Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe
“Viva Cristo Rey!”
The Feast of Christ the King is a very new one on the church calendar. It was added by Pope Pius XI in 1925. He created this feast as a reaction against the prevailing attitudes of his day – a way to refute the growing threats of communism and Fascism. It asks us: “Who – or WHAT — really rules our lives?”
Today, in Australia, it’s not communism or Fascism, but secularism that is opposed to God’s kingdom. The message in the Gospel is clear: we either live under God’s rule, or we suffer eternal punishment. There is no sitting on the fence. But that is good. God’s rule isn’t one of tyranny, but of heroic virtue and of love. Look at the Cross and see the love with which our King rules us.
In the history Gods people, God conceded to his people’s prayer, and raised up kings to rule over Israel. These kings were expected to be different from their gentile counterparts. Saul was the 1st, but David demonstrated better than any other monarch God’s care and concern for his chosen people. King David was a “shepherd” to his people and did not lord over them. And this way servant leadership; of being a good shepherd is how God leads us.
Anyone who develops their interior life knows the voice of Jesus, the good shepherd. And as the Lord knows us each individually he can and does lead us interiorly through the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, compelling us by the sheer force of love. St Paul describes this being compelled by love beautifully in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians, adding that as Jesus died for all, those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for us (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). This is the desire of a true Christian who is spiritually awake and yearning for Christ.
Those who let Christ rule their heart are driven by love. They will see Jesus in their neighbour. They will serve, and serve in humility. Love does not seek to manipulate through lording over others; its influence is found in the power of love itself. The greatest of which is the outpouring of God’s love on the Cross. That is why the saints are so devoted to our crucified Lord.
Today, it’s not communism or Fascism, but secularism that is opposed to God’s kingdom. The message in the Gospel is clear: we either live under God’s rule, or we suffer eternal punishment. Today we hear two stories about sheep and goats and are asked “Who – or WHAT — really rules our lives?”
The sheep represent those who let Christ’s love rule their hearts. They submit to that love and grow in virtue through their acts of love, seeing Jesus in everyone they meet. Please God that we may have the courage to surrender ourselves to Christ our shepherd, so we hear the words of our King at the end of our lives, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”