November 22, 2019

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe / Msgr. Owen F. Campion

The Sunday Readings

Msgr. Owen CampionThe Second Book of Samuel furnishes the first biblical reading for this feast, marking the close of the Church’s year.

Once the two books of Samuel composed a single volume. In time, editors divided the volume into the two books now seen in Bibles. The book records the major events of the reign of King David in Israel, which was from 1004 to 971 BC. It is classified as a history book in the Old Testament.

In this weekend’s reading, David becomes the king of Israel. He was more than a governmental authority or political figure. His task as king was to strengthen the union between God and the people. He was God’s instrument, but not in a plan to control people. After all, people had free will allowing them to choose the course of their actions.

Rather, David was God’s gift to the people. By bringing them more closely to God, David assisted in bringing them to prosperity, peace and life.

For its second reading, the Church presents a passage from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians. This epistle was written to the Christians of Colossae, a moderately important city of the Roman Empire in present-day Turkey.

Jesus is the keystone of creation. All human beings, and certainly all Christians, come together in Christ. Through Jesus, all people possess the hope of eternal salvation. Through Jesus, all Christians share in the very life of God.

Magnificent in its imagery, this reading acclaims Jesus as the “image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15).

St. Luke’s Gospel supplies the last reading. It is a passage from Luke’s powerful passion narrative that recounts the trial and execution of Jesus.

Central in the story is the inscription placed above the head of Jesus on the cross. It read, “This is the King of the Jews” (Lk 23:30) It is easy and probably accurate to assume that this inscription was placed on the cross above the Lord’s dying body by the Roman authorities to warn potential rebels of the plight awaiting anyone who dared to defy Rome. It was intended to mock Jesus.

Instead of mockery, the sign was a revelation. It situated Jesus in the full sweep of salvation history, that pattern of encounters between God and the Hebrews. Jesus was of the Hebrews. He was a Jew. Most importantly, Jesus was the first among the Jews, their king.

The Gospel then gives the story of the criminals being executed beside Jesus. One cynically blasphemes. The other beautifully professes Jesus as Savior. To him, Jesus promises life eternal. It is a majestic act of divine love and forgiveness.


The Church closes its year with a brilliant and joyful testimony of Jesus as Son of God and Redeemer. He is the only source of true life. Furthermore, the Lord is the very embodiment of God’s infinite love. Jesus frees us from our sins, as he forgave the dying thief on the cross at Calvary.

As Son of God, Jesus is God, possessing all authority over everything. Nothing can overcome or daunt the Son of God, not even death on the cross.

Americans have difficulty understanding the European concept of royalty. Monarchs exist to inspire their people.

In Britain, a heroine of World War II was Queen Elizabeth, wife of King George VI and mother of the present queen. She made herself a part of the people’s sufferings and worries, constantly visiting military hospitals and neighborhoods in London destroyed by German bombing.

On one such visit, she was asked if she would send her daughters to Canada where they would be more secure.

The queen replied that her daughters would not go away without their parents, and that the king would never, ever desert his people in their trials.

Christ the King never deserts us. He died for us. †

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