November 24, 2023

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

The Sunday Readings

Msgr. Owen CampionThis weekend, the Church concludes its liturgical year of 2023. Next week, a new year will begin with the First Sunday of Advent. The Church closes the year with an excited and fervent proclamation of Christ as the king of the universe.

The first reading comes from the ancient Book of Ezekiel. In this reading, God speaks in the first person, promising protection of the flock—in other words, the people of God. He is the shepherd, seeking the lost, caring for the injured, rescuing the imperiled. God will also distinguish between the sheep and others who assume other identities because of their unfaithfulness.

St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians provides the second reading. This selection is a proclamation of the resurrection and of the role of the Lord as Redeemer of humanity. He is the risen Lord, the first of those who will rise to everlasting life. Those who will follow Jesus in being raised from the dead are “those who belong” to Christ, in other words, those who have admitted God, through Jesus, into their lives and who have received from the Lord the gift of grace, eternal life and strength (1 Cor 15:23).

Paul frankly admits that there are forces in the world hostile to God. These forces cannot be dismissed as insignificant or timid. However, they are by no means omnipotent. In and through Jesus, the power and life of God will endure. God will triumph over all evil. No one bound to God should fear the powers of evil, although all must resist them.

For its final reading on this great

feast, the Church offers a passage from St. Matthew’s Gospel. It is a glance forward, to the day when Jesus will return in majesty and glory.

The reading repeats the description given in Ezekiel. God, the shepherd, separates the sheep from the goats, the good from the unfaithful. In this reading from Matthew, Jesus promises a final judgment to separate the faithful from the sinful.

In this reading, the Lord defines who will be judged as faithful, those who love God completely, without question. The faithful will not be those who only give lip-service to their belief in God, but those who, in the model of Jesus, give themselves totally to the will of God.


Although Americans cannot understand modern monarchies, they are obsessed with stories of British royalty, some edifying, some not. But Britain is not the only monarchy in the world today. The Netherlands is happy to be a monarchy.

A monarch holds a country together, is its defender and example.

Germany ruthlessly overran Holland in the Second World War. For the Dutch, the great heroine of that fearful time was Queen Wilhelmina, great-grandmother of the present King Willem-Alexander. Defying Hitler, she risked everything to champion her people.

Wilhelmina came to the throne as a young girl, succeeding her father. Under Dutch law, her mother, the widowed Queen Emma, was regent until Wilhelmina was an adult.

Emma wanted to rear Wilhelmina in conditions as ordinary and with as little fanfare as possible. But when thousands of cheering Dutch citizens appeared before the palace on a national holiday, demanding to see Wilhelmina, her mother had to oblige. The regent led the little queen onto the balcony, and the crowd was ecstatic.

Thrilled by the sight, knowing that she was queen of The Netherlands, Wilhelmina said, “Mommy, do all these people belong to me?” Queen Emma replied, “No, dear. You belong to them.”

Christ the King, forever young in the resurrection, belongs to us. He died for us, our brother, our Redeemer, the Son of God, the Lord of life, who gives us strength, mercy and guidance. He never forsakes us. †

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