Up until the time of Constantine the most popular image of Jesus was “The Good Shepherd”. After Constantine it is not surprising that “Christ the King” becomes the most popular image. Mary then also begins to be presented as “Queen” and is enrobed in the fine clothes befitting of a queen.
In the year 313 Constantine had declared Christianity as the official new religion of the State. He did this to try and unify the empire as trade, law, taxation and Roman culture had already done. He used religion to try and achieve a political goal — always a bad idea!
Despite the political shenanigans that shaped this feast — which is always celebrated on the last Sunday of the Church’s liturgical year — a stark contrast is put before us on Christ the King: the contrast between what we image as kingly – and what we so often desire too. Success, power, status, control, popularity, riches… versus the kingdom that Jesus stands for — and the one that he speaks of before Pilate in the Gospel today — a kingdom “not of this world.”
There are, perhaps, two litmus tests which help us check-in and see if we are really members of Christ the King’s kingdom. These are transformation and alternative living.
Join Fr Russell Pollitt SJ as he reflects on the Scriptures for Christ the King.
Read the texts in your Bible or hover your mouse over the references below to see the texts.
Daniel 7:13-14; Psalm 92; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18:33-37.
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