November 18, 2022

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 reading for this feast, marking the close of the Church’s liturgical year. The two books of Samuel record major events of the reign of King David in Israel, which was from 1004 to 971 BC.

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, but the people had free will allowing them to choose their actions.

David’s task was to give good example and to inspire the people to acknowledge God. Such recognition, David insisted, was the doorway 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.

Magnificent in its imagery, this reading acclaims Jesus as the “image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15). Jesus is the center of creation. Without him, human life collapses into chaos and worse. Through Jesus, all people possess the hope of eternal salvation, sharing in the benefits of his sacrifice on Calvary.

St. Luke’s Gospel supplies the last reading. It recounts the trial and execution of Jesus.

Noted is the inscription placed above the head of Jesus on the cross that read, “The King of the Jews” (Lk 23:38) Roman authorities positioned this sign above the Lord’s dying body to warn potential rebels of what rebellion against Rome brought. In fact, it was a proclamation of a profound fact, not connected with Roman politics. Christ is king, the Son of God, the Creator.

This title exalts 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. God promised the Jews salvation. Jesus fulfills this promise, bringing salvation to all.

The Gospel mentions the criminals executed beside Jesus. One bitterly blasphemed. The other beautifully professed Jesus as Messiah, proving that human faith, repentance, trust in divine forgiveness and realizing that God offers the only way is possible for anyone.


When Queen Elizabeth II died, many stories circulated about her. In 1976, she and her husband Prince Philip visited Washington, D.C., to celebrate the bicentennial of the United States.

They stayed at the White House as guests of President Gerald R. Ford and his wife. As the queen was dressing for a festive banquet, a maid appeared, sent to assist the queen. Smiling, Elizabeth said that she was fine.

Then the maid promised to be there when the queen returned from the banquet. Elizabeth said no. The maid needed her rest. The next morning, the maid arrived at the queen’s room. Elizabeth was already at breakfast. Her bed was made. Bath towels were neatly folded. Her evening gown was hanging in the closet.

Until old age overtook her, Queen Elizabeth II cared for herself, since during the Second World War, her mother never allowed her daughter a maid. Women were needed in the war effort. The future queen herself became an automotive mechanic.

After her death, thousands praised her lifelong personal sacrifices for Great Britain. Serving the good of all, whatever the personal cost, giving whatever is needed, is the ideal of a monarch.

When this feast was established, many monarchies still reigned, but despots who had all the answers were menacing innocent human beings and their rights.

Pope Pius XI created this feast as response to these despots. Christ alone is the answer. As time unfolded, ignoring Christ’s teachings, the despots—Hitler, Mussolini and others—brought unbelievable horror to humanity.

Christ the king sacrificed all, even life, for us. He is the “way, the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). †

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