Christ, the King and Judge
by Father Charles Irvin, M.Div, J.D.
It is no Secret that there is a Great Distrust of Authority these days, a Distrust of our Basic Institutions and their Leaders
that, in many cases, arises from Understandable Reasons. In Reaction, Individualism has been Advocated to such an Extreme, that for many
People, the only Acceptable Authority is the Individual Self. Many are therefore Uncomfortable
with the Idea of Christ as Ruler. With the Exception of a Fascination with Englandís Royal Family, we
Balk at the Idea of Kings and Queens, Believing them to be Oppressive. The Titles of
"Lord" and "King" for Christ
are Unsettling for some Folks because they Believe that such Titles are Borrowed from
Oppressive Systems of Government.
I am Troubled by all of this Hesitancy because it Casts Christ as being a
Threat. Jesus is Hardly a Threatening Figure;
He is quite the Opposite! This Hesitancy about Christ the King
may cause many to Miss-the-Point that Christ's Kingship is one of
Humility, Service, and Compassionate Care.
He is not a King who Imposes, rather He Invites.
He is not a King who Coerces; rather He Leads.
He is not a King who Issues Directives from afar; rather He
Speaks from Within our Hearts and Souls.
He is not an Imperial King; rather He is a Shepherd King.
He is not a King filled-with Anger and Wrath;
rather He has a Heart filled-with
Compassion and Mercy. What He asks of us,
He has done Himself.
In Saint Markís Gospel we find Jesus telling us:
You know that those who are recognized as Rulers over the Gentiles Lord it over them, and their Great Ones
make their Authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to become Great among you will be your
Servant; whoever wishes to be First among you will be the Slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be Served, but to Serve, and
to give His Life as a Ransom for many (Mark 10:42-45).
In Saint Johnís Gospel we read:
Pilate said to Jesus, "Are You the King of the Jews"? ...
Jesus answered, "My Kingdom does not belong to this World. If My Kingdom
did belong to this World, My Attendants would be Fighting to keep Me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, My Kingdom is
not here". So Pilate said to Him, "Then You are a King"?
Jesus answered, "You say I am a King. For this I was born and for this I
came into the World, to Testify to the Truth (John 18:33b, 36-37).
Jesus knew the Oppressive Nature of Secular Rulers Ė
He was put to Death by one of them. In Contrast to Secular Kings,
He defined His Role as King to Humble
Service, and Commanded His Followers to be Servants as well. In the New Testament we find
that His Kingdom is Connected to His
Suffering and Death. Even though Christ is Coming at
the End of the Ages to Judge the Nations, His Teachings spell out a Kingdom
of Justice and Judgment that are Balanced with Radical
Love, Mercy, Peace, and
Forgiveness. So when we Celebrate Christ as King, we
are not Celebrating an Oppressive Ruler, but One Willing
to Die for Humanity and Whose "Loving-Kindness
endures Forever". Christ is the King that gives us True Freedom, Freedom in
Him. We must never forget that Christ Radically Redefined and Transformed the Concept
Pope Pius XI instituted The Feast of Christ the King in 1925 at a time when World Rulers had been
organizing Human Society without any Reference to God. People in Europe had been
Ravaged by a Number of Totalitarian Claims to own them. Napoleon had Instituted the Draft of Soldiers, claiming the State
owned the Bodies of young French Men and Boys, and that therefore France could Conscript them into her
Armies. This was a Logical Result of the French Revolution which claimed that the Rights of Man came not from
God but from the Government. Even unto today, we Suffer from the Residual Effects of
such thinking. Many among us look to Washington to Solve all their Problems while leaving
God out of the Equation.
Earlier, the Royal Houses of Europe claimed that they Ruled Men and Women by 'Divine Right'. Following them later, the Philosophies of
Capitalism and Communism claimed that Political-Economic Systems exercised Ownership and Control over the Labor of Men and Women, as well
as over Men and Women in their very Nature. Rulers of People had in effect Taken-over the Prerogatives of
God and Substituted their own Dominion over Human Life.
Into all of this comes Christ, claiming to be our King. Oh,
not in terms of Political or Governmental Dominance, Power and Control, but rather in terms of what really matters, in terms of where we
find our Hearts and Souls.
I once heard of a little boy who was being Disciplined by his mother. She had just told him to
sit down and stay in his chair and not move. Said the little boy: "I may be sitting in this chair but Inside I'm
standing up"! Not bad, for a little boy! That's exactly the Freedom that has given many Prisoners of War the Power to make it
through their Torturous Ordeals.
What Christ came to give us is what the Tyrants of this World
Fear the most, namely Power and
Freedom, Power and Freedom to be in Possession-of our
Inner Selves. That's the Power the 'Thought Police' of any Totalitarian System want to have over us, and never can have because
Christ is our King.
There are other Tyrants lurking around today that also want to Own and Control us, Spiritual and
Inner Tyrants. Fear is one, Fear
filling us with Timidity; along with a Lack of Initiative;
Procrastination and Lethargy. It causes us to Withdraw into
Guilt is another of the Tyrants that wants to Control us.
Often it is accompanied with a sense that everything is Ruined and Nothing is Good. It leads us to Play the Blame Game, finding Fault in
everyone else around us and Demeaning everyone around us.
Hurt and Resentment is another. It causes us to avoid others,
to Bury of our Care and Concern for others, to have our own little Pity-parties, along with a sense
of Self-Entitlement leading to various forms of Sensual Gratification.
Christ would be King of your Soul
but in order to let Him you must Dethrone the False Gods that seek to
Own you and Manipulate you. But you must be the Actor, you must Take the Initiative. Christ will not do it
all for you, but He will do everything with you. He tells us
that with Men, Dethroning these Tyrants is Impossible. But with
God, all things are possible, even moving the mountains, both External and Internal, that seek to
What a Blessing we have in Christ our
King! What a Blessing to be able, with Christ, to Walk in
the Glorious Freedom of the Sons and Daughters of God.
- End of Homily by Father Charles Irvin -
Christ the Pantokrator
by Father Anthony Zimmerman, STD
Professor of Moral Theology
[Pantokrator - "Ruler of All" or "Sustainer
of the World". A Compound Word formed from the Greek for "all" and the Verb meaning
"To accomplish something" or "to sustain something"
We offer Christ Faint and Inadequate Praise if we Honor
Him as the Redeemer Whose function is Reductively Spiritual, but Fail to
Recognize Him as Ruler of the Cosmos. We view
Christ Narrowly, if in our Small Minds we Consign His Kingship to the
Sacristy and Church, but keep Him out of the Marketplace. For
He is now King of the Universe, whether
He came in Response to the Sin of Adam, or whether
He Stood-by to Assist in the Design of the Cosmos in the First Place. In either case, the Cosmos is
His from End to End; from Sea to Shining Sea; from Plain to Mountain; from Pole to Pole and
around the Circle of the Equator; to Him belong all Government;
His are the Workings of the Economy; His the Psychology of the Human Mind;
His any True Statistics compiled by Demographers and Sociologists;
His is the Art of Medicine insofar as it is not abused by Unprincipled Manipulators of
His Creation; He is Master
of Culture, of Human Dress and Styles, of the Dance, of Poetry, of Art, of Drama, Entertainment, the Circus, of Tourism, of Diplomacy,
even of Just Wars; He has been Active in all Human History which belongs to
Him; His are the Times Past, Present, AND Future;
His is the Key which Opens the Door when Men Pass from this World
to the Next.
In Principle, we Refrain from Coercing People to Practice the True Religion; but we also recognize the
Principle that both Church and State belong Equally to
Christ. To do Justice and Honor to
Christ, we must Endeavor to Help Him shape
the State to Conform Freely to His Eternal Laws. Individuals, Families, Nations, the United Nations,
Village Earth - all owe their existence to Christ, all are Obliged to Obey
Him, to keep His Laws, and to Conform themselves to
Truth. Individuals are bound to do this Individually; Collectivities are also bound to do this Collectively. For
Christ is not our Redeemer only;
He is the Pantokrator, the Almighty Ruler of the Cosmos, the
One "through Whom (God) First Created the Universe"
Who "sustains all things by His Powerful Word"
- End of Homily by Father Anthony Zimmerman -
Audio Clip on
Christ the King
by Father Paul Hinnebusch, O.P., STM