Christ, reign over us!
Fr Ireneusz Skubis
The feast of Christ the King was introduced by Pope Pius XI in 1925. So this year we are celebrating its 80th anniversary. By celebrating this feast the Church wants to emphasize the omnipotence and range of Jesus' reign, which is a special authority, suffered and humiliated in the service of man. At the moment our thoughts are running to the Gospel scene when Pilate asked Jesus who had been captured: 'Are you the King of the Jews', Jesus answered, 'Yes, I am', but he stressed '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' (John 18:33-36).
We have here as if a new look at the reign, royalty, which depends on consistent love for men, who were to be led to the highest Good, Truth and Beauty. This is not only human external reign, but also a different, much deeper, dimension of the term 'reign'; we deal with a proper understanding of reigning over people, being their king. Therefore, Jesus does not fix his gaze on pure provocative evaluation of the high priests, Pharisees, Roman soldiers and rout, but wants to show something else by assuming this attitude: that real power, authority and reign belong to love and it is love that is the fundamental principle of true kingdom. The Beatitudes, which Christ said on the mount, are continuation of this kingdom. They show that God looks at man's actions in a different way. God understands his kingdom as the kingdom of truth, justice, love and peace. And this is the evangelical way of understanding reality and evaluating everything we deal with every day.
The truth is a very important element of the kingdom as understood by God. Without the truth one cannot look at God. And the kingdom, which Jesus Christ shows us, is actually based on the truth. On truth and love. These are inalienable features leading to eternal life with God.
Therefore, when we look at the present authorities, states and offices of this world, the national and international structures we are astonished that they do not notice these fundamental principles of reigning and that the authority is very often based on power and violence. And the progress connected with civilization: electronics, instantaneity of transfer of information and the latest technological achievements cause that man feels more and more enslaved and limited in his thinking. And now the question comes up: How do our contemporary times relate to the kingdom of Jesus Christ, which is not conditioned by time, philosophical trends, political systems, economy or defence systems since it is the only perfect, right and truly great kingdom? The mystery of its greatness is exactly in the truth and love. God himself is hidden in these values and he does not excuse anyone from respecting them, and this especially concerns believers. It is these values that cause that suffering Christ who walks in the world, throughout human history, is seen as the King, the King of the Universe and also the King of our hearts, desires and references. This kingdom is everlasting. It does not perish since it has the guarantee of God himself, and it even conquers death. Although many times in his life Lord Jesus showed that he is the Lord of the universe and his reign is sovereign - he performed numerous miracles, silenced the elements, healed and even resurrected the dead, cast evil spirits and said: 'All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me' (Matthew 28:18) - the most meaningful expression of his reign is the cross, which leads him to the glory of the Father when he seats at the right hand of God and judges people and nations.
In the Church Year, Fr Wincenty Zaleski, SDB, says 'No earthly ruler has had as many subjects as Jesus has .... No ruler has won as great love of his subjects as Christ did. Millions have shed their blood and given their lives for him. And he himself showed his love, which was deep to such an extent that he died a shameful death on the cross. People awaited for him for thousands of years... He will appear at the end of times to close the last page of history of humanity on earth. He will be our glory for ever and ever'.