During our church year we have many feasts and at times wonder how they came about. December 11, 1925 Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King. In 1969 Pope Paul VI gave this feast the established time frame as the last Sunday of the Church year which is usually the end of November.
Jesus never claimed to be a king in the sense that most would understand---from the time of Pilate to today many still do not "get it".
Pilate said to Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews"? Over the centuries we see time and again that political people ask political questions. Herod was the king of the Jews and if Jesus said he was also-then there would be trouble in river city. However a Spiritual person answers political questions in a spiritual way. As the questioning continues it becomes obvious that Pilate and Jesus were not on the same page. Pilate's world was centered on politics; armies; battles; riches and wealth. He was making certain that this Jesus was not standing before him attempting to take away his authority and bring him down.
Jesus tried to convince Pilate by telling him not to worry about his own position of authority as "My kingdom is not of this world". Pilate never did understand what Jesus meant. "I came into the world to testify to the truth---everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice"
In the movie entitled a Few Good Men Tom Cruise and Jack Nickolson had the exchange when Jack was on trial and Tom said emphatically, "I want the truth!" Jack just as emphatically retorts, "You cann't handle the truth". Their banter continued.
The exchange between Pilate and Jesus goes back and forth and with each question it becomes more obvious that Pilate was becoming more frustrated with Jesus until He understood that Jesus was not a threat to the political world which he controlled. Pilate had no understanding nor did he care about the concept of Jesus saying "my kingdom is not of this world". As long as Jesus was not a threat to Pilate's empire he could not have cared less. Of course Pilate was not the only one who missed the message. Many of the apostles, disciples, local folks, fishermen, also missed the message. Peter cut off the soldier's ear in the Garden of Gethsemane---only to have Jesus repair the damage and tell Peter violence had no place. In another situation Jesus rebukes Peter telling him, "Get behind me you Satan."
Are there people in power today who have missed the message of Jesus? I can cut Pilate some slack. He did not have the benefit of almost 2,000 years of reviewing written history and stories of Jesus being passed along from generation to generation. We have the benefit of both the oral and written history and tradition being passed along to us. Every word of Jesus that was recorded has been analyzed for centuries. Movies have been made. Books too numerous to count have been written. What is our reason for "not getting it"?
The message of Jesus is simple and confounding at the same time. The message of Jesus is of love---love that never stops---love that is unending---love that is non-judgmental. For a political power hungry person this message of love is almost impossible to understand. It is so simple it is hard. The message of Jesus is given to us over and over again. Jesus never stops. The message is not forced on anyone but is there for the taking. We all have choices in this life; and we all must live by our choices. On this the final Sunday of the "church year" we have the finality of the Feast of Christ the King. Do we realize that the kingship is not of this world?
Perhaps this feast should be renamed as the Feast of Christ the Servant. Scriptures are filled with many sections detailing how Jesus was the servant---one of the most dramatic is in the Gospel of John 13: 1-17 read on Holy Thursday. It portrays Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. Is there a more humble vision of Jesus on his knees washing the feet of his disciples? Matthew chapter 25 tells us of the concept of the servant model-feeding the hungry; giving drink to the thirsty; clothing the naked; visiting the sick and those in prison.
Jesus was the perfect person. In psychosynthesis we speak of the various parts we each have within us and the need to balance those parts so one part does not take over and be dominate at the expense of others. We speak of the male and female sides---the anima and animus---that every person has within themselves. Jesus was aware of his anima and animus---he was able to balance all aspects of himself. As it is said in the 4th Eucharistic Prayer from Vatican II in referring to Jesus---"He was a man like us in all things but sin." Perhaps in today's climate it would say---"He was a person....
Jesus came to testify to the truth. The truth that the boundless love of God will set you free. That is the kingship of Jesus---it is not of this world but once we understand the boundless love of God for each one of us and the desire of Jesus to spread this love to everyone then the love of God is in this world as it is in every person. We can manifest the kingship of Jesus to all.