Christ the King
Not long after WWI, in 1925, Pope Pius XI created Christ the King feast day to remind all Christians we should subject our heart, mind, and soul to the dominion of Christ and not any human institution on earth. The world at the time was increasingly telling Christians they must put their religion on the shelf and give their highest allegiance to the government. Imperialism, communism, and dictatorship were sneaking their ways into fooling the people that sacrificing their own freedom and rights was the way to go for the sake of the society.
In the gospel of John this Sunday, Pilate said to Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” When we claim that Christ is our king, we are saying we want to be the subject of Christ, we want Christ to reign over us like a king over his subject. The power of Christ as king is not imposed on us forcefully but by our own free will. Do we say Christ is our king on our own or have others told us so?
To discover Christ is our king on our own, we must look into our own life and get rid of other kings dominating our life. We get used to hearing from the priests or even one another, money, fame, power and pleasure are the culprits taking control over our life. These factors are neutral like water and fire; if we use them well and under our control, it is good for us. I think, what is behind these factors, is the one we have no control of and becoming our king, this is a lack of tolerance of any negative emotion, for example, suffering.
We continue to grow and grew up in a fast pace society, without noticing it, we are part of this advance technology culture. People today would work in one state and live in another state because of the convenience and rather inexpensive ways of transportation. We skip the fellowship and the small-town charm and use the freeway to try to reach our destination as soon as possible. People stand in line for hours to get the latest iPhone or technological gadget so they can run programs as fast as possible. Our emotion, reluctantly, has to keep up with all these fast pace activities in life. The result is we are always rushing to reach our goal, big or small. In the news, we hear more and more about children who would kill their parents in order to get an inheritance. They just cannot wait for their parents to die in their old age. People use drugs and alcohol to get rid of any negative emotion like breaking up in a relationship or when life is not going the way they want. Young people sell drugs to get the money quickly to satisfy the lifestyle they want to live. Eighty percent of the criminals in jails are drugs related. Politicians in various countries use propaganda to satisfy the desire of the hungry for fast and furious policy. We have heard propaganda like “health care for everybody,” it would cost a fraction of what we are paying now and it would happen immediately the day he or she took office. As naïve as it sounds, people buy it because it satisfies their want-it-now emotion.
This Sunday’s gospel reminds us of a suffering Christ, a God who died on the cross a few days after his encounter with Pilate. Pilate did not consider Christ as king, he just heard about the false accusation of the chief priests and scribes. As Christians, we do consider Christ is our king. If we all slow down and contemplate on the suffering Christ, we would find suffering is part of being human and with the help of Christ, we would overcome suffering by accepting it and use it as our advantage to be better Christians. Only then can we claim Christ is our king on our own and not because somebody says so.