In the readings for Sunday, Nov. 25, the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, we are assured of God’s perfect power, authority and love.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
… One like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.
The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.
“For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
The solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe is a mouthful, and it’s also one of the most significant solemnities we celebrate. It’s the final Sunday of the liturgical year, crowning, as it were, the whole purpose of salvation history.
When God made Israel a nation, God was their king. God’s intention for his people, and his hope for the nation that he carved out for himself was that they would take their instruction from God’s loving example of leadership, justice and mercy. They did not. They insisted on a human king, even after God told them that the consequences of that choice would bring separation from God and disaster for the people. But God let us make our choice. And God had a plan for saving us from that choice. God would come to where we are and be the king for us that we needed, and give us a new opportunity to make that choice. And God let us make our choice.
Our first reading from the prophet Daniel offers an image of Jesus, one like the son of man, in his perfect kingship in heaven. This is the resurrected Jesus, the one who will come back at the end to take the faithful ones to him. The second reading from Revelation is an echo of Daniel and adds that Jesus is the “alpha and omega,” the beginning and the end. He always was our king, and always will be, and his kingdom never ends.
The Gospel tells the story of Jesus’ inquisition by Pilate as Pilate tries to get Jesus to commit a capital crime of claiming that he is a king in opposition to Caesar. That would be punishable by death, and Pilate would be off the hook with the people who were accusing Jesus and with his own conscience. In the next chapter, when Pilate presents Jesus to the people again as their “king,” they claim that they “have no king but Caesar.” This is humanity’s choice again, to not let God be our king. And there are consequences for us.
But God’s authority doesn’t rest on our acceptance of it. And God’s authority remains merciful and just. Each of us is offered the opportunity to claim Jesus as our king every day. This solemnity gives us pause to think about what that means for each of our lives.
What kind of a king do you think Jesus would be like if he was a king here? Draw a picture of Jesus the king.
What do you think of the image of Christ as a king? What would be different about the way Jesus would rule as a king versus the way human beings rule, lead or use their authority here on earth? What would it mean for Jesus to be the king of you personally?
How do I feel about Jesus coming back and ending everything? If it makes me nervous, why is that? What would make me more comfortable?
We say that the kingdom of God has been established on earth and is in its perfected form in heaven. What are some ways your family can make your home more like the kingdom of God?
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”