1st Reading: Daniel7:13-14

Glorious vision of the Son of Man

As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient one and was presented before him. To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed.

2nd Reading: Revelation 1:5-8

The first born of the dead will be ruler of the kings of the earth

Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, is the firstborn of the dead and the ruler of  the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. " I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

Gospel: John 18:33-37

Pilate questions Jesus about kingship

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, " Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus answered, " Do you asks this on your own, or did others tell you about me?" Pilate replied, " I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?" Jesus answered, "my kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting  to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here." Pilate asked him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, " You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the World, to testify to the truth. Whoever belongs to the truth listens to my voice."


An anonymous person once said, " Being brave doesn't mean you are looking for trouble." The gospel that we use for today's feast is about Jesus being prosecuted by Pontius Pilate on the accusation filed against Him by the leaders of the Jewish people. And there is no other government  official in history as well as in legend more famous than Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea before whom Jesus is brought for judgment. The Lord is being judged not by God's standards but by the legal standards of human beings.

Is Jesus really a king? If so, what is his kingdom all about? And what is its significance for us? In our stereotyped thinking about a "king" that he is a person robed in royal splendor, surrounded by a host of military officers and advisers, courtiers and servants like what we see in movies.
Christ did not deny that He is a king. But he is not the kind of king Pilate is thinking whose followers and soldiers would fight for him or whose domain is limited to one nation. In other words, he is not the king who would destroy the sinners and lawless; a king of efficiency and results; a king who solve our problems in magical means; a king whose name is to be invoked by powerful earthly leaders to sow tyranny among the weak, nor for the weak to be consumed by anger to act with terror themselves; an inspiration for the rich to become richer at the expense of exploiting the poor nor for the poor to be poorer as persons by being exploiters themselves. In short He is not a God who would cater to the whims of humans. That is why people in the Old Testament as well as the people of today often complain to God, " Why don't you be God as You are supposed to be?"

One writer whose book's title is  Jesus in My Heart  said that Jesus is king of hearts in every Christian. He elaborated it by way of comparing it with a deck of cards which carries several images of kings. The first image is the king of clubs. A club is an extension of a violent hand. A club is an extension of a hostile man. Christ cannot be king of clubs because is not here to sow violence. Jesus is not here to sow hostility. Jesus is here as a king of peace. Jesus is here, gentle and humble of heart, not to sow enmity among us. Jesus is here so that all may be brothers and sisters to one another.

Furthermore, the writer of the book went on saying, Jesus could not be king of spades. A spade is used to throw dirt. Jesus is not here to make our lives dirty. Jesus is here to cleanse us from everything that defiles us. Jesus is not the king of spades because Jesus is not in the grave. Jesus is risen from the dead. Jesus is not king of spades because the business of Jesus is not to make other people dirty, to make people look at the grave dug by spades. The business of Jesus is to give hope and purity to us.

Jesus cannot be king of diamonds for he came to bless our poverty. Jesus came to bless our pains and our aches. Jesus is not here to make our lives easier and more comfortable. Jesus is here to give meaning and purpose to our crosses and pains and trials.  But Jesus can only be king of hearts. This is the kind of king that Jesus is. He is the king of the universe because he is the king of hearts.
It is a call to each one of us dear brothers and sisters that our call to Christians does not entail intention to take revenge, and promoting violence rather our call as partakers in Christ's kingship, is to promote justice and peace as well as other man's welfare. Let us not be Christians of spades, clubs or diamonds; let us be Christians of hearts. So let us make a loyalty check up with our hearts and see if Jesus is there.

A kingdom of Justice, Love and Peace

The kingdom of God is our hope but somehow it is also in our midst, in the process of becoming. The gospel tells how we are to promote the fuller coming of God's kingdom among us. The kingdom of God comes and prevails whenever justice is done for the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, and the oppressed. To behave in this way is to imitated the Shepherd- King himself who is presented in our Gospels as one who rescues from situations of alienation, who feeds, who give rest, heals and makes strong. Among his final words was a promise to the thief being crucified at his side, that he would be enfolded by the eternal love of God, in paradise.

The way to serve Christ our King is to work for the coming of his Kingdom. In working for the relief of the deprived, the oppressed and the outcast we are serving Christ in person, because he fully identifies himself with all those in need, right up to his final moment in this life. The disciple Christ the King cannot afford the luxury of comfortably " keeping myself to myself" or " Well anyway, I do nobody any harm." To be deaf to the cries of the neighbor  in need is to be deaf to Christ. To be blind to the anguish of the dying is to be blind Shepherds in some way ourselves; for the work goes on.

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Chapisha Maoni