On this last Sunday of the liturgical year, we are invited to renew our allegiance to Jesus as our Lord and King. Today, we have also a new opportunity to realize the immense number of graces the Lord has granted us in the course of this liturgical year.
And as we call to mind these favors, we gladly express our most sincere gratitude for them. At the end of this Mass, we will renew the consecration of ourselves, our families, and the entire nation to Jesus, King of the universe.
Let this Eucharistic celebration be a clear manifestation of our love for him who is our Lord and Savior, and a treasured opportunity to recommit ourselves to be his loyal subjects and faithful followers.
Pilate said to Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own, or have others told you about me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him, “Then, you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world: to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
THE FEATURES OF CHRIST'S KINGDOM
Already Herod had made a big blunder. On hearing that there was a newborn king of the Jews he felt threatened, challenged in his greed for power. And he ordered that heinous slaughter of the innocents for which he will always be remembered with horror. (See Mt 2:16.)
In this respect, Pilate was wiser. He did not see in Jesus any threat to the Roman occupation. As far as he was concerned, there was no case against the harmless preacher/philosopher from Nazareth who appeared to be interested in the truth, rather than in political power. (See Jn 18:38.)
Not that Pilate had understood much of Jesus’ clarification that His kingdom was “not of this world.” For him, it was enough to hear that Jesus did not entertain any political ambitions . . . .
But for those who love Jesus and are interested in the Kingdom he has been “advertising” for three years, his answer to the Roman Procurator should be absolutely intriguing. Jesus’ answer is an invitation to reflect on the nature and demands of his Kingdom.
What’s this Kingdom, then, which is so different from any other earthly kingdom, empire, or republic? A kingdom that is not identified by any visible borders, has no taxes, no parliament, no army?
Christ’s Reign is a “Kingdom within.” It encompasses the whole person: body, mind, heart. Nothing that is human escapes it. And all men are invited to be part of it – all races, cultures, traditions, languages can find in it not just a place but their “home.”
This Kingdom will last for ever. The splendor of its achievements and the fulfillment of its program span beyond the dark boundaries of time and earthly decay. Christ’s Reign is everlasting. It shares in the eternity of its Ruler and draws its vitality from the very Source
Founded on the ashes of a rotten mankind, now made new by God’s merciful love, this “unconventional” Kingdom was established at the cost of the life of its Founder. It advances irresistibly toward a final triumph, in spite of occasional defeats and setbacks.
Its program and overriding concern is the total and lasting happiness of all humans. Its flag/symbol is a resplendent cross; its fundamental law is love of God and neighbor. Radical in its demands, this law has a transforming power: it can fashion frail human creatures into children of the Most High, patterned after Jesus, the First-born of the Father’s family.
Such is the X-ray chart of the Kingdom rejected by the Jews and dismissed by Pilate as irrelevant. For us, privileged to be part of it, this is the most precious treasure man can ever dream of – something, to possess which, we should be prepared to lose everything, including physical life itself.