Happy Solemnity of Christ the King! Today is the last Sunday in Ordinary Time, and one of our favorite feast days! When the traumas and tragedies of the world seem overwhelming, it’s always a consolation to remember that Jesus Christ is truly the King of the Universe. No matter what sorrow we endure here, it will pass – His Kingdom is eternal. Moreover, He is not a king who rules from some distant throne. No, He is closer to us than we are to ourselves, as St . Augustine said: “All the while you were more inside me than my most inmost part; you were higher than my highest powers.” (Confessions 3.6.11)
He wants to be close to us, because His reign is about love in the truest sense – a love that expresses itself in sacrifice, a love that pours itself out, literally, to the last drop. His love led Him to be crowned with thorns and mocked, spit upon and beaten, and nailed to the throne of the Cross. All this so that He can reign in our hearts and we can share in His Kingdom. Let us choose to serve Him in each moment of our lives, and work to usher in His Kingdom by letting Him reign in us as Origen writes in today’s second reading from the Liturgy of the Hours:
From a notebook On Prayer by Origen, priest
The kingdom of God, in the words of our Lord and Savior, does not come for all to see; nor shall they say: Behold, here it is, or behold, there it is, but the kingdom of God is within us, for the word of God is very near, in our mouth and in our heart. Thus it is clear that he who prays for the coming of God’s kingdom prays rightly to have it within himself, that there it may grow and bear fruit and become perfect. For God reigns in each of his holy ones. Anyone who is holy obeys the spiritual laws of God, who dwells in him as in a well-ordered city. The Father is present in the perfect soul, and with him Christ reigns, according to the words: We shall come to him and make our home with him.
Thus the kingdom of God within us, as we continue to make progress, will reach its highest point when the Apostle’s words are fulfilled, and Christ, having subjected all his enemies to himself, will hand over his kingdom to God the Father, that God may be all in all. Therefore, let us pray unceasingly with that disposition of soul which the Word may make divine, saying to our Father who is in heaven: Hallowed by thy name; thy kingdom come.
Note this too about the kingdom of God. It is not a sharing of justice with iniquity, nor a society of light with darkness, nor a meeting of Christ with Belial. The kingdom of God cannot exist alongside the reign of sin.
Therefore, if we wish God to reign in us, in no way should sin reign in our mortal body; rather we should mortify our members which are upon the earth and bear fruit in the Spirit. There should be in us a kind of spiritual paradise where God may walk and be our sole ruler with his Christ. In us the Lord will sit at the right hand of that spiritual power which we wish to receive. And he will sit there until all his enemies who are within us become his footstool, and every principality, power and virtue in us is cast out.
All this can happen in each one of us, and the last enemy, death, can be destroyed; then Christ will say in us: O death, where is your sting? O hell, where is your victory? And so, what is corruptible in us must be clothed in holiness and incorruptibility; and what is mortal must be clothed, now that death has been conquered, in the Father’s immortality. Then God will reign in us, and we shall enjoy even now the blessings of rebirth and resurrection.