Solemnity of Christ the King, Year B
Note: Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I had been compiled for you after the Mass Readings below. Happy Reading!
Liturgical Colour: White.
First Reading: Daniel 7:13-14
I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven, one like a son of man
I gazed into the visions of the night.
And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven, one like a son of man.
He came to the one of great age and was led into his presence.
On him was conferred sovereignty, glory and kingship,
and men of all peoples, nations and languages became his servants.
His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty which shall never pass away,
nor will his empire ever be destroyed.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 92(93):1-2,5
The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed.
The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed; the Lord has robed himself with might,
he has girded himself with power.
The world you made firm, not to be moved; your throne has stood firm from of old.
From all eternity, O Lord, you are.
Truly your decrees are to be trusted.
Holiness is fitting to your house, O Lord, until the end of time.
Second Reading: Apocalypse 1:5-8
Jesus Christ has made us a line of kings and priests
Grace and peace to you from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the First-Born from the dead, the Ruler of the kings of the earth. He loves us and has washed away our sins with his blood, and made us a line of kings, priests to serve his God and Father; to him, then, be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen. It is he who is coming on the clouds; everyone will see him, even those who pierced him, and all the races of the earth will mourn over him. This is the truth. Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’ says the Lord God, who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.
Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessings on the coming kingdom of our father David!
Gospel: John 18:33-37
Yes, I am a king
‘Are 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.’
Acknowledgment: We thank the Publisher for allowing us to publish the Mass Readings to be used as reference for Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us around the World.
Homilies, Angelus / Regina Caeli
Bear witness to the truth" (John 18:37). The reading from the Book of Revelation says that Jesus Christ is "the faithful witness" (1:5). He is the faithful witness because he reveals the mystery of God and announces his kingdom, which is now present. He is the first Servant of this kingdom. By becoming "obedient unto death, even death on the cross" (Philippians 2:8), he will witness to the Father's power over creation and over the world. And the place for exercising his kingship is the Cross he embraces on Golgotha. His was a shameful death, but it represents a confirmation of the Gospel proclamation of the kingdom of God. In the eyes of his enemies, that death should have been proof that all he had said and done was false: "He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him" (Matthew 27:42). He did not come down from the cross but, like the Good Shepherd, he gave his life for his sheep (cf. John 10:11). The confirmation of his royal power, however, came a little later when on the third day he rose from the dead, revealing himself as "the first-born of the dead" (Revelation 1:5).
He, the obedient Servant, is King because he has "the keys of death and Hades" (Revelation 1:18). And, because he is the conqueror of death, hell and Satan, he is "the ruler of kings on earth" (Revelation 1:5). In fact, everything on earth is subject to death. Instead, he who has power over death opens the prospect of immortal life to all humanity. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the fulfilment of all creation (cf. Revelation 1:8), so that every generation can repeat: Blessed is his kingdom that is coming (cf. Mark 11:10).
Pope Saint John Paul II (Homily, 23 November 1997)
Today, the last Sunday of the liturgical year, we are celebrating the Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. In recent months we have contemplated him in all his mysteries, from his Birth to his Ascension into Heaven, centring on Easter with his Death and Resurrection. Together with the Apostle Paul, we recognize that God's plan is "to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth" (Ephesians 1: 10).
The mission of believers, called to cooperate in building God's Kingdom with their different ministries and charisms, acquires its full importance on contemplating the One whom the Eastern Liturgy calls the "Pantocrator".
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 23 November 2003)
On this last Sunday of the liturgical year we are celebrating the Solemnity of Christ the King. Today's Gospel proposes to us anew part of the dramatic questioning to which Pontius Pilate subjected Jesus when he was handed over to him, accused of usurping the title, "King of the Jews".
Jesus answered the Roman governor's questions by declaring that he was a king, but not of this world (cf. John 18: 36). He did not come to rule over peoples and territories but to set people free from the slavery of sin and to reconcile them with God. And he added: "For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice" (John 18: 37).
But what is the "truth" that Christ came into the world to witness to? The whole of his life reveals that God is love: so this is the truth to which he witnessed to the full with the sacrifice of his own life on Calvary.
The Cross is the "throne" where he manifested his sublime kingship as God Love: by offering himself in expiation for the sin of the world, he defeated the "ruler of this world" (John 12: 31) and established the Kingdom of God once and for all. It is a Kingdom that will be fully revealed at the end of time, after the destruction of every enemy and last of all, death (cf. I Corinthians 15: 25-26). The Son will then deliver the Kingdom to the Father and God will finally be "everything to everyone" (I Corinthians 15: 28).
The way to reach this goal is long and admits of no short cuts: indeed, every person must freely accept the truth of God's love. He is Love and Truth, and neither Love nor Truth are ever imposed: they come knocking at the doors of the heart and the mind and where they can enter they bring peace and joy. This is how God reigns; this is his project of salvation, a "mystery" in the biblical sense of the word: a plan that is gradually revealed in history.
The Virgin Mary was associated in a very special way with Christ's kingship. God asked her, a humble young woman of Nazareth, to become Mother of the Messiah and Mary responded to this request with her whole self, joining her unconditional "yes" to that of her Son, Jesus, and making herself obedient with him even in his sacrifice. This is why God exalted her above every other creature and Christ crowned her Queen of Heaven and earth.
Let us entrust the Church and all humanity to her intercession, so that God's love can reign in all hearts and his design of justice and peace be fulfilled.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 26 November 2006)
On this last Sunday of the liturgical year, we are celebrating the Solemnity of Christ the King, a Feast established relatively recently but which has deep biblical and theological roots. The title "King", designating Jesus, is very important in the Gospels and makes possible a complete interpretation of the figure of Jesus and of his mission of salvation. In this regard a progression can be noted: it starts with the expression "King of Israel" and extends to that of universal King, Lord of the cosmos and of history, thus exceeding by far the expectations of the Jewish people. It is yet again the mystery of Jesus Christ's death and Resurrection that lies at the heart of this process of the revelation of his kingship. When Jesus is hung on the Cross, the priests, scribes and elders mock him saying: "He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him" (Matthew 27: 42). In fact, it is precisely as the Son of God that Jesus freely gives himself up to his Passion. The Cross is the paradoxical sign of his kingship, which consists in the loving will of God the Father in response to the disobedience of sin. It is in the very offering of himself in the sacrifice of expiation that Jesus becomes King of the universe, as he himself was to declare when he appeared to the Apostles after the Resurrection: "All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me" (Matthew 28: 18).
But in what does this "power" of Jesus Christ the King consist? It is not the power of the kings or the great people of this world; it is the divine power to give eternal life, to liberate from evil, to defeat the dominion of death. It is the power of Love that can draw good from evil, that can melt a hardened heart, bring peace amid the harshest conflict and kindle hope in the thickest darkness. This Kingdom of Grace is never imposed and always respects our freedom. Christ came "to bear witness to the truth" (John 18: 37), as he declared to Pilate: whoever accepts his witness serves beneath his "banner", according to the image dear to St Ignatius of Loyola. Every conscience, therefore, must make a choice. Who do I want to follow? God or the Evil One? The truth or falsehood? Choosing Christ does not guarantee success according to the world's criteria but assures the peace and joy that he alone can give us. This is demonstrated, in every epoch, by the experience of numerous men and women who, in Christ's name, in the name of truth and justice, were able to oppose the enticements of earthly powers with their different masks, to the point that they sealed their fidelity with martyrdom.
Dear brothers and sisters, when the Angel Gabriel brought the announcement to Mary, he predicted that her Son would inherit the throne of David and reign forever (cf. Luke 1: 32-33). And even before she gave him to the world, the Blessed Virgin believed. Thus she must certainly have wondered what new kind of kingship Jesus' would be; she came to understand by listening to his words, and especially by closely participating in the mystery of his death on the Cross and in his Resurrection. Let us ask Mary to help us too to follow Jesus, our King, as she did, and to bear witness to him with our entire existence.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 22 November 2009)
In this final Sunday of the liturgical year, the Church invites us to celebrate the Lord Jesus as King of the Universe. She calls us to look to the future, or more properly into the depths, to the ultimate goal of history, which will be the definitive and eternal kingdom of Christ. He was with the Father in the beginning, when the world was created, and he will fully manifest his lordship at the end of time, when he will judge all mankind. Today’s three readings speak to us of this kingdom. In the Gospel passage which we have just heard, drawn from the Gospel of Saint John, Jesus appears in humiliating circumstances – he stands accused – before the might of Rome. He had been arrested, insulted, mocked, and now his enemies hope to obtain his condemnation to death by crucifixion. They had presented him to Pilate as one who sought political power, as the self-proclaimed King of the Jews. The Roman procurator conducts his enquiry and asks Jesus: “Are you the King of the Jews?” (John 18:33). In reply to this question, Jesus clarifies the nature of his kingship and his messiahship itself, which is no worldly power but a love which serves. He states that his kingdom is in no way to be confused with a political reign: “My kingship is not of this world … is not from the world” (v. 36).
Jesus clearly had no political ambitions. After the multiplication of the loaves, the people, enthralled by the miracle, wanted to take him away and make him their king, in order to overthrow the power of Rome and thus establish a new political kingdom which would be considered the long-awaited kingdom of God. But Jesus knows that God’s kingdom is of a completely different kind; it is not built on arms and violence. The multiplication of the loaves itself becomes both the sign that he is the Messiah and a watershed in his activity: henceforth the path to the Cross becomes ever clearer; there, in the supreme act of love, the promised kingdom, the kingdom of God, will shine forth. But the crowd does not understand this; they are disappointed and Jesus retires to the mountain to pray in solitude, to pray with the Father (cf. John 6:1-15). In the Passion narrative we see how even the disciples, though they had shared Jesus’ life and listened to his words, were still thinking of a political kingdom, brought about also by force. In Gethsemane, Peter had unsheathed his sword and began to fight, but Jesus stopped him (cf. John 18:10-11). He does not wish to be defended by arms, but to accomplish the Father’s will to the end, and to establish his kingdom not by armed conflict, but by the apparent weakness of life-giving love. The kingdom of God is a kingdom utterly different from earthly kingdoms.
That is why, faced with a defenceless, weak and humiliated man, as Jesus was, a man of power like Pilate is taken aback; taken aback because he hears of a kingdom and servants. So he asks an apparently odd question: “So you are a king?” What sort of king can such a man as this be? But Jesus answers in the affirmative: “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice” (18:37). Jesus speaks of kings and kingship, yet he is not referring to power but to truth. Pilate fails to understand: can there be a power not obtained by human means? A power which does not respond to the logic of domination and force? Jesus came to reveal and bring a new kingship, that of God; he came to bear witness to the truth of a God who is love (cf. 1 John 4:8,16), who wants to establish a kingdom of justice, love and peace (cf. Preface). Whoever is open to love hears this testimony and accepts it with faith, to enter the kingdom of God.
We find this same perspective in the first reading we heard. The prophet Daniel foretells the power of a mysterious personage set between heaven and earth: “Behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. To him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed” (7:13-14). These words present a king who reigns from sea to sea, to the very ends of the earth, possessed of an absolute power which will never be destroyed. This vision of the prophet, a messianic vision, is made clear and brought to fulfilment in Christ: the power of the true Messiah, the power which will never pass away or be destroyed, is not the power of the kingdoms of the earth which rise and fall, but the power of truth and love. In this way we understand how the kingship proclaimed by Jesus in the parables and openly and explicitly revealed before the Roman procurator, is the kingship of truth, the one which gives all things their light and grandeur.
In the second reading, the author of the Book of Revelation states that we too share in Christ’s kingship. In the acclamation addressed “to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood”, he declares that Christ “has made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father” (1:5-6). Here too it is clear that we are speaking of a kingdom based on a relationship with God, with truth, and not a political kingdom. By his sacrifice, Jesus has opened for us the path to a profound relationship with God: in him we have become true adopted children and thus sharers in his kingship over the world. To be disciples of Jesus, then, means not letting ourselves be allured by the worldly logic of power, but bringing into the world the light of truth and God’s love. The author of the Book of Revelation broadens his gaze to include Jesus’ second coming to judge mankind and to establish forever his divine kingdom, and he reminds us that conversion, as a response to God’s grace, is the condition for the establishment of this kingdom (cf. 1:7). It is a pressing invitation addressed to each and all: to be converted ever anew to the kingdom of God, to the lordship of God, of Truth, in our lives. We invoke the kingdom daily in the prayer of the “Our Father” with the words “Thy kingdom come”; in effect we say to Jesus: Lord, make us yours, live in us, gather together a scattered and suffering humanity, so that in you all may be subjected to the Father of mercy and love.
Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 25 November 2012)
The Church today is celebrating Our Lord Jesus Christ as as King of the Universe. This Solemnity comes at the end of the liturgical year and sums up the mystery of Jesus “firstborn from the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth” (Collect, Year B), broadening our gaze towards the complete fulfilment of the Kingdom of God, when God will be everything to every one (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:28). St Cyril of Jerusalem said: “We preach not one advent only of Christ, but a second also, far more glorious than the former. For the former gave a view of his patience; but the latter brings with it the crown of a divine kingdom... in his second, He comes attended by a host of Angels, receiving glory” (Catechesis XVI, 1, Illuminandorum, De secundo Christi adventu: pg 33, 869 a).
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 25 November 2012)
On this last Sunday of the liturgical year, we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King. And today’s Gospel leads us to contemplate Jesus as he introduces himself to Pilate as king of a kingdom that “is not of this world” (John 18:36). This doesn’t mean that Christ is the king of another world, but that he is king in another manner, but he is king in this world. It is a contrast between two types of logic. Worldly logic is based on ambition, competition, it fights using the weapons of fear, extortion, and the manipulation of consciences. On the other hand, the logic of the Gospel, that is, the logic of Jesus, is expressed in humility and gratuitousness. It is silently but effectively affirmed with the strength of truth. The kingdoms of this world at times are sustained by arrogance, rivalries and oppression; the reign of Christ is a “kingdom of justice, love and peace” (Preface).
When did Jesus reveal himself as king? In the event of the Cross! Those who look at the Cross cannot but see the astonishing gratuitousness of love. One of you could say, “Father, that was a failure!”. It is precisely in the failure of sin — sin is a failure — in the failure of human ambitions: the triumph of the Cross is there, the gratuitousness of love is there. In the failure of the Cross, love is seen, a love that is gratuitous, which Jesus gives us. For a Christian, speaking of power and strength means referring to the power of the Cross, and the strength of Jesus’ love: a love which remains steadfast and complete, even when faced with rejection, and it is shown as the fulfillment of a life expended in the total surrender of oneself for the benefit of humanity. On Calvary, the passers-by and the leaders derided Jesus, nailed to the Cross, and they challenged him: “Save yourself, and come down from the cross!” (Mark 15:30). “Save yourself!”. But paradoxically the truth of Jesus is precisely what is hurled at him in a mocking tone by his adversaries: “he cannot save himself!” (v. 31). Had Jesus come down from the Cross, he would have given in to the temptations of the prince of this world. Instead, he cannot save himself precisely so as to be able to save others, precisely because he has given his life for us, for each one of us. To say: “Jesus gave his life for the world” is true. But it is more beautiful to say: “Jesus gave his life for me”. And today, in this Square, let each one of us say in his or her heart: “He gave his life for me, in order to save each one of us from our sins”.
Who understood this? One of the criminals who was crucified with him understood it well, the so-called “good thief”, who implored him, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingly power” (Luke 23:42). But this was a criminal, a corrupt person, and he was there in fact because he had been condemned to death for all of the brutalities that he had committed in his life. But he saw love in Jesus’ manner, in Jesus’ meekness. The kingship of Jesus doesn’t oppress us, but rather frees us from our weaknesses and miseries, encouraging us to walk the path of the good, of reconciliation and of forgiveness. Let us look at the Cross of Jesus, let us look at the “good thief”, and let us all say together what the good thief said: Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”. All together: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”. Ask Jesus, when we feel that we are weak, that we are sinners, defeated, to look at us, and say to him: “You are there. Don’t forget me”.
Faced with so many lacerations in the world and too many wounds in the flesh of mankind, let us ask the Virgin Mary to sustain us in our commitment to emulate Jesus, our king, by making his kingdom present with gestures of tenderness, understanding and mercy.
Pope Francis I (Angelus, 22 November 2015)
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Compiled on 25 November 2018