Often on this solemnity, preachers will begin by saying that in our modern day and age we do not understand the meaning of kings and queens, especially if we live in a democracy. However, we can easily understand Christ as our King if we think of the duties of a king in Biblical times. These duties were four-fold:
--to represent the people
--to protect the people
--to establish peace and unity
--to reward the good and punish the evil.
It doesn't matter whether one is a king or a president, senator or principal of a school. The basic issue is authority. How is it exercised? How is it obeyed and respected? Christ has transformed the meaning not only of kingship, but of any kind of authority. Authority is not for dominating others, but for service.
Parenthood is an everyday image of authority. Although they hold a certain power over their children, parents become, in a sense, servants of their children. For years, parents change their entire way of life to feed, clothe, and care for their children. But there is no drudgery here, nor the resentment of a slave. All this self-sacrificing labor is performed out of love.
And this is the essence of Christ's Kingdom and Kingship--self-sacrificing love. If we want to be part of his kingdom, all we have to do is imitate him, become like him. The Preface for today's Liturgy describes Christ's kingdom as:
a kingdom of truth and [divine] life,
a kingdom of holiness and grace,
a kingdom of justice, of love and peace.
Our Baptism and Confirmation give us the privilege and responsibility of participating in Christ's kingdom and serving as he does. The Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI concludes today. Let's all pitch in and help continue the great work of evangelization so that countless other people may share in the Kingdom of Love.