At the parish where I grew up, on the feast of Christ the King all of the families would make fabric banners to celebrate the King. Before mass began, the children would march around the church to honor Jesus with a parade. There were bells, crowns, colors, and joy bursting out of the room. Our pastor would have us all shout ¡Viva Cristo Rey! Which was an anthem of Mexican Christians at the turn of the century. The spirited phrase means long live Christ the King. Just the thought of this feast brings warm memories to mind.
This was a very fun and memorable experience that taught me so much about Christ’s kingship.
Throughout the year, I try my best to rely on Jesus my savior, learn from Jesus the teacher, pray to Jesus my God, and celebrate the sacrifice with Jesus the high priest. But normally by the time the last Sunday of the liturgical year comes around I realize I have lacked in honoring Jesus, the King as much as is due.
This solemnity provides a yearly opportunity to submit again to the kingdom of God and choose his lordship for our life. An opportunity to see Christ on the throne of heaven. It is fitting that we honor the King the last Sunday before beginning the new year. We can look back on all that has happened, good or bad, and parade around with our banner shouting “Christ is, and will forever be, the King.” It is almost like finishing with a big bold Oh When the Saints Go Marching In type song. We finish the year by remembering one of the most important kernels of our faith. Christ is King, he was king in the manger, on the cross, of the empty tomb and in our life.
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”-Revelation 11:15
We have an opportunity at the end of the liturgical year to dwell on the very end of time. To think about the time when the kingdom of God will reign over heaven and earth. Especially in times like these where violence, terrorism, and hatred threaten at every corner. When hope is hard to find, we can rest in the kingship of Jesus. When the world, or our world, feels like it is spinning out of control, we know the throne is not empty. We have a good, holy, righteous, and merciful friend on the throne. He told us the kingdom would be under attack at times, that it would be hard, and that following him would come at a cost. But he also said he would always be with us.
We do not have a king that is inaccessible, but one that longs to have a relationship with each of us. Can you imagine if the King of England, or any other royal deeply wanted to sit at your dinner table, play with your kids, or hold you through a tough time? You can invite Kate Middleton over, but I am not sure she will show up. When you invite Jesus the King in, he shows up, every time without fail. He wants to come and dwell with you. Doesn’t that make you want to shout “¡Viva Cristo Rey!”
That’s the king we have. The king who deserves a parade today!
Join me this week in submitting a new to the kingdom of God and adoring Jesus the King.
O Jesus, we adore you. O Jesus, we bow down. We exalt and we praise you. All glory be to the King who is and ever shall be. Amen