Jesus asks to be our king, yet he had no political ambitions. Clearly, his kingdom is far above politics.
This was the basis of Pope Francis’ reflection before praying the noonday Angelus on November 25, 2018, with the crowd of some 25,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square. The square was a sea of umbrellas as the faithful braved pouring rain to be with the Holy Father on the Feast of Christ the King.
“Today Jesus asks us to let him become our King,” Pope Francis proclaimed. “A King that with His word, His example and his immolated life on the cross, has saved us from death, and this King points out the way to lost man; He gives new light to our existence, marked by doubt, by fear, and by everyday trials. However, we must not forget that Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world. He can give new meaning to our life, sometimes harshly tried also by our mistakes and our sins, only on the condition that we do not follow the logic of the world and of its ‘kings’.”
The Pope pointed out the irony that we celebrate the kingship of Jesus on the last day of the liturgical year. But this is appropriate because the end of history will harken in His eternal reign.
“The Solemnity of Jesus Christ King of the Universe, which we celebrate today, is placed at the end of the liturgical year and recalls that the life of creation doesn’t advance by chance but proceeds to a final end: the definitive manifestation of Christ, Lord of history and of the whole of creation,” Francis recalled. “The conclusion of history will be His eternal reign.”
The Holy Father reminded the crowd that after the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the people wanted to declare Jesus their king and overthrow the Romans. They wanted “political” freedom. Of course, Jesus would have none of this and withdrew to pray. When questioned by Pilate about his ambitions to be king, he explained that his kingdom was not of this world. He and his disciples were not fighting for political position. They were working to build a kingdom based on love.
“History teaches us that kingdoms founded on the power of arms and lies are fragile and, sooner or later, collapse; but the Kingdom of God is founded on love and is rooted in hearts — the Kingdom of God is rooted in hearts –, conferring on one who receives it peace, freedom, and fullness of life,” Francis explained. “Jesus wants to make it understood that above political power there is another greater one, which is not obtained with human means. He came on earth to exercise this power, which is love…”