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Complete and Freeing Love

First Reading: Daniel 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: Psalm 93:1, 1-2, 5

R. (1a) 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.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed;
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.

Second Reading: Revelation 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.”

Gospel: John 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.”

NAB

nov 22

This Sunday, Christ the King Sunday, gives my heart and soul all kinds of happy and chilling feelings.

Looking forward to Advent beginning, the happy and joyful and expectant feelings of the King’s birth begin to fill me with excitement. Yet, the readings of today remind me that Christ’s life and His Kingship weren’t all “roses and banquets and gold crowns.”

Today we see images of Christ as our King: throned in Heaven, robed in splendor, and then the Gospel hits us with the brutal reminder of what the King suffered. I know every time I hear the name of Pilate, I’m taken right back to Jesus’ Passion, which from outward appearances, was grotesque and far from glory.

“To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, who has made us into a kingdom . . . .”

Can you think of a single person throughout all of time who can be described even close to the way Revelation describes Jesus here? What ruler is known for loving and freeing his people? What ruler is known for paying the price for his people with his blood? I can think of none.

But, Jesus, our King, loves us. Our King knows us and desires to have an intimate, personal relationship with each of us. That is why He gave Himself in the horrifying sacrifice, in payment with His own blood. The reminder of His great, unfathomable sacrifice gives me chills. The immense love Jesus, my King, has for me—little me! (and you)—to choose this sacrifice, fills me with joy.

I wonder, would Jesus’ kingship be so incredible without the sacrifice? Would He be robed in majesty, would His throne be everlasting, if it weren’t for the love so great that He freed us by His blood?

It would not.

But as Jesus told Pilate, “for this was I born . . . to testify to the truth.” The truth is that the King of the Universe loves us so completely that He made us into His kingdom by freeing us from sin.

“To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood . . . to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.”

Today, sit with the words of these readings and let them move you to the core with wonder and appreciation for the love Christ the King has for you.

photo by Susana Starbuck

Gina Fensterer is a wife, daughter, mother, friend, homeschooling mama and Colorado native. You can find out more about her here.

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