- First Reading Daniel 7:13-14
- Second Reading Apocalypse 1:5-8
- Psalm 92
- Gospel John 18:33-37
Our faith is built on apparent contradictions or paradoxes and today we take leave of Christ in this liturgical year speaking of kingship, sovereignty, empire, majesty, might and power. The Gospel, however, shows Jesus about to take leave of the world looking very unlike a powerful king.
Jesus takes leave of the world before his crucifixion. He is apparently powerless, abandoned, and humiliated. Yet, in answer to Pilate’s question he declares himself to be king; king of truth. Jesus’ kingdom, he teaches, is not of this world, and Pilate being a man of the world of politics and power, fails to understand. His ideas of kings and kingship are altogether of a different order.
Jesus tries to explain, once again, that his kingdom does not belong to the world. He has constantly to overturn his disciples and his followers’ expectations and even those of his enemies regarding the Messiah.
Jesus teaches a kingdom founded on his witness to the truth of God’s care and faithful love for his people, proven by his sending of the Son, and the truth of Christ’s victory over all the powers of this world, most especially over the greatest power and tyrant of all, death. Christ’s royal power is the power of truth, and his throne is within the hearts of each one of us, swept clean of sin. His kingdom is a way of living which is marked by mutual respect, recognition of the dignity of each person, justice, peace, forgiveness, mercy and faithfulness.
It is an upside-down kingdom, where the lowly and the last in the eyes of this world come first, where the weak are powerful and the mighty are cast from their thrones.
Christ’s kingdom is built up within and among us when we empty ourselves, after the example of Christ and serve him in others. It is a kingdom growing and developing slowly and unseen among us and a kingdom which will come to its fulfilment and perfection in the presence of God. It is a kingdom we pray for, work for, hope for, and look for. We share in its announcement and in its building here on earth so that we may one day share in its reality.