Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of November 26, 2006
Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
1st reading Dn 7:13-14, Psalm 92, 2nd reading Ap 1:5-8, Gospel Jn 18:33-37
Every human and celestial reality has its reference, its reason for being in Christ, as St. Paul explains to us in the letter to the Ephesians. This is the reason why the title of King belongs to Him. "Without a crown" is not to be understood as a manifestation of humility, but as a manifestation of power because Christ is King by divine right, by acquired right, as all creation is his property and he does not need to resort to frills, symbols, royal images, to affirm the right to be recognized and accepted as king.
By carefully following today's readings, you could even log some passages from one to the other in a logical sequence, thus obtaining a reading that highlights this right and royal manifestation of Christ.
Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him: “Are you the king of the Jews?” “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked “or did others talk to you about me?” “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (Jn 18:33-37).
When Pilate asks him: "Are you a king?” Jesus replies: "My kingdom is not of this world". To a superficial interpretation it might seem that Jesus excludes his kingship from everything concerning earthly reality because it is lived by the kings of the various nations but this is not the actual meaning. To say that Jesus is not king of this world means that Jesus is not a king like the others. To be sure that this is the truth, just refer to the passage from the Apocalypse.
Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father - to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
Look, he is coming with the clouds and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all peoples on earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty (Ap 1:5-8).
Here John states that Jesus is the prince of all kings and therefore has sovereignty not over a particular group of people or a particular nation, but over every leader of the nations. Consequently, if he has kingship and authority over the leaders, he also has authority and kingship over the subjects of each nation. Christ the King should give us a sense of security, because we have chosen to follow Christ, the powerful, the almighty God, so we should feel more defended and more protected in our rights and in our earthly life.
As Jesus praised Mary who chose the best part, so he can praise each of us for choosing the most powerful king, the king of kings. He is the only one who can affirm his kingship over every man on Earth, over religious and civil leaders, in such a way that, as you have heard several times, each one, every individual, every nation, every community, every group, every race, may bow before Christ, recognizing him as God. This statement cannot find its implementation on Earth because the knowledge of historical and cultural factors has not always made it possible for man to meet Christ, thus recognizing his authority and royalty. All this, on the contrary, certainly takes place in Heaven where every man, regardless of the religion to which he belonged, the nation in which he lived, the culture he had, before Christ, he will put himself in a situation of acquired knowledge and manifestation of subjection. The knowledge of God bursts in every soul after the encounter with Him, at the moment of the Last Judgment. This perfect knowledge, immensely superior to earthly knowledge, is reserved for those who are momentarily in Purgatory and for those who are in Heaven. The souls in Purgatory begin to have a knowledge of God that becomes more and more extended as the time of their stay in Purgatory decreases until it attains a maximum when they reach the Heaven. This is what happened to millions of people who ascended to the Father in two moments, on October 24 and today. All those who are in Heaven know theology, morality, scriptures much more than all the Church specialists and exegetes who commented on it in the past, present and in the future. This means that when we too will be in Heaven we will know God with a depth never reached on Earth and that no-one has ever been able to make clear and explain. When we speak of God or Christ, we say what is in the revelation of the Old and New Testament, what God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have manifested to us, but the deepening of reality and the relationship between creature and Creator become perfect in Heaven only. Therefore, the subjection on our part and the sovereignty on the part of Christ are grasped and understood only when in Heaven. That's why I would like us to experience the goal of Heaven in the best way: In any respect we gain from the point of view of beauty, health, happiness.
Why be afraid to go to Heaven and think about death with uneasiness? Death was defeated by Christ the King, death is absolutely not to be considered as someone else's victory over us, but it is the propitious and best opportunity to meet God. Now you can experience this as an anticipation and in Heaven in the future, as a complete and absolute reality. Today Christ the King taught us that if we love Him, He will make us strong and powerful princes. We can find that this is the only true reality by making some observations: small, weak, unimportant people, according to men, now receive enormous respect from God and are entrusted with much more difficult and complicated missions than any mission performed by a living person. God always calls the little ones, the humble. In this regard I can reveal to you that in two days the Lord will send a person from Earth and other people from Heaven to Turkey. They are priests, a bishop, people who have paid for their loyalty with their lives, but for the most part they are simple people to whom, when they lived on Earth, no one would ever have entrusted a task, a responsibility. Instead, God entrusted them with precise tasks and responsibilities during the days of the pope's stay in Turkey, not so much for him as for others. If nothing happens in those days it will not be thanks to the work of the police, specialized bodies, espionage or counter-espionage, but simply because of the action of God. I have revealed these things to you so that you may understand that Christ is the King of kings, that Christ is God, that Christ is in history and we must thank him because he is always present and his presence qualifies history.
Human history from various points of view is bleak, but if Christ had not been there, misfortunes upon misfortunes, wickedness upon wickedness would have taken place. This is Christ and all the realities of the spiritual world and the earthly world are centralized in him. Before it seemed they were just words, but this is the reality. Jesus recalled that on that famous November 26, 1995, if he had not intervened, there would have been dreadful, negative reactions on those present and even an earthquake would have destroyed a large part of Rome. None of this has happened and no-one has noticed anything but the instruments used for the study of seismic phenomena, which have detected these phenomena with less power because God intervened. On that day there were demoniacs, magicians and witches in the thaumaturgic place, but God used an element of nature, rain, to send them away. It seemed that we had to get soaked in water, but we realized, at a certain point, that we were dry. Christ the King intervened and defeated his enemies, He could have done so in a striking way, but this is not his style. He defeats them, He just gets rid of them, He doesn't need to have men’s applause, the sound of fanfare and bass drums. God is only interested in freeing his children from danger, more or less serious, both spiritual and material. If someone should fall under some earthly or physical misfortune, do know that in those circumstances God does not forsake us and in the last moments of life He accompanies the person passing away so that they may be saved. This is what God is. I simply gave you some brushstrokes, enjoy them, submerge them in your reflection, keep and spread them because the choice we made is the only one which insures to reach God and all our brothers who are before Him.