“How worthy is the Lamb who was slain … to him belong glory and authority for ever and ever.” These words are stated (and really should be proclaimed) in this Sunday’s ENTRANCE ANTIPHON. They should be proclaimed aloud by the whole congregation because the antiphon not only sets the tone of today’s celebration.

What type of authority does Christ our King enjoy? Take a look at

TODAY’S NEW TESTAMENT READING [REVELATION 1: 5 – 8] and hear the words, “to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins … to him be glory and dominion for ever …” The Lord’s kingly authority arises from the fact that he LOVES US, and has FREED US FROM OUR SINS.

At once we must face Jesus’ own description of his kingship –

“My kingship is not of this world … you say I am a king … for this was I born, and for this I have come into the world” [see TODAY’S GOSPEL – JOHN 18: 334b – 37]. We miss the focal point of this Sunday’s celebration if we allow even the vaguest image of any contemporary royal personage to creep into our heads. Christ’s kingdom is NOT of this world. He said so himself.

We must anchor the Lord’s royal nature on the fact of his loving of us and giving us freedom from our sins. How firm is this anchor in us?

He freely and willingly allowed himself to be led like a

LAMB to the slaughter. {confer Jeremiah 11: 19} This image should be seen against the background of words spoken by Jesus himself – “you know that in the world, rulers lord it over their subjects, and their great men make them feel the weight of authority; but it shall not be so with you …. the willing slave of all, like the Son of Man; he did not come to be served, but to serve, and give up his life as a ransom for many.” {confer Matthew 20: 25 – 28} This instruction is repeated in both Mark (10: 42) and Luke (22:25). This teaching, as far as the Synoptic gospel versions are concerned, forms an essential part of the Good News.

TODAY’S GOSPEL TELLS US THAT JESUS SPOKE

(and speaks) THE TRUTH – and if we are “of the truth” we will hear his voice.

The real question is, do we want to hear his voice, the truth, about his kingship?

THIS king of ours is one who loves us in our own present time, and in this time he continues to free us from sin. This is the majesty, might and power with which he is robed and girded. {confer TODAY’S PSALM: 93 or 92} He does not intend to lord it over us nor make us feel the weight of his authority. Is this an exaggeration? If you think so read carefully some other words of Jesus, our King – “come to me all you who labour and are heavily burdened; and I will give you relief … my yoke is good to bear, my load is light.” {Confer Matthew 11: 28 & 29} On the side I record my personal liking for the translation which renders labour and burdened with hard pressed!

On this great feast of Christ our King we are actually celebrating and acknowledging with thanksgiving that our King, Lord and Saviour

LOVES US and continues his service of FREEING US FROM OUR SINS. There is no other royal person like him – never has been and never will be. We must, at all costs, avoid ‘downsizing’ this king of ours.

Rather we must enlarge the vision of ourselves – see ourselves as no longer subjects of sin but under the rule of grace.

{confer Romans 6: 12 – 14}

This does mean that we no longer sin. It does, however, mean that we have within us, through the ongoing service rendered to us by Christ the King, the strength to know with certainty that sin does not control us in any sort of permanent way.

We are subjects of grace and no longer hard pressed. We have been liberated and enjoy, under Christ the King, the freedom of God’s children.

 

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