The True King
November 21, 2021 (readings)
- The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
- Deacon Erik Burckel, LC
Pilate said to Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My Kingdom does not belong to this world. If my Kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants [would] be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my Kingdom is not here.” So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say 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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, my King, I kneel before you in prayer. I ask you to receive my homage favorably, for you are King of the Universe and I am your devoted servant. Thank you for your Kingdom of love and truth!
“Do You Say This on Your Own?”: Jesus was supposed to be on trial, but he turned the tables on Pilate, posing to him this question: “Do you say this on your own, or have others told you about me?” The question is valid for all Christians. Why do we go to Mass; why do we baptize our children? We perform these Catholic acts in part out of custom, in part out of a spontaneous religious sense, in part because we have faith. Christ the King wants our total allegiance, our friendship, our love, given to him as something of our own. The one thing that we can give God that no one else can give him is our total love and our friendship.
“What Have You Done?”: A bewildered Pilate asked Jesus, “What have you done?... Why are the crowds shouting like madmen... How have you turned all of Jerusalem on its head?” But we can also ask this question of Christ in another context, a context of gratitude and awe: “Lord, what have you done? Why do I experience such joy in your presence? How is it that I can look within myself and I marvel to see that I believe?” I have faith in you. I have hope, and I have love, and there is meaning to what I do. Because the Lord is merciful, although I am a sinner, I do not despair.
“Then You Are a King?”: Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, stood before Pilate answering his questions, hiding none of the truth of his person or his mission. Yet, Pilate seemed not to hear! He caved to political pressure and turned Jesus over to be crucified. It can be easy to assume that if we met Jesus face-to-face as did Pilate, we would recognize his kingship and bow low before him. Yet we meet the same King in the sacraments, and very intimately in the Eucharist, and we sometimes allow distractions to derail our adoration of the King. May we always bow our heads and humble our hearts to receive this King of the Universe into our hands or mouth!
Conversing with Christ: Christ my King, let your Kingdom come! I say this of my own accord because I truly want you to be the Lord of my life. You have done marvelous things in me; now lead me on to final victory, O King of Truth!
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will receive you in the Eucharist as King of my heart.
For Further Reflection: Read the entire account of Jesus’ passion in the Gospel according to St. John. See how he conducts himself as a King and witness to the truth. Or try reading the book Revelations of Divine Love by Juliana of Norwich. Her visions of the passion of Christ led her to reflect very deeply on our good and courteous God.
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