The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home
November 25, 2018 – Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe - John 18:33-37
Each church year concludes with an important feast day in honor of Jesus Christ who is presented to us in our revised liturgy as: King of the Universe. This description is a bit of a mixed metaphor because “kings” are part of life here on earth. And the earth is but a small part of the universe, as we know it today. But we can overlook this as we reflect on the deeper meaning that the church intends with this new descriptive language about Jesus.
The gospel text recounts Jesus’ meeting with Pontius Pilate after Pilate had been informed that some people are calling Jesus a king. This concerned Pilate because he was placed in charge of this part of the Roman Empire and the Romans “dethroned” all local kings. Only the Romans ruled.
Pilate was, no doubt, relieved to learn from Jesus that his kingdom was not “of this world.” That meant the realm of Christ was not rooted in sources present only in this world. That’s because the rule of Jesus came directly from God and God was the One who rules over everything and everyone and everywhere. This truth would likely fly over the head of Pilate. He only knew of “this world.”
In recent years Catholic theologians have begun to describe Jesus as “the Cosmic Christ.” This is a powerful way of understanding Jesus Christ. Because of his divine nature, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, Christ is the source of the existence of the universe.
The entire universe has God as its primary cause. In the creed said during the Eucharist, we address God, Father, Son and Spirit, “through whom all things were made, visible and invisible.” Note the mention of “all things.” Everything that exists on Earth and throughout the created universe, even the smallest atomic particle, can be traced back to God’s initial act of creation. And when we focus our attention on our small planet, the place where God became human in Christ Jesus, where the Word became flesh, we connect with Jesus Christ, “the King of the Universe,” whose “reign” exists right now!
One of the truly great blessings of our time is the discovery of the vastness of the universe with its billions of stars and planets. It all has come into existence because God loves. It is the nature of love to share life with others. That has been done by God who is not only the deep source of our own personal existence, but that of the whole universe. Great and mighty is our God.
©David M. Thomas, PhD