Feast of Christ the King

The Kingdom of Heaven Transcends the Present World,
Truth is a Guide for All Creatures

First Reading : (Dan 7:13-14): God has granted all power to the Son of Man
Second Reading : (Rev 1:5-8): All peoples admire Christ
Gospel : (Jn 18:33-37): Jesus is King of Truth
Chinese Classics:
-“Extreme is my decay! For long I have not dreamed as I was wont to do, that I saw the duke of Zhou! (1)
-“Burn the ink slabs, scorch the books, break the stringed instruments and tear the paintings, destroy all writings and remove all trace of my name .Could it be possible that heaven wants to shut me up with pliers and does not allow me to sigh?” (2)

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that 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. (Jn 18:36-37)

Readers of Scripture may ask the following questions: Why did Jesus not expel the Roman ruler who oppressed the people? Or help the Jews achieve liberation and independence? Or not assist God's Chosen People to once more have the dignity and freedom of the children of God?

If Jesus had reasons for not participating in social movements or changing unjust social systems, then what is the reason for the church today to participate in politics and try to change society's unjust situations?

There are different ways of viewing Jesus' attitude and therefore two trends of thought in current theology. Besides traditional theology, another prevailing trend has arisen,'liberation theology.' This encourages active participation in social matters, even to being involved in political movements.

Our church also has two kinds of people: those who place great emphasis on spirituality and those who give priority to social action. Although there are some people who try to maintain a balance between these two streams of thought, there are also those who are biased in one direction or another. This results in misunderstandings which pull them further and further apart. Today, we find that among some of our friends there are those who attend church regularly but rarely become involved in social matters, and some actively engaged in social activities who have given up going to church.

In actuality, what kind of person was Jesus? What attitude did he have about social problems? How did he view the relationship between religion and society? He acknowledged that he was a king, but what kind of king was this?

Jesus was not a revolutionary as we understand it today. During his lifetime he did not lead any kind of revolution. He was even very cautious when he cured disease, performed the miracle of the “Five Loaves and Two Fish”, or when he exorcised devils. He did not want people to misunderstand and think he was a 'social worker' or had come to 'give social service.' He did not want people to mistakenly think that this “messiah” only had a mission for the present and had come only to solve people's problems in this world.

What Jesus faced was the 'problem' of the entire world and all peoples' full development which includes peoples' bodies and souls and their fate for the present and future life.

Jesus was and is king but not only a king of this world; the kingdom he wanted to establish was not a worldly dynasty or a corruptible country, but an eternal kingdom. He was 'in' the world but not 'of' the world. He was determined to be fully human, but not a person bound by social or cultural traditions. He loves people and cares for the fate of the world, but he did this in a way that was thorough and all encompassing.

Jesus revealed Truth to us, the truth of life, of eternity, beyond time and space, truth that is absolutely right for all peoples.

Because of these reasons although he was no revolutionary, for generation after generation his words have inspired many revolutionaries. He did not himself become involved in social reform, but his spirit has moved countless people to have concern for their societies and love the needy. He has inspired people to be filled with lofty ideals and burn with zeal for righteousness. Due to Jesus' call, much good has come about, as the destruction of the system of slavery, the widespread struggle for human rights, democracy and freedom.

His cry of truth has come on the one hand from his arousing and penetrating words and on the other, from the wisdom he has put in peoples' conscience and the seeds of goodness he has placed in humanity, seeds which have already borne fruit and will continue to do so.

In Shu R, Confucius grieved over his advancement into old age and his diminished ambition, and the irrevocable loss of heroic airs he had when he was younger. He sadly exclaimed, “Extreme is my decay. For a long time I have not dreamed as I was wont to do, that I saw the Duke of Zhou.” (1) The Duke of Zhou was Confucius' role model. He had followed the Duke of Zhou's ideals to reorganize the country and the people he loved. But these days he did not even dream about the Duke of Zhou. Where had his ideals gone?

Confucius' state of mind was similar to Zheng Ban Qiao's sorrow in The Spring in the Garden of the Touching Heart. Zheng Ban Qiao was good at writing, music and chess but he wanted to “Burn the ink slabs and scorch the books, break the stringed instruments and tear the paintings, destroy all writings and remove all names.”(2) He questioned the heavens: “could it be possible that heaven wants to shut me up with pliers and does not allow me to sigh?”(2) He felt that he was not even allowed to sigh about the helplessness of life.

Both Confucius and Zheng Ban Qiao seemed to have this feeling of helplessness. But did this not come from their great love as they grew older? I believe this kind of love for each person and for the entire human race is the precious heritage Christ the King, beyond all time and space, has bestowed on us human beings.

Christ's Kingdom is beyond this world, his truth has penetrated the hearts of humankind. All the Truth that has enlightened the great-hearted people of the world, the magnificent love for each other shown among all peoples- all have come from Jesus Christ, the King of Truth.

Although Jesus never stirred up a revolution, he is the most realistic and greatest revolutionary. Through his influence and under his guidance he has conquered and changed the world.

(1)甚矣吾衰也!久矣吾不復夢見周公!
(2)焚硯燒書、椎琴裂畫,毀盡文章抹盡名。難道天公,還箝恨口,不許長吁一兩聲?