Christ the King 2021

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus, blessings, and good tidings, as we are assembled on this occasion to celebrate the Kingship of Our Lord. For Christ is King, first of the Church that He has established and maintained for our salvation, and finally of the Kingdom He is preparing for that time when we are freed from the last vestiges of sin. It should be noted that He is not what we may call a “constitutional monarch.” We are not His Parliament, and He is not subject to us. We cannot constrain Him with our own fashionable ideas on politics, morality, or spirituality; and if we try, we are simply fooling ourselves. For no matter how much modern man rebels from the wisdom of the Bible, and the deepest truth of His Incarnation, He will not be forced like James II to flee His throne in the dead of night, and in the end we shall be unsuccessful in our insistence that He has abdicated. Nor is Christ Jesus a figurehead monarch; a regal backdrop lit by candles and beautified in stained glass upon which we may impose our own private religion. Of course, we may try, but like imagining Him a “constitutional monarch” we shall be fooling ourselves. He is not dead; and even if some of the parishes in His Church may seem on the outside to be small and antiquarian, His Church is not a museum to a dead religion. Therefore, we shall fail if we try to impose upon Him and His Church our own modern conceits and petty convictions. The Christ Jesus of the Gospels, the One who saves us from ourselves, the One who gives us Himself in His Body and Blood in Holy Communion, is best described as an “absolute monarch,” though there is an important caveat. He is our absolute ruler, able to demand everything of us, even our own souls and bodies, because He is first faithful to the will of His Father. Moreover, His Kingship in all matters is expressed foremost in His service, even unto death, to those who hate and reject Him. He demands of us that we be perfect, as His Father in Heaven in perfect, and yet He does so because He is prepared to do all the heavy lifting for that to be possible. He demands of us to let the dead bury the dead, and yet He does so because He is prepared to drop everything to be there for us when we do not even think that we need Him let alone want Him. He is an absolute monarch because He will settle for nothing less than our absolute salvation. He is the King of all Kings, because nothing less than that will redeem us from Adam’s legacy and prepare for us His Father’s Kingdom. He has all authority and power, not that we may be slaves, but that we may be freed, finally, from our dehumanizing servitude to sin and to death. If Christ is not King, then there is no hope for us, no salvation from sin, no protection from the machinations of the devil. Conversely, because Christ is King, absolute in his authority over all of creation, and all powerful in having vanquished the sting and the stench of death, we may have hope. We may have faith that Our King will hold us up as a father does his child, especially when we are most vulnerable. We may know with a clear mind and an unfeigned heart that, if we give ourselves completely to Him, He will make us fit to stand before His Father and to receive the holy gifts of grace proper to an adopted son or daughter of God.

Notice that Our Lord’s Kingship is tied to His fidelity to His Father and to His service for all men who believe on Him. Men believe on Him in virtue of the Holy Spirit opening up their hearts to Him. Taken all together, we see that Our Lord’s Kingship is inextricably tied then to the Trinity of God. Towards the end of the First Century A.D., St. Ignatius describes Our Lord’s Kingship in this way in his Epistle to the Philippians: “There is one God of the universe, the Father of Christ, of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit, who wrought in Moses, and in the Prophets and Apostles.” God is love, absolute, pure, with no hesitation; and love itself is faithful, selfless, sacrificial, even as may be necessary unto death in service to the one who is loved. Therefore, as God is love, it is in His nature to give of Himself so that all others who believe on Him may be partakers of His eternal life and love. His Kingship is not hoarded, but shared. His Kingship is seeded in fertile soil and harvested by faithful workers. His Kingship feeds us, clothes us, outfits us in incorruptible crowns of glory and breastplates of righteousness. His Kingship turns our hearts back to Him so that we may adore Him as a servant his lord and a maiden her mistress. In serving Him, we become like Him, for He serves us before we serve Him, and He adores us before we adore Him. As St. Augustine writes: “Christ is King in exercising kingly authority over our inward natures, in consulting for our eternal interests, and in bringing into His heavenly kingdom those whose faith, hope, and love have been centered in Himself.” This begs the question: Is our faith, hope, and love centered in Christ Jesus? Is Christ Jesus truly our King? More to the point, do we live our lives as if subject to Him? If we insist on following a private religion of our own making, one divorced from the wisdom of the Bible and antithetical to the faith and practice of the Catholic Church, then the answer is no. If we believe that we are good enough on our own, and do not need Christ Jesus to enter into Heaven when this life is done, then the answer is no. If we shy away from defending our faith, when the world denounces or misconstrues it, then the answer is no. If we hold onto a grudge, however once it may have been justified, and refuse to forgive, then the answer is no. If we put ourselves up on a pedestal, and hate somebody because they look, think, speak, or worship differently than we do, then the answer is no. If Christ is our King, then that will be clear enough in everything that we say and do. If Christ is not our King, then that too will be clear enough, even if we go out of our way to try to impress others with just how faithful we are to Him. By its fruit do we know if a tree, indeed, is rooted in good soil or in bad. Christ is King. There is no question about that. In His Resurrection, He has made that abundantly clear. The question is if we shall be His subjects, or if we shall try to fashion for ourselves a kingdom of our own device. Shall we hand ourselves over to Christ Jesus, or shall we reign in the hell we carve out for ourselves from our own petty grievances and dumb obsessions? Because Christ is King, we cannot avoid that question in one form or another, and so let us pray that we may choose Christ the King over our sin and death.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Published by Michael Sean Erickson

I write, act, and produce films in Los Angeles. Everything else is conjecture.

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