Brookline Carmel Bulletin
October 30, 1960
That Jesus Christ is a King is incontestable (to those who believe in Sacred Scripture). The entire second Psalm speaks of the universal reign of the Messiah. Among other things, it states: “Ask of me and I will give you the nations for an inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession. You shall rule them with an iron rod; you shall shatter them like an earthen dish.” And in 1 Timothy 6, 16, Apoc. 17, 14 and 19, 16 He is called explicitly: “the King of Kings and Lord of lords”.
In human society the role of a King is well defined. All authority and all the powers of government needed to guide the members of his nation to their perfection and happiness as human beings is vested in him alone. He is Legislator, Executive and Judge. Besides, he is the one who defends and protects his people against enemy nations. He himself personally leads his troops into battle.
As Legislator, the King frames the laws and establishes the institutions that enable the citizens to find satisfaction of their every need and the opportunity to exercise, develop and perfect their talents and capabilities. The laws are drawn up with a view to create an atmosphere of order and harmony. Functioning in his executive capacity the King puts the laws into effect and so brings about the desired peace. If order is disturbed due to clashes of rights and interests among the people, the King, as Judge, discovers the cause, exacts satisfaction and reparation from the culprit, and restores the due order.
We might ask ourselves: Setting aside the law of primogeniture, how does one become King? It seems probable that a first King is either chosen by his would-be subjects, who recognize in him the qualities of mind and body necessary to fulfill the office well, or else he assumes office by virtue of his own efforts in order to cope with a political problem that to him seems to admit of no other solution. At any rate, once a man is recognized as King by all, his person is endowed with a certain majesty, which proceeds from the fact that in him resides the authority of God. This majesty alone entitles him to the loyalty and obedience of his people.
Jesus Christ is a King, therefore, because He satisfies the requirements to an eminent degree. And that apart from the fact that He is King according to His dignity as the Word of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. He is the Wisdom of God to which is attributed the creation and government of all things. Divine Wisdom “reaches from end to end mightily and disposes all things sweetly” (Wisdom 8,1). For, as a man, Jesus is the Father of “a holy nation, a purchased people” (I Peter 1,9), His Church. He is the one who gave it its constitution and instituted the various offices and means by which His people are led to their supernatural perfection and happiness. He is greater than a mere human king, who leads his nation to goals inherent in human nature. Jesus establishes the goals for us as well. Nor has He ever relinquished His Executive and Judicial powers. He has seen fit to retain them by appointing Vicars (who act in His Name) and not successors to Himself. The Holy Father is not the successor to Jesus Christ, but the successor to St. Peter. At the end of time, however, He will come personally to judge the living and the dead.
As a Warrior-King, how can He be sufficiently extolled? He has won a signal victory over the enemy of Mankind, crushing his head. Like a good leader, He instructs His soldiers in the art of Spiritual Warfare: He has left His life as an example. In addition, He provides them with an inexhaustible armory of powerful weapons. And if this were not enough, we have a set of detailed instructions (Ascetical and Mystical Theology) handed down to us by those of His followers who most nearly have reduplicated His exploits (the Saints).
It is clear, too, that no other king can compare with Jesus in His ability to attract and hold the loyalty and devotion of His subjects. In His kingdom there is no police force. Or perhaps we can say more fittingly: Love is the Policeman. And (believe it or not) His true soldiers are more than satisfied with the wages: the joy of being near Him and able to walk in His footsteps.
To practice true devotion to Christ the King is a simple matter. All we have to do is to be loyal, constant, practicing Catholics. If we do this we are certain to achieve the primary (interior) goal of the Kingdom: Union with God and its fruits – peace of mind and heart on earth and everlasting happiness in Heaven. At the same time we contribute to the realization of the Church’s secondary goal, a temporal mission: unity and peace among nations under God.
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