Painting:Kathe Kollwitz, German Children Starve,1924
The Feast of Jesus Christ the King of The Universe
Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
Today is the end of the liturgical year and next week will be the new liturgical year. The end liturgical year is closed with the feast of Jesus Christ the king of the universe. The feast of Christ king of the universe is the crown of the liturgical year because by the end of time, Christ the son of man will come in his glory, all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne and all the nations will be assembled before him. But also, that Jesus became the king of every age the lord of history with the sole power of His glory. Why does Christ is said to be the king of the universe? What does it mean this feast in the life of the disciple of Christ?
Jesus Christ is the king of the universe. Why was he entitled to the King of The Universe? Saint Paul said he has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through man, the resurrection of the dead came also through man. Just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life. From the statement of Saint Paul Christ, we know that Christ is the king of the universe because He is the first one who has risen from death. He defeated the death through his resurrection and he brought all to life so that from that moment death loses its sovereignty.
Before His resurrection, the universe is subjected to death because of Adam but because of Christ, the universe is brought to life. Only Jesus Christ is who can save the universe from its perish; only Jesus Christ can bring all to life. And this is the sovereign of King Jesus Christ of the universe.
The kingship of Jesus Christ is different from worldly kingship. The reason is that the way he proclaims his kingship governs and manages his kingdom is as the shepherd. The shepherd always serves the sheep and is not to be served. Then, he is not the king who just only sits in his kingdom but he pastures with love and compassion for all his sheep. All life and creatures are his sheep, this universe is his sheep. So, his kingship is paradoxical compared to worldly kingship. His throne is the cross not from silver because his life was sacrificed to the universe. His crown is made of thorns, not of jewelry and gold because he sanctifies the universe. He has no scepter but has a towel that hangs out on his clothing to serve. He does not have luxurious clothing but is stripped of his tunic because he is naked on the cross to wear on the universe and embrace the universe with its weakness. He wears no shiny rings on his finger, but his hand is pierced with nails because he suffers to redeem the universe from the wage of sin. He has no treasure but is sold for thirty pieces of silver because all the crime and cruelty are handed over to him. The symbol of his kingship is the cross because he is on the cross to be crucified. On the cross, he seems more to be conquered than conquered. He was to be conquered because he saved the world from death and destroyed it through his suffering, death, and resurrection. He destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power including his enemies by service to the universe. Egoism which seems to cover the heart of the universe had been defeated by his sacrifice on the cross. He overturned the sleek and the strong by sacrificing his life for the universe. He came down from the kingdom of heaven to look after and tend his sheep. The king seeks out the lost, we are lost because we live in sinful life but he comes to save us. We are strayed because we follow the chaotic will that brings us to darkness, but the king of the Universe brings back us who strayed. We are injured because of sin we have made but the king binds up the injured with his blood on the cross, we are sick because of egoism but he heals us with his love and his service. He shepherds us rightly with the light of his words. Moreover, on the cross he is poor, he is hungry, thirsty, naked, a stranger because he identifies and unites himself with the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the ill the prisoner, and the least brothers. He paves the way for service to others, to those most in need and suffering. He is always with the universe in every situation and condition and never abandons it. The gift of his life for others through his service on the cross is the victory of the king of the universe over crime when crime seems itself take position everywhere. He is the king of the universe and he reigns in all and for all because he is the king of service: he serves us, all creatures, and the universe. His passion, death, and resurrection prove his love and compassion for all the creatures manifested in the true action of the service. His rule of kingship transforms sin into grace, hate to love, fear to dare to serve, egoism into altruism, and losing the self to find the self. Through his resurrection, each one is in proper order: Christ the first fruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ.
It is the last week of the liturgical year meaning that our life finally will end also. At the end of our time, we will be judged by Jesus Christ the king of the universe himself. The judgment was said by Christ himself: I will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Now is the time only to recognize the judgment of him and not avoid it. What has been done on earth determines eternal destiny. The kingship of Christ is the shepherd who separates sheep from the goats at the end. Who are the sheep and the goats? The “sheep” acts charitably, giving food, drink, and clothing to the needy. The “goats” show and do no charity. When the king of the universe comes, he will judge all peoples and the criterion of judgment will be works of charity and mercy shown toward the marginal, the poor, and the suffering of the world. All people will be judged on whether they fulfill the love command by engaging in active care for the neighbor most in need. The disciple of Christ will also be judged by that criterion.
The life of the disciple of Christ must center on the service of the other. This is the King’s will and His command. Who is the other? Every one of us is the other. The king stresses the other is the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the ill, and the prisoner. The king of the universe -Jesus Christ- is hidden in the presence of those who are undergoing suffering and unites perfectly especially to those who most suffer. The least is the one who cries for justice and mercy. Then, whatever service has done to them is the service done to Jesus Christ the king of the universe. That is why the disciple of Christ must serve others including animals, nature, and plants because all is the least.
Service can be done by the disciples of Christ if they love Christ as the lord in their life which is manifested in every human and nature. Service can be worked if one accepts His way of being king of the universe that is as the shepherd and in a paradoxical manner to the worldly king. In addition, the disciples of Christ must have justice and mercy in concrete action. The concrete action of lovingkindness to those in need constitutes the mercy that the King of the universe desires. Justice is realized by acts of lovingkindness and mercy to those in need. The world will be made right when acts of mercy and lovingkindness are shown to those in need. The suffering and injustice that mar this world will be bearable because of the service to those in need so that justice is restored. The disciple of Christ is not simply to indict an evil world but to be a light by their service to the world. Evil can be defeated by service to others and at the same time giving glory to God. The praxis of justice and mercy seen as the concern for the marginal in society, rather than cult or creed, constitutes the true life of the disciples of Christ. By the praxis of justice and mercy the disciples of Christ see the true face of the King of the universe in fellow who most suffer. Jesus Christ the King of the universe appears in the disciples’ lives when they take service to others, and do justice and mercy to anything. If the light of service is in the heart of the disciples, then they will find Jesus Christ the king of the universe every day. Therefore, the true disciples of Christ do not act simply out of conscious Christological motivation, but simply because they care for the least.
The disciples joyfully share the splendor of having Jesus as the king of the universe. Their service to the fellow makes them crowned by Jesus Christ himself so that they are part of his glory and they see the sparkle, the luminous of his kingship. In the end, the king of the universe will say: Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
Otherwise, if the disciples of Christ believe Jesus as the King of the universe but do not make him lord of their life by justice and mercy toward the universe all of this is empty; if the disciples of Christ do not personally accept Jesus and his way of being king, they will have never been part of his glory when he will have come. The disciple of Christ cannot see the glory of the king of the universe in daily life because of refusing to serve the other. Finally, they will be separated as goats because truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment.
On the feast of Jesus Christ, the king of the universe, it is better to underline the autobiography of Saint Mother Theresa. Inspired by Jesus’ words in the Gospel, I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, Mother Teresa dedicated herself to lifting the vulnerable people that had been cast out and overlooked by society. Mother Teresa served everyone with compassion and supported them regardless of their religious beliefs or social status. Her efforts helped millions of people who were suffering from disease, poverty, homelessness, and starvation. Her work made a difference and she is the best example of her service based on the words of Jesus today. She has found Jesus in the marginal men. These are some of her reflections when she served the poor: The poor can teach us so many beautiful things. And these are people who maybe have nothing to eat, maybe they do not have a home where to live, but they are very wonderful people. One evening we went out and picked up four people from the street. And one of them was in a most terrible condition – and I told the Sisters: You take care of the other three, I take of this one that looked worse. So, I did for her all that my love can do. I put her in bed, and there was such a beautiful smile on her face. She took hold of my hand, as she said one word only: Thank you – and she died. I could not help but examine my conscience before her, and I asked what would I say if I was in her place. And my answer was straightforward. I would have tried to draw a little attention to myself, I would have said I am hungry, that I am dying, I am cold, I am in pain, or something, but she gave me much more – she gave me her grateful love. And she died with a smile on her face. As that man whom we picked up from the drain, half eaten with worms, and we brought him to the home. I have lived like an animal in the street, but I am going to die like an angel, loved and cared for. And it was so wonderful to see the greatness of that man who could speak like that, who could die like that without blaming anybody, without cursing anybody, without comparing anything. Like an angel – this is the greatness of our people. And that is why we believe what Jesus had said: I was hungry – I was naked – I was homeless – I was unwanted, unloved, uncared for – and you did it to me”.
The service of Mother Teresa hopefully raises the spirit of us to serve the least and urges us to dare to serve Jesus in the face of the poor, the sick, the thirsty, the hungry, and the naked. Remember the least here is everything that includes plants, animals, and nature.
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