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.

Sunday, 20 November 2022 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 23 : 35-43

At that time, the people stood by, watching. As for the rulers, they jeered at Jesus, saying to one another, “Let the Man Who saved others now save Himself, for He is the Messiah, the Chosen One of God!”

The soldiers also mocked Him and, when they drew near to offer Him bitter wine, they said, “So You are the King of the Jews? Free Yourself!” Above Jesus there was an inscription in Greek, Latin and Hebrew, which read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals hanging with Jesus insulted Him, “So You are the Messiah? Save Yourself, and us as well!” But the other rebuked him, saying, Have you no fear of God, you who received the same sentence as He did? For us it is just : this is payment for what we have done. But this Man has done nothing wrong.”

And he said, “Jesus, remember me, when You come into Your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “Truly, you will be with Me today in paradise.”

Sunday, 20 November 2022 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Colossians 1 : 12-20

Constantly give thanks to the Father Who has empowered us to receive our share in the inheritance of the saints in His kingdom of light. He rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. In Him we are redeemed and forgiven.

He is the Image of the unseen God, and for all creation He is the Firstborn, for in Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible : thrones, rulers, authorities, powers… All was made through Him and for Him. He is before all and all things hold together in Him.

And He is the Head of the Body, that is the Church, for He is the first, the first raised from the dead that He may be the first in everything, for God was pleased to let fullness dwell in Him. Through Him God willed to reconcile all things to Himself, and through Him, through His Blood shed on the cross, God establishes peace, on earth as in heaven.

Sunday, 20 November 2022 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 121 : 1-2, 4-5

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” And now we have set foot within your gates, o Jerusalem!

There the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, the assembly of Israel, to give thanks to the Lord’s Name. There stands the courts of justice, the offices of the house of David.

Sunday, 20 November 2022 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

2 Samuel 5 : 1-3

All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your bone and flesh. In the past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led Israel. And YHVH said to you, ‘You shall be the shepherd of My people Israel and you shall be commander over Israel.'”

Before YHVH, King David made an agreement with the elders of Israel who came to him at Hebron, and they anointed him king of Israel.

Sunday, 21 November 2021 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday is the last Sunday of the current liturgical year, as next Sunday will mark the beginning of the new liturgical year with the First Sunday of Advent and the beginning of the Advent season leading towards Christmas. This Sunday every year we mark the occasion of the great Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, also known as the Solemnity of Christ the King. This great celebration marks the end of every liturgical years reminding us of Our one true Lord and King, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and of all Creation.

As we listened to the words of the Scriptures we are called to reflect on the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for He is Our True King, the One Who lords over us all and the font and source of all authority in this world. He is the One to Whom we ultimately give our obedience and commitment to, even as we all obey the laws and the customs of the land, of our own respective states and countries. We reflect on the Lord our Saviour and King, Who willingly came down to dwell in our midst and to walk among us, taking up upon Himself our humble human forms, that He may share with us our humanity.

And by His sharing of our humanity, He became the One to lead us out of the darkness and into in the light. Through Him we have received the assurances of salvation and eternal life, as by His most loving sacrifice on the Cross, He gave us the perfect gift of His love and the gift of everlasting life through His sacrifice for our sake. In Him, Our Lord and King, enthroned upon His Cross, lifted up high between Heaven and earth, all of us have shared in His death, dying to our past wickedness, disobedience and sins, and sharing with Him the glorious Resurrection and new life through His own Resurrection on Easter.

Let us now spend some time to discern the readings of the Scripture we have just heard earlier on, beginning with our first reading taken from the Book of the prophet Daniel. In that passage we heard of the heavenly vision of the prophet Daniel, who received the vision of Heaven, seeing a Son of Man together with One of Great Age, which was in fact the manifestation of the Lord and His Holy Trinity, as the Son of Man was none other than Jesus, also the Son of God, while the One of Great Age referred to God the Father, the Creator of all.

In that vision, we were told that the One of Great Age, the Father, granted dominion, power and authority, of kingship over all creation and the whole universe to the Son of Man, which is symbolic of what we are celebrating on this day. In that action, the Lord revealed to Daniel and also to all of us that He is the One true Lord, Master and King of all, the One and only One Who has authority and power over all things, over all beings and over all creation. All kings, lords and rulers, all beings in Heaven, on earth and even in hell are all subjects of the Lord Jesus Christ, One God, One True King of all.

And as we heard in that passage from the prophet Daniel, he mentioned that the Kingship of Christ our Lord is clear and true, a true dominion that is for all time and for all things, unchanging and eternal. It is not merely just a symbolic kingship or rule that Our Lord’s Kingship us about, but a true Kingship, the King over all of us regardless of our national allegiance and regardless of our obedience to any worldly entities and states. The Lord’s kingship transcends the boundary of states and nations, and His kingship transcends any definition of race, or political affiliation and any other categories or groupings that we often divide ourselves into.

And in our Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord Jesus speaking to Pontius Pilate, the Governor of Judea during the time of His Passion and suffering, when He was about to be condemned to death by the same Pontius Pilate. I am sure all of us are familiar with what happened at that time, as the Lord had been falsely charged and accused by the chief priests, the elders and the Pharisees of the attempt to rebel against the Emperor in Rome, while also charging Him of blasphemy against God.

In the claim that the enemies of the Lord made, they claimed that Jesus used the title of the ‘King of the Jews’ in referring to Himself and therefore, together with His large and popular following, He was a great threat to the Romans. To the Romans, who were overlords and masters of the land at the time, there was no greater crime than to rebel against the state and the Emperor, by claiming kingship or leading a rebellion for freedom against the Empire. Such a crime was punishable by death, and not just that, but those guilty were often punished by crucifixion, reserved for the worst of offenders.

Thus Pilate asked the Lord for clarification, whether He was truly the King of the Jews, and the Lord then asked him back where he had heard it from, which Pilate replied in amusement because it was those chief priests who had said so. When Pilate said that he had the power to release Him or to crucify Him, he was actually referring to the fact that if the Lord could prove that He was actually slandered by the chief priests and that they falsely accused Him, Pilate could very well have freed Him. But the Lord spoke the truth then when He did say that, yes, He is indeed a King, although His kingdom is not of this world.

The Lord Jesus did speak the truth, that His Kingdom is not of this world and is unlike anything that this world has ever seen. His kingdom was not built on earthly glory or material wealth, power or any other things that became the foundation of other kingdoms and dominions of the world. Instead, His Kingdom is built on His own authority, true authority and power that surpasses anything else. He did not depend on those things that sustained kings and lords, like money, wealth, power, fame amongst other things. He has no need for such things.

And unlike other kings and rulers who always tried to vindicate and prove themselves, and many of them seeking glory and greatness, with some even seeking to be regarded as divine and to be worshipped, where man wanted and aspired to become like God, to be gods and deities, in their hopeless and meaningless pursuits for these purposes, the Lord Jesus Christ was unique. How is that so? That is because He Who is the personification of all glory and power, full of power and full of glory, fully Divine and Almighty, has willingly laid down His glory and majesty, emptying Himself and taking up the condition of a criminal and a slave, exactly at the moment when He was crucified.

Yet, it was by humbling Himself so completely and perfectly, that Our Lord and King won His greatest victory, in delivering all of us, His beloved people from the clutches of sin and death. The Lord has triumphed and delivered us from the certainty of death and destruction, and fulfilled everything that He has promised to us and to our ancestors from the very beginning of time. The Lord our King has laid down His own life, like a Good Shepherd laying down his life for his sheep, all because He truly loves us and cares for each one of us. All of us are precious to Him and He knows all of us by our names.

And as we heard in the Book of Revelations in our second reading today, the Lord Jesus, our King will come again triumphant at the end of time, He Who has conquered evil, sin and death. He shall come again at the end of all things, to gather all of us, His beloved people and He will bring us into the kingdom prepared for all of us, the kingdom of everlasting life, filled with true joy, peace and love. The Lord, Our King and Saviour will bring us all together and deliver us the final triumph and victory.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all spend some time to reflect on what we have just heard and discussed. Are we thankful that we have Jesus as Our Lord and King, not as a distant person or being, but as One Whom we can always depend on, One Who knows our sufferings and have gone through the same sufferings as we have endured, One Who loves us most deeply from His heart and had endured with that love despite of our infidelities and stubbornness in rejecting His love and betraying Him.

But if Christ is truly our King, then why is it that so many of us are still living our lives and acted in ways that are contrary to the teachings and the ways of the Lord? Why is it that so many of us disregarded Him, betrayed Him and preferred to walk in the path of sin rather than to follow Him wholeheartedly and obeying Him as we should as our Lord and King. These are important questions that we should ask ourselves as we ponder on our own lives and actions thus far in life.

Let us all as we rejoice in this great Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, remember that Christ is our one and only true Lord, Master and King. And let this not be mere empty commitment and dedication, but one of true love for our King, of true and living dedication in each and every moments of our lives. Let us renew our commitment to Him, obey Him from now on in His Law, commandments and will. Let us follow Him wholeheartedly from now on and have no more doubts in our hearts.

May the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour and King continue to reign in our hearts, and let us always remember His love for us, as He gave His life and suffered for our sake. May He empower us all and strengthen us with the faith that we may glorify Him and proclaim Him courageously in our respective lives, to the best of our ability. May Christ, Our Lord and King reign forever and evermore, in our hearts and in the whole world. Amen.

Sunday, 21 November 2021 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 18 : 33b-37

Pilate summoned Jesus and asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “Does this word come from you, or did you hear it from others?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed You over to me. What have You done?”

Jesus answered, “My kingship does not come from this world. If I were a King, like those of this world, My guards would have fought to save Me from being handed over to the Jews. But My Kingship is not of this world.” Pilate asked Him, “So You are a King?” And Jesus answered, “Just as you say, I am a King. For this I was born and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is on the side of truth hears My voice.”

Sunday, 21 November 2021 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Revelations 1 : 5-8

And from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him Who loves us and has washed away our sins with His own Blood, making us a kingdom and priests for God His Father, to Him be the glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

See He comes with the clouds and everyone will see Him, even those who pierced Him; on His account all the nations of the earth will beat his breast. Yes. It will be so. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, He Who is, Who was and Who is to come : the Master of the universe.

Sunday, 21 November 2021 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 92 : 1ab, 1c-2, 5

YHVH reigns, robed in majesty; YHVH is girded with strength.

The world now, is firm; it cannot be moved. Your throne stands from long ago, o YHVH; from all eternity You are.

Your decrees can be trusted; holiness dwells in Your House, day after day, without end, o YHVH.

Sunday, 21 November 2021 : Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Daniel 7 : 13-14

I continued watching the nocturnal vision : One like a Son of Man came on the clouds of heaven. He faced the One of Great Age and was brought into His presence. Dominion, honour and kingship were given Him, and all the peoples and nations of every language served Him. His dominion is eternal and shall never pass away; His kingdom will never be destroyed.