Christ the King – 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time
In November 2010, the people of Swiebodzin, Poland welcomed a new resident: a giant statue of Jesus Christ known as “Christ the King.” At 33 meters tall or 108 ft (one meter for each year of Jesus’ earthly life), it is 3 meters taller than the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Conceived by a retired priest, Fr. Slyvester Sawadski, it took five years to construct costing $1.5 million. According to the Guinness Book of World Record, it is the largest statue of Jesus in the world. It shows the majestic Jesus with a golden crown on his head welcoming everyone with outstretched arm.
As we end the liturgical year, the Church would like us to imagine the “Parousia” or the end of time when Christ will return as King of the Universe. Our gospel reading (Lk 23:35-43) shows us a paradox. Jesus is crucified on the cross, bloody, beaten and about to die. Above his head is a cruel inscription “this is the king of the Jews” as bystanders’ jeer and laugh at him. But his nobility is shown by his self-composed endurance and rising above the pain. He is in control of the situation such that he promises the good thief “today, you will be with me in paradise.”
Pope Pius XI instituted this feast in 1925 as a response to the growing secularization, atheism and communism affecting the world. While the world was increasingly compelling Christians that they must compartmentalize their religion and give their highest allegiance to the government, the Pope strongly urged: “If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, in our wills and in our hearts.”
Prayer:Lord, let me willingly surrender my heart, my mind and my will to you so that you may reign as king of my life. Amen.
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