The image of kings and queens dripping in privilege, being waited on hand and foot, people bowing and scraping before them, does little to promote the wonderful nature of this feast of Christ the Universal King. The image we have from the gospel today is very different, it is stark: The image we have is the bound and wounded, beaten Jesus, standing before Pilate. Jesus is asked about his kingship and his answer confuses and disconcerts Pilate. He is a king but his kingdom is not of this world. In fact the kingdom Jesus has will never fade away, as the first reading tells us. His is a kingdom that has the Servant King as its model. Going to the Cross Jesus reveals the nature of his kingship; he is a king who gives his life for his people. The cross is the throne upon which this King is crowned. In his kingship Christ establishes the defeat of evil and by his death “the” Good shepherd, demonstrates he is the King over all dominion.
His kingdom is one that has service at the very heart of it. The care and concern for humanity is paramount in the kingdom he has allowed us to glimpse. We are to be motivated by love, by surrender to God’s holy will, so that we strive to establish a community on earth that anticipates heaven.
The church will move into a new year next week, as we begin the season of Advent. It is a time to look forward to celebrating Christmas. There are four weeks of preparation. Advent is an urgent time, a time to make sure we are ready in a spiritual way to realise the full significance of what we are truly celebrating at Christmas. But for this week, the last of the year, we look backwards for a moment. This past church year is now behind us. How were we as members of God’s Kingdom this year? How have we responded to the challenges of our faith this past year? Have we given into our own selfishness? Have our own wants come first? Have we given all to the pursuit of faith? Only we can fully know, each of us, how we have behaved as Christians this past year. If we could have done more, now we acknowledge that before the King, who asks us have we served his Kingdom?
This past year is gone now a new church year begins. The past is not ours to change anymore there is only the present and the future. We dust ourselves down, casting regret to the dustbin of time and move forward, renewing our desire to be more faith filled this year. We resolve today as we worship Christ the King to be guided by his example and led by his abiding presence in the Church, through the Eucharist and in the sacraments, which after all are encounters with Christ. We promise to walk more closely the footsteps of Christ and trace his life in our lives. We are his hands, his eyes, his ears, his voice in our world! And as servants of Christ the King, we realise our whole lives and full hearts and cooperation with his grace; this is the service that is demanded of us! May we go into the new church year with fresh vigour and zeal for the task of being servants of Christ, our Universal King!
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