The Royal Kingship of Christ


Father Roberto Cano F.S.S.P.

 

Tu dicis; Thou sayest it; I am a King (Jn. 18, 37)

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

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As it is the duty of any mother to defend and protect her children from harm’s way, so too our Holy Mother the Church seeks to defend and protect her children from the dangers of heresy and error.  There is no denying that in our day there rages a great movement in the world that desires to reject God and His law, and seeks rather to put the individual and the dictates of his natural reason at the center of society.  This is the heresy of laicism or secularism which ultimately seeks to deny the rights of God and to relegate religion as an entirely private matter and as something entirely separate and contrary to the State.  And so it is that the Church in her wisdom has established this solemn feast of Christ the King in order to combat this error.   As an annual reminder to her children and to the world that indeed Christ is King and that we, men, owe Him our allegiance and our love!  For He is King of all the created world, that which is seen and unseen and “of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Lk. 1, 33).  Or to put it in the words of today’s epistle: “All things were created by Him and in Him; and He is before all, and by Him all things consist” (Col. 1, 16-17).  On such a glorious feast, it is only fitting to say some words about Our Blessed Lord’s kingship and His kingdom. 

It should be noted, first of all, that this teaching of Christ’s kingship is not a novelty.  In fact, Sacred Scripture is filled with references of His kingship in both the Old and New Testament.  We cannot fail to notice that the ancient Jews had no king but God Himself until the time of Saul.  Recall the episode in the first Book of Kings where Samuel the last of the judges of Israel was approached by the people and told to make them a king to rule and judge them so that they could be like the other nations.  God then told Samuel, “Hearken to the voice of the people in all that they say to thee.  For they have not rejected thee, but me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Kgs. 8, 7).  From this point on, a period in Israel’s history begins where they are subject to a human king and no longer to the sweet yoke of God’s rule.  Thus, the Jews began to desperately await the coming of the Messiah, the Son of David Who is to reign forever.  However, as we well know, they were and are still seeking a Messiah that is solely a temporal ruler who will liberate them from their enemies.  The text of today’s Gospel bears witness to this fact.  The Jews arrest Christ and bring Him to Pilate to be tried because for them He is but an impostor and not their king.  They themselves will say, “We have no king, but Caesar” (Jn. 19, 15).  Yet, what does Our Lord say in the face of death?  He does not deny His Kingship, “Thou sayest it; I am a King” (Jn. 18, 37).  Thus, it is in Christ i.e. through the marvelous work of the Incarnation that God re-establishes Himself as the King of all men.  Listen again to St. Paul in today’s epistle, “…because in Him, it hath well pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell; and through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, making peace through the blood of the Cross, both as to the things on earth, and the things that are in heaven, in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Col. 1, 19-20). 

The Kingship of Christ is entirely unique unlike to that of any other.  Christ is not only King, but also Priest and Prophet.  In fact, it is only He as Eternal and High Priest Who can offer a sacrifice worthy of God because He is the Victim of that same sacrifice.  That is why the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the most perfect form of worship of God and if we wish to truly honor and adore Him then we should seek to assist at Holy Mass whenever possible.  But our responsibility does not end there!  Being Roman Catholic cannot be simply reduced to our Sunday obligation, but rather living our lives in conformity with our Faith.  Which is to say within our homes and families, but also in the world.  Christ our King has given us precepts by which to live our lives and that which is most important is that precept of charity, which is the love of God and the love of neighbor on account of our love of God (propter Deum).  Let us not forget that when we are judged by this Merciful King it will be as St. John of the Cross said, “in the evening of this life we will be judged by our love.”  Charity, however, in order to be authentic must always be in accord with truth.  To love a spouse or a child or any other creature more than God is not charity.  Nor is it charity to confirm someone in their sin or to remain indifferent in the face of evil.  Truth, dear brethren, is a person and that Person is Christ our King and anything that offends Him or denies Him cannot be of the truth.  Its that simple!

Now it remains to say a few words about Christ’s kingdom.  What is its origin and where can we find it?  To the first question, Our Lord gives a direct answer to Pilate saying, “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn. 18, 36).  Which is to say that Christ’s kingdom is essentially supernatural and therefore not a natural or humanly created institution.  His Kingdom, however, has two aspects one external and the other internal.  The external aspect of His Kingdom is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church which He Himself founded.  The Church as we know is in the world, but not of the world as was Christ.  It is through her that the work of the Redemption is continued and that men are brought to eternal salvation.  As baptized Catholics we can only be grateful for sharing in His kingdom on earth.  Nevertheless, we must keep in mind that Christ’s kingdom has an internal aspect as well.  For He has said, “Lo, the kingdom of God is within you” (Lk. 17, 21).  Thus, the man in the state of sanctifying grace has the Kingdom of God within Him because the three Divine Persons abide in his soul.  Our Lord’s dominion does not only affect the Catholic Church and those in the state of grace rather it embraces all men.  To use the words of Leo XIII and Pius XI, both of blessed memory, “‘His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ.’ Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ.  In Him is the salvation of the individual, in Him is the salvation of society” (Quas Primas, 19).  It is the obligation, therefore, of society and every individual man to adore, worship, thank and make reparation to Christ as King.  This obligation escapes no one as these are the rights of God.

Brethren, we live in times where there is much talk about rights and even in this country there are a bill of rights considered as essential for every citizen.  There are civil rights, women’s rights, animal rights, human rights and so on and so forth.  Yet, what has happened to the rights of Almighty God?  Does not God Who created us have rights as well?  And if so, who is to defend these rights?  This solemn duty ultimately pertains to the Church as the one Source of Salvation to defend the rights of the One, True God Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  Furthermore, as members of the Mystical Body this obligation pertains to us as well.  All too often, however, we as Roman Catholics are prone to throw our pearls before swine, that is, to make light or be indifferent of the deposit of Faith which we have received.  How else does one explain the on going slaughter of innocent life, the blasphemies, the sacrileges, the moral depravity and other atrocities that permeate our culture?  All of which, I can assure you, would hardly exist if Christ truly reigned as King in the hearts of Roman Catholics.  We must be firmly convinced that if we are not serving Christ our King, then we are serving the Prince of this world, the devil.  Our Lord is clear for He said, “He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth” (Mt. 12, 30).  Think of the Machabees and their zeal for the law of God and His worship: “Then Mathathias answered, and said with a loud voice: Although all nations obey king Antiochus, so as to depart every man from the service of the law of his fathers, and consent to his commandments: I and my sons, and my brethren will obey the law of our fathers.  God be merciful unto us: it is not profitable for us to forsake the law, and the justices of God: we will not hearken to the words of king Antiochus, neither will we sacrifice and transgress the commandments of our law, to go another way” (Mac. 2, 19-22) Where are the Machabees of today?  Truly, “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away” (Mt. 11, 12) as Our Lord said.  A distinction, however, must be made Our Lord is not asking us to take up arms and to declare a jihad (a holy war) against the infidel, but rather to engage in the spiritual combat against our real enemy: sin and self-love.  That is where the battle truly lies!  What is clear then, brethren, is that if we wish to reign in the Kingdom of Christ there is no room for the faint of heart.  Victory is found in the Cross of Christ alone and if we wish to reign with Him we must be willing to die to ourselves for Him. 

Finally, let us recall that all good kings have good queens that share in their work to some degree and the same is true with Christ.  For we have a most glorious queen in the Blessed Virgin Mary.  If we truly wish for Christ to reign in our lives, in our families, in our parishes (particularly this parish of St. Francis de Sales) and in our world there is no better way than going to Our Lady.  For she will seek the graces we need from her Son as our Advocate so that the work of spiritual perfection will be accomplished in us.  Then Christ will truly reign in us and through us.  Let us pray for one another for the courage and perseverance to follow our King until our last breathe that we may say for all eternity, Viva Cristo Rey—Long live Christ the King!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.