Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
King of the Universe
November 24, 2019
Fr. José Maria Alvim Cortes, F.S.C.B.
Chaplain, Saint John Paul II National Shrine, Washington, D.C.
Sunday Reading Meditations
Today we are celebrating the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King. It is a special day for our parish, which is dedicated to Him!
Today’s Gospel shows us Jesus on the cross. It is not easy to understand that Jesus is a king when he is dying nailed to a cross. The rulers, soldiers and one of the criminals were jeering Jesus about his royalty. For them, Jesus was not a king because he was powerless. He was a man defeated. In the human view, a king is someone with power who defeats his enemies. A king is not a victim but someone who victimizes others. A king is someone who has power and uses it.
Certainly, royalty is connected with force. However, there is another dimension connected with nobility: service. A king who serves his people is truly a king. Service is more important than power. True power is service.
The man who seeks power is seeking his own glory. The man who serves finds his glory in the glorification of his fellows.
Jesus gave his life for the love of his people. He was on the cross to serve humankind. He is the extreme example of true royalty, who gave his life for the good of his brothers.
Whoever looked at Jesus with the logic of power did not see him as a king, did not perceive Jesus’ royalty. The rulers, soldiers and one of the criminals crucified together with him did not see who Jesus really was. They were looking but they were not seeing.
Nevertheless, there was a man who saw what no one else did. Dimas, a criminal being crucified for his crimes, understood! Dimas was not a good man. He was a criminal. However, he had a simple heart. That was what saved him. He saw infinite imperial dignity in a man nailed to a cross. In a powerless man, he saw the infinite power of God’s love of humankind. In the crucified Jesus, Dimas found God’s love, which brought him to Paradise: “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23:43).
There are two different kinds of logic in life: power and service. We need to convert constantly from the former to the latter.
If we live without Jesus, insensible to Him, the logic of power will dominate. This means that we shall start using others to further our own interests, perceiving the other as an instrument, a means and not an end. Without Jesus, without his presence, we succumb to the logic of power. Instead of an opportunity to serve, we seek self affirmation.
On the contrary, if we live our lives seeking the presence of Jesus in what we are doing, this is the logic of service, the logic of love, which will dominate. Moreover, our lives will be more human and happy. We shall start enjoying the promised Paradise immediately: “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
It would be very useful these days if each of us thinks about the following: “In my life (my family, my work, my career, my plans, in what I am doing in the parish etc.), which logic dominates, power or service?”
Mary was crowned as Queen of Heaven and Earth because she totally followed her son and lived according to the logic of service. We ask her intercession to obtain the grace to recognize Jesus as our King. Amen.