Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
We are celebrating this Sunday the solemnity of Christ’s kingship. We need certain clarification of the terms “king”, “kingdom” and “kingship”. We, as people of modern times, accustomed to dealing with democratic ways in social, economic and political matters, cannot help but think of these terms as negative and evil consequences of all forms of power abuse and excessive cruelty in the past.
It is true that most if not all of monarchies in history are characterized with the following three grave crimes: too much blood-shedding, persistent clinging to power at any cost, and merciless extermination of opposition parties.
In fact, firstly, kings come to power through ways built with blood and bones of millions of lives, including blood and bones of innocent people who had nothing to do with political ambitions. Many of the cruel kings even used their own countrymen’s blood and bones in obtaining their throne. The First Book of Chronicles tells us the reality that King David, often seen as the holy monarch of Israel, was denied the great honor of building the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. Do you know why? Chapter 22, verse 8 of the Book reads: “But this word of the Lord came to me: ‘You have shed much blood, and you have waged great wars. You may not build a house in my honor, because you have shed too much blood upon the earth in my sight.”
Secondly, once reaching their throne, kings never give it up. They, as blinded by bottomless thirst for power will do anything necessary to keep it not only for themselves but also for their children and the children of their children. In so doing, they are ready to sacrifice the common goods of the country and of the people.
Thirdly, no matter how corrupted and sinful they may become, kings do not hesitate to exterminate oppositions in order for them to perpetuate their political control.
Christ our King, in absolute sharp contrast, has showed the true and authentic example of the good monarch.
To obtain his kingship, Christ shed His own blood on the Cross in order to free His people, the sinful humanity, from the slavery to the forces of evil. Christ conquered the hearts of His people not by the power of violence but by the strength of His merciful love.
To maintain His kingship, not for Himself but for God the Father, Christ dedicated His life in serving the just cause of the heavenly King, the most powerful Maker of the universe, the eternal Master of history. At the ends of times, Christ will bring all things before the glorious throne of the Omnipotent King to render Him the great honor which He alone deserves.
To eliminate the forces of evil, Christ laid down His life with loving obedience to God the Father. But He so loved us, sinners, that He was more than willing to die for us.
These are the reasons why we are so proud to be the people of our beloved King, Jesus Christ. We bear the seal of His kingship which we received in the sacrament of Baptism. We are to happily share this great honor with our friends that our King will be the only reward we expect to receive on His second coming in glory.
Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P.