As He stood next to Pilate and before an unruly crowd shouting for His crucifixion, Jesus, calmly and assuredly, proclaimed an important Truth for them and for each of us: “My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight…” (Jn. 18:36) How often do we see people or armies take up weapons and fight for Christ—I mean truly fight for Him and His kingship rather than our own needs, material possessions or honor? Yes, there have been many religious wars in our Christian history but were any of them purely for the sake of Christ? Even though my historical acumen is weak, I would dare say that these wars often had either a defensive intention for the sake of the Church and/or the freedom to worship and practice our Faith or they were politically motivated with the scapegoat of “religion” being the excuse for battle. That is my outlook on our Christian history, which admittedly is weak, so feel free to challenge me but remember, His closest friends and followers had abandoned Him when He spoke this Truth.
In today’s first reading from the book of Revelation, we hear and see Jesus receiving dominion, glory and kingship, and then in the Psalm response we proclaim, The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth. On the one hand, Jesus proclaims that His kingship is not of this world yet, on the other hand, we and the Church and all who believe in Him proclaim Him to be king, the Most High over all the earth.
St. Peter begins his second letter by asserting the Truth of Jesus’ kingship and declares himself to be a personal witness of Christ’s majesty at the Transfiguration—a majesty that is aptly and gloriously recounted by Matthew in the Gospel with an “other-worldly” description.
At this point, it’s good to remember the disruption that took place when humanity, the high point of God’s creative genius, turned its back on Him. St. Paul refers to this when he says, all creation is groaning in labor pains (Rom. 8:22), as it awaits that final redemption described by John.
Until that time, we accept Jesus into our hearts, allowing Him to transfigure us into servants living a life of Faith and Hope that declares, “The Lord is King!”