Liturgy of the Sunday

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Feast of Christ the King of the Universe
Memorial of the Presentation of the Mother of God at the Temple. This feast, born in Jerusalem and celebrated also in the East, remembers both the ancient temple and how Mary offered her life to the Lord.


First Reading

Daniel 7,13-14

I was gazing into the visions of the night, when I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven, as it were a son of man. He came to the One most venerable and was led into his presence. On him was conferred rule, honour and kingship, and all peoples, nations and languages became his servants. His rule is an everlasting rule which will never pass away, and his kingship will never come to an end.

Second Reading

Revelation 1,5-8

and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the First-born from the dead, the highest of earthly kings. He loves us and has washed away our sins with his blood, and made us a Kingdom of Priests to serve his God and Father; to him, then, be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen. Look, he is coming on the clouds; everyone will see him, even those who pierced him, and all the races of the earth will mourn over him. Indeed this shall be so. Amen. 'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 18,33-37

So Pilate went back into the Praetorium and called Jesus to him and asked him, 'Are you the king of the Jews?' Jesus replied, 'Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others said it to you about me?' Pilate answered, 'Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done?' Jesus replied, 'Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. As it is, my kingdom does not belong here.' Pilate said, 'So, then you are a king?' Jesus answered, 'It is you who say that I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this, to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

With the feast of Christ, King of the universe, we end the liturgical year. The Gospel passage we heard presents to us Pilate who turns to Jesus and asks him: "So you are a king?" "You say that I am a king. - Jesus answers and then adds - For this I was born, and for this I came into the world." Jesus' affirmation is at the same time solemn and dramatic. It is this affirmation about his regality that will lead Pilate to consign Jesus to the high priests so that he was crucified. The governor wanted this condemnation to be inscribed on tablet fixed to the cross: "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."
Certainly, to human eyes Jesus really appears as a strange king: for throne he has a cross, for crown a crown of thorns, and for court two thieves crucified with him Then there are only a few women with a young man who, grieved, have gathered united under the gallows. And yet, this is the image that has always marked every Christian community. The cross stands out in every church and above all it appears when Christians are persecuted, outraged to the point of being killed. Faced with what appears to be the sovereignty of evil, we are invited to look up to the cross of Jesus and contemplate his royal power.
The Gospel tells us that from that cross the prince of evil is defeated. Jesus from the cross frees men and women from the dominion of sin and death. The Apostle Paul transmitted this conviction to all the Churches, aware of the scandal that it would cause: "But we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles" (1 Cor 1:23). It is by being crucified that Jesus exercises his royal power. It is by that love which he brings to the point of giving his life for others that evil is defeated. It is from such love that the new kingdom begins, the new world of peace. Several times Jesus repeated it to the disciples during the three years he was with them. And shortly before he died - after he had silently witnessed a quarrel among them over who was first - he gave them this lesson of humility and service: "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you" (Lk 22:25-26). And he showed it first: "The Son of Man - he told them - came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Mt 20:28). On the cross the ransom was fulfilled. From the cross of Jesus a new life immediately began: a thief found salvation by praying to the crucifix beside him, an elderly mother and a young disciple received a new existence from the words of that crucified man, two good but fearful and resigned men, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, received from that cross the strength to come out into the open and show mercy for that just man who had been unjustly killed. The love that flows from Jesus' Cross urged those disciples to welcome one another and to commit themselves to build a more human, more just world starting from the compassion for that crucified man.
This feast of Christ the King shows us the royal love that transforms the hearts of people and the life of the world. Let us gather around this weak and poor king. It is from him crucified that salvation springs forth for all. And, with the words of Revelation, we say to him: "To you, Lord, who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to you be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."