Greek literature was fond of epithets to describe their gods and heroes in a glorious light. The New
Testament is far more modest in its description of its only “God” and “Hero” and His glory, which is not
of this world. Christ our king is thus described in Rev 1: 5-8: “Jesus Christ [is] the faithful witness, the
firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth” (not exactly an epithet, but if we drop the
verb [is], it sounds like one and takes us to the essence of this unique King who is our Lord).
Tympanum from Clear Creek Abbey in Oklahoma, by artist George Carpenter.
“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.”
It is difficult not to grasp the meaning of Christ’s kingdom as it is presented in today’s gospel:
“Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world”?
“But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
If we insist on building our “own kingdoms” on Earth, these divinely inspired words are a reminder
that after this life, there is another. Last Sunday, the Mass readings focused on the second and final
coming of Christ, a truth we believe in and express in prayer: “He will come again in glory to judge
the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end”. At the end of the liturgical calendar, let
us remind ourselves of the beauty of this truth, and of the salvation offered to us by this King, the
one we celebrate solemnly today so He can reign in the depths of our hearts.
“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”” (Jn 18: 33b-37)