole Creation, of all Universe, of all time and beyond time. And this is our King, our Lord and true Master, Whom we celebrate today, and we ought to be blessed and thankful for the Lord has loved us so dearly and wonderfully. He is the One Whom St. Paul in his Epistle to the Colossians in our second reading today spoke of as the Image of the Unseen God. Through Him, we have seen the manifestation of God, Who has become tangible and approachable by us, and we have therefore seen, witnessed and experienced the presence of our King, our Lord and Master.

He has also gathered us all to be one people and one flock, with Him as our King and the Head of this Church which He has established over in this world, to be a visible presence of the kingdom He has brought unto us, the kingdom of God manifested in this world as the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. And as members of this same Church of God, each and every one of us are indeed invited to examine ourselves and our actions, our dealing and our way of life, whether we have truly appreciated and obeyed the Lord as our King, or whether we have ignored Him, abandoned Him and rejected Him for other things in life which we find more important and desirable than to listen and be obedient to our King’s commands, His Law and will. This Sunday as we celebrate this Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, this is what each one of us as Christians are called and expected to do.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore commit ourselves today to our King anew, renewing our pledge to serve Him, to follow and obey Him wholeheartedly from now on and honour and worship Him as our Lord and King, and enthrone Him in our hearts, in our homes and in our workplaces, in everywhere we are, as our true King and Master, even as we obediently continue to be good and law abiding citizens of this world, and of whichever states we belong to. Let us all be true followers and servants of our King, He Who truly cares for and loves us His people, and Who has given Himself so completely to us, that we may have life through Him, and that we may be reconciled and reunited with Him, in the glory of Heaven and His everlasting kingdom.

May the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the whole Universe, Our Lord and Master, be with us always, and may He remain with us by our side, strengthening and encouraging us that we may always persevere and be strong in faith no matter whatever challenges and trials may come our way. May the Lord bless us all in all of our good efforts, hard work and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

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