Is Christ the King of our Lives?
The inscription above him reads “This is the King of the Jews.” We see a man nailed to the cross, sandwiched between two thieves similarly nailed to the cross, one seeking his mercy, the other one mocking his kingship. The soldiers jeer at him, questioning his kingship. This distasteful sight on the cross, the crucified Christ, is indeed our king and we are called to be his subjects by choice. Is he truly a king? Are we his subjects? Can such an unattractive person on the cross of shame be one we want to submit our wills to? Jesus is indeed the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). He is the offspring of David whose lineage God promised would one day produce the Messiah who will rule over God's everlasting kingdom (2 Samuel 7: 12-16).
Jesus is truly the king whom we pray in the Lord's prayer for his Kingdom to come. His kingship and kingdom are not to be likened in any way in form or spirit to those of the world. He is a king in the spirit of a shepherd who seeks to lay down his life to serve and save. He saves us by his sacrifice, sufferings and shame on the cross of Calvary. One of the thieves crucified along with Jesus came to this realization and pleaded with Jesus to remember him in his kingdom and he was graciously rewarded with a swift change to his eternal status: “Amen , I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Do we realize that saving grace comes from the suffering king on the cross? Is Crucified Christ the king of our lives?
When Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King in 1925 he intended that we recognize the universal Lordship of Jesus Christ via the way of the Cross and submit ourselves to his dominion. We are to surrender our independence to this shepherd-king because his kingship is devoted to saving us in the way we could not save ourselves. Like the repentant thief crucified with Jesus, let us surrender our will, mind, soul and body to Jesus' dominion; seeking to do his will and serve his kingdom. Let us pray the lyrics of that beautiful song to the King of the Universe: “Shepherd of my soul, I give you full control.”
Is Christ the king of your life? In what ways?
Happy Thanksgiving Day!
In the service of the Crucified King,
Fr. Bernard Oniwe, OP