What is the relevance which the solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe should have for each one of us?
It is strikingly significant that, every third liturgical year, Christ the King of the universe is introduced to us while standing in front of Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor with power over life and death in the whole province of Judea and beyond. With much pain, we contemplate Jesus, our King, bound, spat upon and bruised by the blows of Caiaphas’ servants.
Humanly speaking, we see Jesus in a position of total weakness, at the mercy of the leaders of the Jews and of the swift, cruel Roman justice system. Yet, our King is in full control of the situation to the point that he answers Pilate with a question of his own. And when Pilate asks him what he has done wrong, Jesus does not answer but, instead, proceeds to describe the nature of his Kingdom.
My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, the only fitting way for us to celebrate this solemnity is by active, compromise-free, unwavering loyalty to him. Jesus and his Kingdom do not need lukewarm subjects who are easily intimidated and whose love for him is quickly erased by fear or self-interest. Let us face the challenge and never forget that the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom is guaranteed and assured by his very resurrection. But, what is also guaranteed is the fact that such assured victory requires very serious and costly personal sacrifices along with unbending willpower to endure all that the enemies of truth keep throwing at us, relentlessly.
As Jesus points out to Pilate, his Kingdom is founded solidly on truth and all those who belong to Christ’s Kingdom, belong also, inevitably, to the truth and listen to his voice. Right here we find Christ’s battle plan, our strategy as well as our individual and collective assignments.
Pope Benedict XVI (2005-2013) had already identified the battle plan, the strategy and our tasks several years before becoming Pope. It is basically the struggle of truth against relativism.
There is only one Truth (cf. John 14:6). And the Truth is such that it cannot be embraced to accommodate, at the same time, also compromises, half-truths, fads, popularity polls, political correctness and anything else that is not evidenced by natural law and/or by God’s Revelation. By its very nature, Truth is exclusive and compelling.
In recent times, relativism, like a deadly poisonous gas, has been creeping everywhere and tries to seep into every mind, mainly via the corrupt media. Relativism sounds good because it accommodates just about everything, rather comfortably and conveniently, except for what is true and, thus, exclusive of anything untrue. Therefore, it takes moral courage, firm adherence to reality, integrity and humility, for example, to hold on to the fact that our Creator God made us either male or female; and the two sexes are different and complementary. The same holds true for rejecting that a union between two men or two women might be just as good and as natural, as the traditional marriage between a man and a woman. It takes willingness to pay a steep price to hold that no one has the right to take the life of the smallest, most defenseless humans to try to save the life of others or to avoid inconveniences. We must affirm that the end doesn’t justify the means.
Hence, as subjects of Christ’s Kingdom, deliberately choosing to adhere to the Truth, we must be ready to withstand vicious attacks on our wellbeing and livelihood and, even, risk being “cancelled” by those rejecting the world as God created it and governs it. Those who proffer falsehoods exploit emotions instead of discerning what is true based on natural law and, simply, on reality!
It has become amply evident that we need to keep listening to the voice of Christ in order to be loyal to him and work for his Kingdom. Besides from natural law, the voice of Christ comes to us from his Revelation correctly interpreted by those (pope and bishops) whom he has entrusted with the deposit of the Faith.
So, first of all, we must nurture an attitude of humble listening.
Pride is the root of all evils from original sin on. Pride derails or delays openness to the Truth. If we are humble, it is natural for us to check our stance, our choices, our conduct against the teachings of Jesus and the official doctrine of the Catholic Church. Were we to find non-conformity we should muster enough resolve to abandon our position and embrace the one offered by Jesus and his Church.
At this stage of the war, we ought to sort things out with the guidance of the teaching authorities (Magisterium) of the Catholic Church available to us online (USCCB website) or in her official writings.
Yet, pride is only the most serious obstacle on the path to being enlightened and guided into action by the Truth for Christ’s Kingdom. We also need God’s grace to overcome sloth, aloofness, selfishness, prejudice, hatred, resentment, lust and any other evil disposition of our heart which might be keeping us from being wholeheartedly fighting on Jesus’ side without counting the cost to us. This is so because, as the Preface of this Holy Mass states, the Kingdom of Christ is a Kingdom of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love and peace. Hence, the price tag in personal inconveniencing, courage, self-sacrifice, humility and loving service remains indeed quite high.
But, let me remind all of us that everyone of the choices people make in life, be those choices easy or difficult, convenient or costly, have consequences not only for those making them but also for many, many others. As we notice even from a quick observation of the terrible binds and sorry situations in which our nation and the world find themselves, we can realize that every single choice of convenience not done with sincere love leads inexorably to self-destruction and grave losses.
Hopefully, from this day on, we will draw enough motivation from God’s Word and from Holy Communion to make only the right choices that will foster the Kingdom of Christ and show our abiding loyalty to him.