Feast of Christ the King – Jesus our Lord and King

Dear Members of the English-speaking Catholic Community,
At every Holy Mass we celebrate on Sundays, we proclaim the risen Lord together after the consecration. We keep singing,
He is Lord, he is Lord.
He is risen from the dead and he is Lord.
Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess,
that Jesus Christ is Lord.
He is King, he is King.
He is risen from the dead and he is King.
Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess,
that Jesus Christ is King.
He is love, he is love.
He is risen from the dead and he is love.
Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess,
that Jesus Christ is love.
Perhaps we have all memorized this proclamation and we certainly give great expressions to the words when we sing it. At the same time, we need to reflect on these wonderful words.
When we sing this, we profess and proclaim, Jesus the Son of God, the prince of peace born at Christmas, is the anointed one promised as the saviour, the redeemer of humankind, who through his birth, his passion, his death on the cross, his resurrection and ascension, having promised not to leave us as orphans has sent the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts, in our families, in our church and in the world. Jesus Christ our Lord and God is Christ the King.
In Hebrew language, Jesus means, ‘God saves’. ‘Jesus’ is a divine name. Since God alone can forgive sins, it is God who in Jesus his eternal Son made man, will save his people from their sins (cf. Mt 1, 21; 2,7), for it is in ‘Jesus’ that God recapitulates salvation history for all humankind.
The name ‘Jesus’ signifies that the very name of God is present in the person of his Son Jesus, who is ‘sent’ on a messianic mission, that is made manifest to all humankind through his incarnation, to redeem us from sin. The passion, death on the cross, and the resurrection of Jesus glorifies the name of God as saviour, it pronounces the supreme power of that name which is above every name. It is in this name of ‘Jesus’ the disciples perform miracles and therefore all persons may invoke the name of Jesus as the Messiah, as Lord and King.
You might have observed that all our prayers, either during Holy Mass or at liturgical services, the prayer ends by invoking the name of ‘Jesus’. The title ‘Christ’ then follows. The word ‘Christ’ is from the Greek translation for the Hebrew word ‘Messiah’ and becomes the absolute word for Jesus who is the Messiah and Saviour of all humankind.
We find in the Old Testament, all those men entrusted with a ‘mission’ for God’s chosen people were anointed in the name of Christ. In St. John’s Gospel, ‘Jesus Christ’ points to the fact, that the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life for the ransom of all humankind (cf. Jn 3,13; Mt 20,28). In the Acts of the Apostles after the resurrection, Peter was boldly able to proclaim Jesus’ messianic kingship to God’s Family (cf. Acts 2,36).
Jesus’ messianic consecration reveals his ‘divine mission’. We also know about his ‘eternal messianic consecration’ that was revealed during his life on earth, from the time he was baptized by John the Baptist, when he was revealed as the ‘Messiah’ and later through his works, miracles, words and transfigurations that revealed himself as the Holy One of God. Thus, we find in salvation history and concretely in the four Gospels that Jesus fulfils in his ‘mission’ the eternal messianic hope for all times, in his threefold office of Priest, Prophet and King.
We often hear in the Gospels that people address Jesus as ‘Lord’. This word ‘Lord’ comes from the Greek translation in the Old Testament, through which Almighty God ‘Yaweh’ reveals himself to Moses, meaning ‘Kyrios’ = ‘Lord’ and ‘Lord’ is proclaimed frequently in the New Testament, signifying the full sense of the word, for the Father and for Jesus Christ, who is thereby recognized as God himself (cf. Jn 13,13; Mt 22,41-46Heb 1-13). The title ‘Lord’ points to a divine sovereignty and when we in our prayers and at liturgical services invoke the name of ‘Jesus as Lord’, we confess and profess the divinity of Jesus Christ.
When we sing the words, “Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess”, we are offering this truth to all persons. We certainly need God’s grace to make this profession. We also know that God is love. He offers his grace and mercy to all human persons. Unfortunately, not all persons want to accept his grace and his invitation. Not all want to accept this truth and therefore we find divisions among peoples, races and cultures. Every knee should bow and ever tongue should confess Jesus Christ is Lord and King. In my opinion, this will happen in time, knowing definitely that ‘our time’ is not God’s time because God always was, He is, and He will always be, offering his love, mercy and compassion to all.
Let us be confident, let us have the courage to always proclaim together this great mystery of our faith as we sing on this Feast of Christ the King.
May God bless you all,
Cletus Colaço SVD.
Leiter der Englischsprachigen Katholischen Gemeinde.