Year C – 34th Sunday of the Year (The Feast of Christ the King) Rev

Year C – 34th Sunday of the Year (The Feast of Christ the King)
Rev. Fr. Godfred Boachie-Yiadom
2 Samuel 5:1-3
Colossians 1:12-20
Luke 23:35-43
The Solemnity of Christ the King is not just a conclusion of the church year. It takes us to the
beginning: ushering in the King who is, who reigns in our hearts, and who is yet to come, a new
Today's Feast has an interesting history. Even though the Bible clearly presents Jesus as King, it
wasn't until 1925 that the Church established a feast day with that title. Pope Pius XI
inaugurated this celebration as a response to the totalitarian regimes that emerged in the early
twentieth century. It was a time when the world had just come out of one of the worst wars in
all of human history, World War I. Literally millions of soldiers had slaughtered each other on
the battlefields of Europe. There was no peace after that war. This is because the winners of
the war had imposed a cruel kind of punishment on the German nation, making it almost
impossible for that nation to survive. Out of anger, resentment and the hatred that was left as a
result of that war, the whole ideology of Nazism grew in Germany, which led to another war, a
war worse than the first. The “war that was to end all wars” therefore, became the seed of a
second war that was even worse. It was because people had refused, as Pius XI said, to let the
rule of Jesus and his way to guide their private lives and their national life. The Church
maintains that absolute control and authority belong to God and not the state.
Today's First Reading from the Second Book of Samuel [2 Sam. 5:1-3] speaks of the elders
anointing David as the king of Israel. This was the second time that David had been anointed as
king. In 2 Samuel 2:4, we read that David was anointed as king over the house of Judah.
He was chosen by God to replace Saul and was secretly anointed by Samuel in Bethlehem.
David fled from Saul and settled in Hebron where he ruled as king of Judah for seven years. On
the death of Saul, the northern tribes came to him in Hebron and anointed him king over all
Israel. Before accepting their offer David made a covenant, an agreement before the Lord, with
the tribes, where the latter had to promise fidelity and allegiance to him. The story of David’s
anointing as king is recalled today, the feast of the kingship of Christ, because David was seen
as a type of the future messianic king (see 2 Sam. 7:16; Isa. 9:6-7; Jer. 23:5 and Luke 1:32-33).
We can recognize some similarities between the kingship of David and that of Jesus. Both Jesus
and David were anointed as kings (2 Sam. 2:4, 5:3; Mt. 21:1-11; Mk. 11:1-11; Lk. 19:28-40; Jn.
12:12-9) and both of them ruled over a twofold kingdom. King David ruled over Judah and
Israel. Christ the King rules over a twofold kingdom, His Kingdom in Heaven to which belongs
all the saints who have departed from this world and the Kingdom on earth to which belongs all
those who have been baptized. The Almighty Father who chose David to shepherd His people
Israel (2 Sam. 5:2) is the same God who chose Christ the King as the Shepherd Who gave His life
for the sheep (Jn. 10:11).
Although David was seen as the greatest of the kings of Israel, he was but a poor shadow of
Christ the King, whose reign extends over the entire universe and all things created in heaven
as well as the earth. David’s reign lasted for only forty years but Christ’s reign is eternal. David
was a mere man, sinful but repentant, but Christ was the God man, sinless and all-perfect, who
died on the cross to free humanity from their sins. Finally, when David died, his kingdom was
divided and decayed but Christ’s death was the beginning of his everlasting reign. His cross was
the solid foundation of his kingdom on earth as a preparatory stage of his eternal kingdom of
We normally associate kings with palaces, royal crowns and robes, golden jewelries, servants,
standing armies, and various wealth and power but Christ our king is pictured hanging on the
cross with only the crown of thorns. His small group of followers is nowhere to be found except
for his mother, one faithful apostle, and a couple of women. He had no ring on his fingers
except nails in his hands and feet, and was stripped without any robe on him. There was no
one cheering him, praising him, or singing his appellations except the mockery of his enemies.
After three years working to establish the kingdom of love in the world, he was condemned as a
criminal, tortured and executed. But he proved to be the king of both the living and the dead
when he rose from the dead and ascended to his Father in heaven. This is the story of the king
to whom we pay homage and pledge our allegiance today. Jesus is a king who does not parade
around in worldly glory or demonstrate worldly power. Nevertheless, he is greater than any
king who ever lived, for he is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation … [in
whom and for whom all] dominions, principalities, or authorities were created.”
Christ is the anointed one by God the Father to be the Messiah, and therefore King but his
kingdom is not of this world. This is to say that the ways and standards of his kingdom are not
the ways and standards of the world around us. One of the first people to appreciate this
mystery is the repentant thief on the cross about whom we read in today’s gospel. Choking
with the pains of crucifixion and imminent death, he turns and says to Jesus: “Jesus, remember
me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). Unlike the other convict who asks to be
delivered from the cross, this holy criminal knows that success in God’s kingdom is measured by
a different set of standards. He knows that to get into the kingdom of Christ one has to be
saved not from the cross but on the cross.
Furthermore, the crucifixion of Christ had the inscription “… King of the Jews” written above his
head and so by saying "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom," the sinner
meant: Jesus, remember me when you come to the fullness of your glory for I want to be with
you. To the thief, Jesus replied, "Truly I tell you today you will be with me in Paradise." Jesus
did not tell the thief that he would be "before" him as a servant. He said, you will be "with" me.
In other words, the presence of the thief alongside Jesus would not be one of a slave or servant
but of one who would be sharing in his royalty. The thief was called to be one of the many who
would be with the Firstborn, Christ the King, in the fullness of his kingdom.
We Christians are serving a king who suffered and died on the cross for us. The ruler and the
head of our kingdom is Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, who accepted crucifixion as the climax
of the perfect obedience to his Father. He is the one who humbled himself in order to raise us
to the status of the children of God, the king who suffered the cruelest of deaths so that we
might have an unending life of happiness when we leave this earth. Jesus came to serve and to
save, no matter the cost but do we really appreciate the supernatural privilege conferred on us
by the Incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ?
On the feast of Christ the King we should think of the place Christ has gone to prepare for us
(Jn. 14:2) make the choice whether we would allow Christ to rule over our hearts as our king or
allow something else. We should decide to live in a way befitting our identity so that we can
take our place in his kingdom. He expects us to open our hearts to him, accept him as the king
of our hearts and be like him so that at the end of our lives, we may join him in his kingdom. He
is the only one who has the key to death and an unending life. We cannot take our salvation
lightly. The cross was not a joy ride for Jesus. Salvation is, therefore, a serious business and
Jesus suffered in order to win it for us. But he can only save us if we do not forget that he is
always our king in our concrete everyday lives.
Today, we have to make a choice; we could be like the soldiers who mocked Jesus (Lk. 23:36),
be like the criminal on the cross who kept deriding Jesus (Lk. 23:39), or be like the repentant
thief who said, "We indeed have been condemned justly for our deeds, but this man has done
nothing wrong" (Lk. 23:41). The choice is ours! We are invited to live by the Gospel Christ
preached; by His values of peace, Justice and love that Christ shared; and by rules that govern
His Kingdom –the Commandments.
The readings exhort us to let Christ reign in our lives, so we may be truly united with him, and
thus be effective witness in Christ’s kingdom. As we conclude the Liturgical Year, let us pray
that you and I continue to be faithful servants of our King; that we may continue to bear good
fruit for the growth of his Kingdom. Let us acknowledge our own sinfulness and hopelessness
and turn to God in all humility asking him to save us and to heal us, for he is the King of Kings,
the Lord of Lords, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Everlasting Power,
the Way and the Truth, the Resurrection and the provider of life everlasting. He is the Savior
and all praise and glory belongs to him now and forever, Amen.