For Sunday, November 24, 2019
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
2 Samuel 5:1-3
There is a scene in the first season of the award-winning Netflix series, “The Crown”, when a young Elizabeth is role-playing a coronation ceremony with her father, the soon-to-be King George VI. The girl destined to be queen is reading the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury while her father responds and reflects on the circumstances of his life. The words speak of the sacredness of the ceremony and of the unbreakable promise that he will make to God. At one point he says to her, “You have to anoint me or I can’t be king.” He explains to her that the anointing is essential, for when the holy oil touches him, he comes into direct contact with the Divine and is transformed forever. He becomes an anointed king who is now bound to the Anointed One. Elizabeth continues with the mock ceremony and anoints his head with the words: “as kings, priests, and prophets were anointed.” It is a very powerful scene that can give the viewer chills, especially if they have a Christian reference point from which to draw.
In the scene, you catch a glimpse of the importance of the monarchy to the people of England. The throne, whether it be sat on by a king or queen, is nothing like the seat of a president or prime minister. This seat of power is about divine calling and purpose. It is not so much about serving the people, but instead being a servant of the people because the true service is to God.
Of course, for most Christians who are active in their faith, watching this scene calls to mind the sacrament of Baptism. In Baptism, we are washed clean of our sin with water and anointed with oil. We die to our very self and are born again in Christ. We are new creations in the risen Lord. As King George VI explains to his daughter about his coronation, we are forever transformed in Baptism. We also are anointed into a royal priesthood. We become priest, prophet, and king like all those who have gone before us marked in the Faith.
Each year on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, we speak about how Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. No earthly king surpasses him in glory and majesty. Jesus was the Anointed One, and we are blessed to be his earthly subjects in a kingdom that cannot be destroyed. However, if we are to be about the business of our king in this world, we need to take this occasion to reflect on our own anointing. In fact, since we bear the name Christian, we truly are called to be Christ to a world that needs to know him. All have been saved by the death and resurrection of the Anointed One, but now he is calling us and counting on us to honor our anointing through our discipleship and stewardship in this world.
At the very least, one can reflect on the fact that if we are sons and daughters of God, then we are royalty in a sense. That means we should act like it. Our Church suffers from so many ills in these modern times. Many of those defects have come about from members of the Body of Christ acting like anything but anointed royalty. With our Baptism comes responsibility. With the name Christian comes accountability. We are called and we are chosen.
What will the next liturgical year have in store for the Church? Only God truly knows. However, the future will be brighter if the kingdom of God manifests itself more clearly in our cities and towns. Things will improve if all those anointed by God step forward boldly with the Good News of the King of Kings.
Pope Pius XI instituted this very feast of the Kingship of Christ in 1925 to combat the increasing secularism, atheism, and apathy found throughout the globe. Many continue to believe that the universe would be just fine without Jesus Christ. A day on a liturgical calendar will not convince them. It will take all of us together — anointed and on fire for our King — to make a difference. This is the day and this is the moment.
Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS