Feast of Christ the King

Jn 18: 33-37 

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’

Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’

Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that 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.’

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Christ is King right now

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Notice the title. Christ isn’t a future king—he is king right now. Indeed, God’s kingdom is “at hand” because Christ is already reigning over us. When Christ ascended to the right hand of the father, the apostles understood that Christ had taken his place as the Messianic king promised by the prophets.

What does it mean that Jesus reigns? What does it mean that we are meant to spread the good news of this reign of God? In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis gives us a great answer to these questions: “The Gospel is about the kingdom of God (cf. Lk 4:43); it is about loving God who reigns in our world. To the extent that he reigns within us, the life of society will be a setting for universal fraternity, justice, peace and dignity” (#180).

—Fr. Chris Kellerman, SJ, is a Jesuit priest and member of the Central and Southern Province. He serves as interim executive director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University New Orleans and as assistant pastor at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Baton Rouge, LA. In the Fall of 2022, Orbis Press will publish Chris’s new book on the history of the Catholic Church, slavery, and abolitionism. 

 Prayer

Jesus, reign within me, and use me as your instrument to help transform society into a place where respect for human dignity flourishes, justice is the norm, peace surrounds us, and all see one another as siblings in Christ. Amen.

—Fr. Chris Kellerman, SJ