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Viva el Cristo Rey!

Entrance Antiphon: Ps 85(84):9 — “The Lord speaks of peace to His people and His holy ones and to those who turn to Him.”

First Reading: 2 Sam 5:1-3 — “They anointed David king of Israel.”

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5 — “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.”

Second Reading: Col 1:12-20 — “He transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”

Alleluia: Mk 11:9, 10 — “Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Alleluia, alleluia.”

Gospel: Lk 23:35-43 — “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

Communion Antiphon: Ps 117(116);1, 2 — “O praise the Lord, all you nations, for His merciful love towards us is great.”

A friend of mine, who works in one of the Parishes I had been assigned to as a seminarian, had a sign on her desk that read, “I am not the CEO of the Universe.” She kept it before her all the time as a reminder that she was not in charge.

I think, from time to time, we all need to be reminded of this important fact. The world does not revolve around you or me, despite what we may sometimes want it to be. We are not its master. In fact, we are actually very small and very powerless. Every time my friend thought she alone could fix everything. She remembered that the CEO (also known as “Christ the King”) is far more qualified than she could ever be.

This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King and we receive Him in three ways. Christ is King of the Universe where we have a small place. Christ the King desires an intimate relationship with each of us. Christ the King on the cross offers us comfort and hope. We are obliged to come to Him with hearts full of gratitude. Jesus’ darkest hour became the hour of His great triumph. As Catholics, we celebrate the triumph of the cross, not the tragedy. As we honor Jesus’ kingship on this last Sunday before Advent begins, we are contemplating His only throne – that same cross.

Our Lord’s earthly bloodline is traced back to royalty with the House of David. In the First Reading, David is called a shepherd and a commander, and he is anointed king to succeed Saul. David was 30 when he came to the throne, 1,110 years before his distant relative, Jesus, was born in the same hometown ... Bethlehem.

Jesus was also 30 when He began His ministry, but He was born a king. When the tribal leaders proclaim David to be “bone of their bone,” they signify that he is not apart from them or above them ... he is one of them. They are accepting his authority over them by making him their king. Jesus is God of all creation, but He lowered himself into our human likeness, like us in all things but sin, that He might become one with us and make us one with God.

History records the traditions associated with a new king ascending to his throne. The night before, he held a banquet ... which for Jesus was the Last Supper. On the day of a king’s coronation, a prisoner would be pardoned ... Jesus pardoned all of us from the Cross. The new king would give alms to the poor ... Jesus gives us everything ... He gives His very life for us. The king would be dressed in royal robes and pageantry ... however, Jesus was stripped of His clothes and mocked. The only crown Jesus Christ the King of the Universe ever wore was made of thorns.

In Saint Luke’s account of the Passion, Jesus is mocked by the rulers of this world, the soldiers who nailed Him to the cross, and even one of the lowly prisoners crucified with Him. Jesus did not return insult for insult. Instead, He forgave His tormentors ... and He forgave all of us.

Saint Paul’s Letter to the Colossians begins with a great hymn of praise of Christ’s kingship – the firstborn of all things and through whom all things hold together. For Paul, Jesus is the source of all authority – of thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, for they “were created through Him and for Him.” As lofty as this description of Jesus may be, Saint Paul emphasizes that Jesus is a king who serves, winning for us redemption, forgiveness, and eventually, resurrection. Jesus is a servant king who leads by example.

By our baptism, we are citizens of the kingdom of God, making us likewise subjects to our king. May we be humble, holy, and loyal as Jesus was. May He who reigns over the universe also reign in us and reign through each one of us.

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