Thursday, 18 November 2021 14:27

A royal shepherd

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CTKWeb400Are you the King of the Jews?’ Pilate asked. Jesus replied, ‘Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others spoken to you about me?’ Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done?’ Jesus replied, ‘Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. But my kingdom is not of this kind.’ ‘So you are a king then?’ said Pilate. ‘It is you who say it,’ answered Jesus. ‘Yes, I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.’ (John 18:33-37)


On this last Sunday of the Church’s year we always celebrate the Feast of Christ, the Universal King.

The first reading from the prophet, Daniel, speaks of the coming of one who will rule in the name of God in an eternal kingdom. The second reading from the Book of the Apocalypse speaks of Christ as the ‘faithful witness’ to God and ‘ruler of the kings of the earth’. Here is a king who loves his people and sheds his own blood to save them.

The Gospel comes from the Passion of Jesus in St John’s Gospel. It is Jesus’ dialogue with Pilate about his kingship and the nature of his kingdom.

Jesus is anything but a traditional king. This King reigns, not from a golden throne, but a cross of rough wood; naked, with no rich, flowing robes; no bejewelled crown, just thorns; no orb and sceptre, just nails in his hands.

He comes among his people, not as a tyrant wielding weapons of suffering and death, but as a powerless baby.

Jesus says that his kingdom is ‘not of this world’. It is not a kingdom with geographical and national boundaries. It is not a kingdom in the earthly sense where power and oppression reign, but a kingdom where justice, love, mercy, truth and peace reign.

At the end of the day, the disciple is called to be the Kingdom (the living presence) of God in the world and to transform the suffering of its people into joy by deeds of loving kindness.

Virtuous disciples are the living presence of Jesus in the world. They realise that until Jesus comes again, the kingdom has been entrusted into their hands. In the Kingdom of Jesus, the disciple is not master but ‘servant’.

The power of the spirit of Jesus fuels deeds of loving kindness – reversing horrible human conditions, and bringing healing and salvation.
Whenever we act like Christ the Kingdom of God (the reign of God’s grace) breaks into our world.

Whenever we are moved by the Spirit to proclaim the truth, to respond to need, to work for justice, to transform and heal our society, the Kingdom of God breaks into human reality and the grace of God becomes clearly visible in our words and actions.

Read our Celebrating At Home liturgy for today:

pdf Celebrating At Home Feast of Christ the King [PDF] (1.76 MB)                                
default Celebrating At Home Feast of Christ the King [ePub] (5.53 MB)



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