Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe [B]
Dan 7:13-14 + Rev 1:5-8 + Jn 18:33-37
November 25, 2018
To Him… who has made us into a kingdom, priests for His God and Father, to Him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.
If “Michael” is the question, then “Jesus” is the answer. The name “Michael” literally means, “Who is like God?” In sacred art, Saint Michael the Archangel is usually shown in conquest over the devil, who believes that the answer to the question is “Me”. The devil believes that he is like God.
Humility—the virtue that St. Michael personifies—is the first step on the path towards God. A spiritual author once wrote that if all the virtues of the Christian life were like the alphabet, then the letter “A” would be humility, and the letter “Z” would be caritas: divine love. But how do we get from “A” to “Z”?
Too often, unfortunately, we’re tempted to think of ourselves as “saved”, as if we’ve already reached our spiritual goal simply because we were adopted by God the Father on the day of our baptism. But you and I are fully capable of rejecting that inheritance, just like the Prodigal Son. Countless choices that we make testify that we prefer pigs to prayer, servitude to salvation, and husks of corn to the Bread of finest wheat.
Humility focuses our attention as we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. Humility focuses our attention on Christ the King. In Him we see the fullness of humility, and the fullness of divine love. “Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega”, the First and the Last, “the one who is and who was and who is to come”.
“Who is like God?” Only God Himself, as we see in the Person of Jesus Christ. Our Scriptures today show us that Jesus Christ embodies all the virtues, from humility to divine love. Our Gospel passage most especially leads us to look on Jesus as our King, who shows humility and divine love in submitting Himself to sinful man.
Pilate and Jesus stand face-to-face. Pilate bears the power of the Roman Empire, and exercises it with the snap of his fingers. Pilate plainly explains to Jesus that he has the power to crucify Him. Jesus responds to all of Pilate’s questions, demands and threats with what may seem to be disinterested resignation.
But it’s not that Jesus disagrees that Pilate can carry out capital punishment against Him. It’s not that Jesus doesn’t know what sort of control the Romans have over the Holy Land. It’s simply that Jesus did not come into this world to exercise worldly power. Those with earthly power have no authority over the things of Heaven. Pilate, and those like him, do not have the upper hand over the Hand of God in human history.
In Christ, who reigns from the Cross, we have the King who wants us to share in His victory, by our entering into His life and imitating Him through His grace. God only offers you His grace: He does not force it upon you. God’s grace will flow around you, if you divert it from your life. But on the other hand, God’s grace is always there, ready to flood your life, to destroy only sin and the power of death. No matter how many times we divert God’s grace, God has another plan for allowing His grace to reach its goal: to allow each of us, living in that grace, to rest in God’s divine love for all eternity.