On Sunday, Nov. 25, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. To call Jesus Christ our king says a lot about us. Through the Paschal mystery, Christ has become our king. Through His kingship, we have become “‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of His own, so that you may announce the praises’ of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
As members of a chosen race and a royal priesthood, we are called to be followers of Jesus Christ, the Father’s faithful witness. He gave witness before the world and before Pontius Pilate that He is indeed king of the people for whom He shed His blood on Calvary and who, in turn, have given their lives to Him in living out His teachings.
In the first reading, Daniel writes: “As the visions during the night continued, I saw one like the Son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; when he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, the one like the Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.”
His final coming at the end of time should be a source of relief and joy for His faithful followers, for He has come to gather them into His kingdom of glory. His followers have in common with Jesus a life of faithful witness to His teachings who died on the cross so that we might enjoy for all eternity being “a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.”
In the second reading, “Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.” On the Cross, Jesus witnessed the Father’s compassionate love and mercy for mankind. From the cross, He invites His followers to imitate His witness by the lives we lead.
That means that we are called to suffer hardships willingly in overcoming sins in our own lives, and in embracing the sufferings that come from the sins of others toward us. It means that every time we choose to suffer instead of sin, we take on the godliness of Jesus before the Father.
Jesus left us behind so that we could be His witness to our contemporaries. While on earth, Jesus witnessed the Father’s love for His people by proclaiming the good news, healing the sick and casting out demons. It’s our privilege to partake in His three-fold ministry.
In addition to witnessing to His teachings by the lives we lead, we are also asked to heal the sick. You may say: “I can’t lay hands on the sick and heal them.” True, only Jesus heals. However, Jesus wants to use us to heal in many ways. There are physical, spiritual and psychological healings.
We’re called to have compassion on others just as Christ had compassion on His crowds. We bring healing and consolation to others when we listen with compassion to their plight, when we reach out to help them in prayer or offering words of encouragement, or even giving them food to eat.
What so many people are really crying out for is understanding and companionship. Is there anyone for whom we can’t pray, even on the spot? It means so much to poor people when we take the time to pray for them. It reassures them that Jesus loves them, and that He has not abandoned them in their poverty. Pray with people with different physical abilities. God always hears the cry of the poor, even if we don’t know how our prayer is answered.
Finally, Jesus cast out demons. We’re called to renounce the evil one in our lives. That comes with our baptism. We are also called to help others renounce the evil one in their lives, by praying to renounce the evil one in their lives and for the intercession of Mary and St. Michael the Archangel. That is a prayer we all can offer. We also can encourage them to pray for the gift of repentance and to return to the sacrament of reconciliation, if they have been away.
When we witness to Jesus in the above ways, we are imitating what Jesus did in the Gospel. Before Pilate, the flesh and the devil, Jesus witnessed the Father’s incredible compassion and love of sinners. When we witness with Jesus, we also reign with Him.
This is what the feast of Christ the King is all about. Earlier, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus told us: “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.”
When we witness Jesus Christ to the world about us, we are already reigning with Jesus. The joy we radiate, and the peace we exude, are living signs to others that Christ is working in us and through us for them. In the Gospel, Jesus is in charge and Pilate is on trial. Jesus is witnessing God’s love to Pilate and to the whole world. Pilate is amazed and confused at the same time.
When we, by our lives, give faithful and peaceful witness to Jesus’ teachings, we also amaze and confuse others. If they refuse our witness, they simply put themselves on trial by their opposition to truth. When our lives give witness to Jesus, we don’t have to be afraid of Jesus’ final coming.