The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Today's Mass Readings


“To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.”

We have all seen the notice attached to the top of crucifixes, “INR,” the Latin initials of the words, “Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum,” “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Pilate ordered them to put on the crucifix by which Jesus was executed as a criminal.

Let us reflect on the kingship of Jesus Christ. Saints Paul VI and John Paul II went about not with a bishop’s crosier, but with a staff with a crucifix at its top! They were proclaiming that Christ rules from the cross!

Over what and whom is He king? Stalin, a former seminarian sneered, “And how many divisions does the Vatican have?” Christ is not interested in ruling territories. He does not desire to rule by military or political power. He desires to rule by His love; he wants to rule our hearts. This is His Kingship.

Menachem Begin, the feisty prime minister of Israel many years ago, an Israeli official, and a freedom guerilla fighter, was tortured by the Russian KGB. But they gave up on him. He commented, that his faith was greater than theirs! We might add, his love was greater than theirs!

You and I have people in our families—parents or grandparents, an uncle, aunt or cousin, of whom the same basic story can be told: their faith and their love were strong. Perhaps they took care of a sick child or spouse for many years; perhaps they underwent some injustice or were ostracized by the rest of the family. It might have been any difficult, long-term cross to bear. What came through was their depth of heart, their strength of heart.

All of us have that potential within! We may not suspect it because we do not feel it very often, but it is there! Whether it comes to be in our lives will depend upon the alliance we make. Christ espouses us to himself. Will we be in alliance with Him who loves us? Or, will we continually allow our thoughts to carry us into quick-fix alliances?

Christ wants to rule in our hearts. It is not a rule of domination or enslavement. It is a gentle rule leading to rejoice in our true selves – the self that is generous, good, and beautiful.

One little, practical help to come into Christ’s heart within us is to practice the prayer of gratitude daily. A morning or evening should not go by without our saying to Christ, “Thank you for loving me!” “Thank you for forgiving me!” Gradually this prayer, made in the Holy Spirit, will expand our hearts and we will notice our lives being ruled by Christ’s love. Julian of Norwich heard it as follows:

With a kindly countenance, our good Lord looked into his side, and he gazed with joy, and with his sweet regard he drew his creature’s understanding into his side by the same wound; and there he revealed a fair and delectable place…. And for my greater understanding, these blessed words were said: ‘See how I love you,’ as if he had said, behold and see that I loved you so much, before I died for you, that I wanted to die for you. … my delight is in your holiness and in your endless joy and bliss in me.’

Reflection by Fr. Xavier Nacke, OSB

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