The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe - Year C - 24/11/19
Gospel: Lk 23:35-43

For centuries kings and the royal family members run the country; today the title remains a symbol of the pass glory. We may question the validity of the Feast Christ the King of the universe. The kingdom that Jesus offers is everybody dream to have. His kingship is not to lord over others, but rather to serve, providing service and be with the underprivileged. We are called to serve others as our Lord, Jesus once declared ' I come to serve, not to be served. Natural world's richness comes from the mother earth; Richness in God's kingdom comes from Jesus' heart which provides peace for our heart, justice for all and love  embraces everyone. It is what we today celebrate.

Servant King

The poor welcomed Jesus' concept servant- king, but the powerful rejected it. The poor, the underprivileged and the marginalized flocked in to hear, and praise his teaching and wisdom. They wanted him to be their king, hoping he would liberate them from the mighty power of the Roman Empire. They were certain that he was their leader, and they were right. Jesus' mission was to lead them, not to liberate them from any political power, but to set them free from the power of darkness, and reward them with eternal life. The powerful and the learned hated Jesus out of jealousy, because he was popular among the people. They rejected his teaching, and criticised those who praised him. The problem was fuelled and spread further, when Jesus criticized their religious practices. The religious leaders united to eliminate him. To be sure to have an upper hand, they made up two plans: Plan A used their own power, and plan B used the Roman's.  For plan A, they set up traps, hoping to catch him off guard on the ground of blasphemy against God, or showing disrespect for sacred traditions. If plan A failed, then plan B would be more certain. They employed the power of the Romans to carry it out. They labelled Jesus as a revolutionary, promoting an uprising against the Roman Empire.  Jesus would certainly be arrested and executed by the Romans.

For any earthly king, once a person was elevated to be a member of a royal family, that person received a title and the title entails privileges accordingly for life enjoyment. Jesus' concept of a servant - king was foreign for them. Jesus told his apostles that:
'The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many'  Mat 20,28

Jesus' opponents could not share this teaching. For them, title, power and privilege are inseparable. Different classes of people challenged Jesus to show his power by coming down from the cross for them to believe. The leaders stood from afar and mocked him. 'Let him save himself if he is the Christ of God v.35. Under his cross were the soldiers who taunted him saying. They mocked him and offered him vinegar. Next to him was the criminal who abused him saying 'save yourself and save us as well'. v.39. They all addressed him 'king' but not to share his kingship's concept.  They failed to understand his teaching. Jesus didn't abandon them but prayed for them, 'Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing' Lk 23, 34. Jesus' mission was to save. They wanted Jesus to save them, not by his way, but by their way, and that was by he himself coming down from the cross.  To reject his kingship they nailed both him and his teaching on the cross. The sign 'King of the Jews' hung above his head, said it all. Jesus demonstrated his way of saving was giving hope for the hopeless. He promised the repentant thief: 'Today, you will be with me in paradise.' v.43. That is his mission- giving eternal life. After his death; his concept of servant- king unfolded when the centurion confessed, 'This was a great and good man' and the crowd went home beating their breasts. Lk 23, 48-49.

True followers of Jesus need not be nailed on the cross, but must carry their own cross, and help others in finding their purpose in life.