Christ the King (B)
November 21, 2021
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.







Almighty ever-living God,
whose will is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the King of the universe,
grant, we pray,
that the whole creation, set free from slavery,
may render your majesty service
and ceaselessly proclaim your praise.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading Dn 7:13-14

As the visions during the night continued, I saw
one like a Son of man coming,
on the clouds of heaven;
when he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before him,
the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;
all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 93:1,1-2,5

R/. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.

The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.

And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.

Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed;
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.

Second Reading Rv 1:5-8

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father,
to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.
Behold, he is coming amid the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him.
All the peoples of the earth will lament him.
Yes. Amen.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, " says the Lord God,
"the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty."

Alleluia Mk 11:9,10

Gospel Jn 18:33b-37

Pilate said to Jesus,
"Are you the King of the Jews?"
Jesus answered, "Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?"
Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?"
Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here."
So Pilate said to him, "Then you are a king?"
Jesus answered, "You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."

Reflection Questions

  1. How do you testify to the truth?
  2. How do you listen to the voice of Truth?
  3. Where do you experience conflict between earthly regimes and one that is not “from this world?”

Catena Nova

The Kingdom of God is greater than all report, better than all praise of it, more manifold than every conceivable glory.  The Kingdom of God is so full of light, peace, charity, wisdom, glory, honesty, sweetness, loving-kindness and every unspeakable and unutterable good, that it can neither be described nor envisioned by the mind.  The citizens of heaven are the just and the angels, whose king is Almighty God.  In the Kingdom of God, nothing is desired that may not be found.  In the Kingdom of God is nothing that does not delight and satisfy.  In the eternal Kingdom there shall be life without death, truth without falsehood, and happiness without a shadow of unrest or change (St. Patrick of Ireland).

What in fact is Christ’s kingdom? It is simply those who believe in him, those to whom he said: “You are not of this world, even as I am not of this world.” He willed, nevertheless, that they should be in the world, which is why he prayed to the Father: “I ask you not to take them out of the world, but to protect them from the evil one.” So here also he did not say: “My kingdom is not in this world,” but “is not of this world.” And when he went on to prove this by declaring: “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have fought to save me from being handed over to the Jews,” he concluded by saying not “my kingdom is not here,” but “my kingdom is not from here.” Indeed, his kingdom is here until the end of time, and until the harvest it will contain weeds. The harvest is the end of the world, when the reapers, who are the angels, will come “and gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin”; and this could not happen if his kingdom were not here. But even so, it is not from here, for it is in exile in the world. Christ says to his kingdom: “You are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” They were indeed of the world when they belonged to the prince of this world, before they became his kingdom....For so has God snatched us from the powers of darkness, and brought us into the kingdom of his beloved Son: that kingdom of which he said: “My kingdom is not of this world; my kingly power does not come from here.” (St. Augustine of Hippo)

When Jesus was conceived the angel promised that he would receive the throne of his father, David. You have heard that often enough, but have you asked yourself how that promise is to be fulfilled? After all, Jesus never reigned in Jerusalem and refused to let himself be made king over Israel. Standing before Pilate Jesus even protested that his kingdom isn’t of this world. Part of the answer lies in the fact that there will be a new and heavenly Jerusalem and a heavenly Zion and that in heaven the only throne is not merely symbolic and earthly but eternal and fully real.... He will reign in the hearts of all those who believe and follow him and will reign there forever. Yes, God’s Kingdom is the heart of each believer and faithful follower. God’s Kingdom is my heart and yours. How glorious that Kingdom will be where all are united contemplating God’s splendor and shining like the sun with God’s power and glory. God grant that Jesus, out of his love, may remember me on that day and deliver me from all that blocks his reign in my heart! Come, Lord Jesus! Take away every stumbling block to the realization of your Kingdom in my heart and soul. You ought to reign in me, so let it happen fully (St. Bernard of Clairvaux).

For those who abandon themselves to it, God's love contains every good thing, and if you long for it with all your heart and soul it will be yours. All God asks for is love, and if you search for this kingdom where God alone rules, you can be quite sure you will find it. For if your heart is completely devoted to God, your heart itself is this treasure, this very kingdom which you desire so ardently (Fr. Jean Pierre de Caussade).

The only kingdom which can defy and conquer the world is one which is not of this world. This conquest is not only an ultimate possibility but a constant and immediate one. In every moment of existence those "who are of the truth" hear the Christ’s voice, warning, admonishing and guiding them in their actions. The real truth condemns their lies; pure justice indicts their injustice; the law of love reveals their selfishness; and the vision of God reveals their true centre and source of existence. They may continue to be disobedient to the heavenly vision; but they can never be as they have been. The kingdom which is not of this world is thus a more dangerous peril to the kingdoms of the world than any competing worldly kingdom. One nation may be destroyed by another more powerful nation. But civilisations and cultures in their larger historical development are never destroyed by external enemies without first having destroyed themselves. The force of their destruction is not only their own violation of the law of life but the loss of their moral authority under the challenge of those who speak against their power in the name of the Kingdom of God. Pure power cannot maintain itself. It must have some measure of moral respect. It must be admitted that pure conscience seldom defeats an unjust social system. Those who speak against its injustice are primarily its victims.... It is hardly necessary to draw the conclusion from this fact that those who draw their inspiration from Christ’s Kingdom must limit themselves to purely moral weapons in contending against historic injustice. Conscience may prompt the challenge of power by power, though it must recognise that the new justice, which emerges from the resulting conflict, will be less than the perfect justice in the name of which it initiated the conflict. The Kingdom of God is relevant to every moment of history as an ideal possibility and as a principle of judgment upon present realities. Sometimes it must be obeyed in defiance of the world, though such obedience means crucifixion and martyrdom (Reinhold Niebuhr).

The title [“King of the Jews”] is, of course, heavily ironic. Pilate knows that Jesus doesn’t conform to any meaning of the word “king” with which he is familiar. Jesus himself, as we saw, had redefined “kingship” in his conversation with the governor, insisting that his kind of kingship meant bearing witness to the truth.... Jesus has, all along, been announcing that God’s kingdom was coming. His followers might well have expected that this announcement would lead to a march on Jerusalem, where Jesus would do whatever it took to complete what he had begun. And they were right — but not at all in the sense they expected or wanted. That is what the evangelists are saying through this particular moment in the story. This is how the kingdom is to come, the kingdom of God, which Jesus has been announcing and, as Messiah, inaugurating. Jesus, John is saying, is the true king whose kingdom comes in a totally unexpected fashion, folly to the Roman governor and a scandal to the Jewish leaders....This is the coming of the kingdom, the sovereign rule of Israel’s God arriving on earth as in heaven, exercised through David’s true son and heir. It comes through his death. The fact that the kingdom is redefined by the cross doesn’t mean that it isn’t still the kingdom. The fact that the cross is the kingdom-bringing event doesn’t mean that it isn’t still an act of horrible and brutal injustice, on the one hand, and powerful, rescuing divine love, on the other. The two meanings are brought into dramatic and shocking but permanent relation (N .T. Wright).

What is the “truth” that Christ came into the world to witness to?   The whole of His life reveals that God is love – so this is the truth to which He witnessed to the full, with the sacrifice of His own life on Calvary. The Cross is the “throne” where He manifested His sublime kingship as God Love, by offering Himself in expiation for the sin of the world, He defeated the “ruler of this world” (Jn 12: 31) and established the Kingdom of God once and for all. It is a Kingdom that will be fully revealed at the end of time, after the destruction of every enemy and last of all, death (cf. I Cor 15: 25-26).  The Son will then deliver the Kingdom to the Father and God will finally be everything to everyone (I Cor 15: 28). The way to reach this goal is long and admits of no short cut, indeed, every person must freely accept the truth of God’s love. He is Love and Truth and neither Love nor Truth are ever imposed, they come knocking at the doors of the heart and the mind and where they can enter they bring peace and joy. This is how God reigns, this is His project of salvation, a “mystery” in the biblical sense of the word, a plan that is gradually revealed in history (Pope Benedict XVI).


The Truth of the Matter Is…

                  “Long live Christ the King.”  These were the last words of Fr. Miguel Agustín Pro, who died on November 23, 1927.  On that day every year the Catholic Church observesa memorial in honor of this Mexican priest because, at great risk to his life, he carried out his priestly duties during the Mexican Revolution whose leaders were fiercely anti-Catholic. After many close calls with the authorities, Fr. Pro and his two brothers were falsely accused of plotting an attempt on the newly-elected president of Mexico’s life.  Without a trial, they were sentenced to death by firing squad.  As Fr. Pro reached the place of execution, he asked for a few moments to pray.  After kneeling, he rose to face his executioners, refusing a blindfold.  He then stretched out his arms in the form of a cross, and shouted for all to hear, “Viva Cristo Rey!” --”Long live Christ the King!”   He fell seconds later, his body riddled with bullets.  Fr. Pro was 36 years old, and a priest for little more than two.

                  Thus was his name added to the other martyrs of the Twentieth Century in places ranging from Spain to Germany to Poland to Russia.  Among the little-known martyrs – clergy, religious and lay -- are those murdered during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s by revolutionary forces during the so-called “Red Terror.”  Pope John Paul beatified around 500 while Pope Benedict beatified 498 all in one ceremony, as did Pope Francis another 522.  Francis has approved another 127 for beatification, four of whom were so-elevated on October 31.  Rest assured, this is only a fraction of those killed.   It’s estimated that well over 6,000 priests alone were martyred in this period.  Like their Mexican counterparts, the words “Long live Christ the King” were often their last.

            For all of these people were victims of movements and regimes that could not tolerate their allegiance to Christ the King.  So their blood was mixed with his: the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth…who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood (II).  Indeed, it’s been said more Christians were put to death for their witness to Christ in the last century than all previous centuries combined, including the persecutions of the Roman Empire: their persecutors acting as latter-day Caesars, placing ideologies and the supposed interests of the state ahead of God’s.  And all of them, please note, rising to power in countries with long-standing Christian histories.

                  Of course, politicians have never had an easy time of it.  Look at poor Pilate’s dilemma when faced with the One who was born and came into the world to testify to the truth, claiming for himself an authority greater than Pilate’s, and a kingdom that does not belong to this world (cf. G).How did Pilate deal with the challenge Truth posed?By asking him cynically, What is truth? (Jn. 18:38).  And then by practicing the politician’s art of compromise.  In trying to appease those who wanted Truth silenced, Pilate gave a choice between Jesus and Barabbas, and when that failed, by having Jesus scourged.  In the end, when Pilate saw he could not compromise the Truth, he took the coward’s way out when; though convinced there was no guilt in Jesus, yet he handed him over. . .to be crucified (Jn. 19:16)? 

                  If nothing else, the story of Jesus’ witness before Pilate, and the witness of countless martyrs who dot Christian history, show how far Truth can be banished from public life, with leaders ever ready to offer up new victims: martyrs who will not stand for it, even if it means mingling their blood with the Blood of Truth -- his subjects prepared to fight lest the Truth be handed over, for everyone who belongs to the truth listens to his voice (cf. G).

                  And that’s not an easy thing to do, is it?  The voice of Truth is more and more difficult to hear in public life, especially when faced with media and politicians for whom truth is reduced to “alternative facts,” concealed by disinformation campaigns and conspiracy theories, or subverted by the manipulation of language.  As Pope Francis reminds us, “the risk of misinformation being spread on social media has become evident to everyone. We have known for some time that news and even images can be easily manipulated, for any number of reasons, at times simply for sheer narcissism. Being critical in this regard is not about demonizing the internet, but is rather an incentive to greater discernment and responsibility for contents both sent and received. All of us are responsible for the communications we make, for the information we share, for the control that we can exert over fake news by exposing it. All of us are to be witnesses of the truth.... (Message for World Communication Day 2021).

            That’s what martyrs like Bl. Miguel Pro gave their lives doing, witnessing to Truth.  If we fail to follow their lead, we’re no better than the chief priests who handed Jesus over to Pilate, saying “We have no king but Caesar” (Jn. 19:15). And that’s why the church must always place before our eyes the witness of martyrs, along with this annual feast of Christ the King: To remind us whom we serve and whom we do not. To him [then] who has made us a kingdom, priests for our God and Father, to him be glory and power forever [and ever].  Amen (II).



Intercessions (Peter Scagnelli)

Let us pray to God in the name of Jesus, the ruler of the kings of the earth, whose dominion is everlasting and whose kingship shall never be destroyed.

That Christians may imitate Jesus their king by renouncing worldly power and bearing witness to Christ’s kingdom of justice, love and peace.

That those who govern nations and guide the destinies of peoples may listen to the voice of Truth and seek the paths to peace and justice.

For all who reflect the image of Christ the King in the humiliation of the passion: May all the tribes of the earth learn to lament our inhumanity to one another.

That those whose hearts are pierced by sorrow or whose dignity is wounded may find help in time of need and hope in the ultimate triumph of Truth.

For those who are unemployed or handicapped, hungry or homeless: May our community’s response herald the dawning of Christ’s kingdom.

That all those who are seeking God or striving to know the truth may find in the life of our communities the faith and love that point to Christ.

That those who feel powerless in the face of life’s difficulties may find helping hands and loving hearts in our communities.

For this assembly, fashioned by Christ into a kingdom of priests: May our worship glorify God and our witness announce Christ’s reign.

That those who in this life looked for the coming of Christ’s kingdom may find in eternal life the fullness of Christ’s glorious reign.

Almighty and eternal God, to Jesus Christ, the firstborn from the dead, you have granted everlasting dominion and a kingship that shall not pass away. Remove from us every desire for privilege and power, that we may imitate the sacrificial love of Christ our King and, as a royal and priestly people, serve you humbly in our brothers and sisters. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)



Thou shalt know him when he comes, not by any din of drums,

Nor the manner of his airs, Nor by anything he wears;

Thou shalt know him when He comes, Not by his crown or his gown,

But his coming known shall be by the holy harmony

which his coming makes in thee. Thou shalt know him when he comes.

Lord’s Prayer

We pray that God’s Reign come in its fullness as Jesus taught us....

Spiritual Communion

Sovereign of our souls, you are thefaithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. We are unable this day to feast at the Eucharistic banquet, the sign of the nuptial feast you are even now preparing for us in the heavenly kingdom.  Ready us, Lord, to sit at table with you on that day when your reign will be fully extended over all creation and all peoples will acknowledge you as the Alpha and the Omega.  Give us the grace to confess you this day as the One who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty. To you who love us and has freed us from our sins by your blood, and who has made us into a kingdom, and priests for your God and Father, be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.



Closing Hymn


Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train: Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
God appears on earth to reign.

Every eye shall now behold Him
Robed in dreadful majesty;
Those who set at naught and sold Him,
Pierced and nailed Him to the tree,
Deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
Shall the true Messiah see.

The dear tokens of His passion
Still His dazzling body bears;
Cause of endless exultation
To His ransomed worshippers;
With what rapture, with what rapture
Gaze we on those glorious scars!

Yea, amen; let all adore thee,
High on thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the power and glory;
Claim the kingdoms for thine own:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Thou shalt reign, and thou alone.