Daniel 7: 12-14 Revelation 1: 5-8 John 18: 33b-37
Any good presentation, whether it is a speech, a movie, a book, a television program or a story, concludes in such a way as to bring the diverse parts which preceded that to a satisfying closure, in a satisfying way that answers questions that were raised or solves mysteries which had been present. So it is that, as Church, we conclude today the annual cycle known as the Liturgical Year with the Feast honoring Jesus Christ as Universal King. Having spent the past year listening to and reflecting on the mystery of God and the revelation of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the conclusion is that Jesus Christ, in all hat he is an reveals, is the King, the epitome, of the universe, of life.
Today we heard from the prophet Daniel and the mysterious vision he had that the revelation of God comes through the “Son of Man” who is to be accorded all dominion, glory and kingship. From the book of Revelation there is a parallel image. The “Son of Man” is Jesus Christ who conquers death by being the first-born from the dead and thus surpasses all and everyone and is ruler of the kings of the earth.
These images make a certain amount of sense. They are filled with mystery and majesty. It might almost be called a very “Hollywood” image of “king.” As such, it gives the right sort of ending to the story.
But then we are presented with the gospel account of John. It is a sharp contrast. On the one had there is Pilate, a representative of the authority and majesty of Rome. On the other hand there is Jesus, a prisoner who is mockingly dressed and laughably crowned with thorns. He is asked, probably sarcastically, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Are you the “king” of those who bother to believe in you? Given a choice, we would more readily identify Jesus as “King” as envision by Daniel and the author of Revelation rather than the seemingly pathetic figure portrayed in the Gospel.
Yet, it is that contrast that defines the very nature of the kingship of Jesus, His kingship is not founded on trappings, externals, power, wealth or control. It is a kingship that speaks to the highest qualities found in God’s creation: justice, peace, mercy. This is what is found in the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. God came into the world in the person of Jesus Christ the King to make certain that we know and understand God as the source of all and that this God loves us and seeks to be joined with us. Jesus Christ, the epitome of the relationship we can have with God is thus King – of life; of the world; of all we are and can be as reflections of our Creator.
This is the truth to which his life and his ministry testifies. This is the truth that Pilate, representing the cynicism of a selfish world, questions and ridicules. It is the truth about the world and about retaion. It is the truth that there is no greater authority than that of Jesus Christ which he proved by dying on the cross and then rising from the dead. In this he conquered the ultimate source of all fear that ultimate instrument of all human manipulation and control.
The conclusion of this story of our Faith that is retold during the year is that the Kingdom of Christ, the living active presence of God with us in Christ is dynamic. It began when he came into this world and mounted his throne, the cross. It witnessed to its authority in his resurrection, overcoming death. It moves in the world today, proclaiming the meaning of that resurrection. You and I are to make known the reality of that kingdom in our lives. We do this by the way we live and we act with one another with peace, justice and mercy. We do this by the way we live out the Gospel in our lives in proclaiming that Jesus Christ is King and in revealing the truth about our good and gracious God.