Solemnity of Christ the King
Kingdom of Christ
Points to note
In every Catholic church in the world, there is that big crucifix in the middle. A crucifix differs from a cross by having Jesus on it. Catholic crucifixes also have that little note containing the letters “INRI” at the top. It stands for “Iesu Nazarene Rex Idumea”, which means “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” in Latin. This was what Pilate wrote as the crimes to Jesus, to be nailed on top of the cross. It is ironic that Pilate in putting up what he thought is the false assertion of a condemned man, has spoken a truth that echoed through the centuries since.
In Year A, we have discussed Jesus role as a judge (one of the roles of a king) and in Year B, the nature of kingship. So, in Year C, we reconcile our membership in both our secular country and our spiritual kingdom.
Acclamation before the Gospel
Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessings on the coming kingdom of our father David!
Explain that today is the last Sunday of the Church year and next week we start the season of Advent of a new cycle. This reading takes place when Jesus was dying on the cross.
The Lord be with you.
All: And also with your spirit.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Luke
All: Glory to you O Lord
The people stayed there before the cross watching Jesus. As for the leaders, they jeered at him. ‘He saved others,’ they said ‘let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.’ The soldiers mocked him too, and when they approached to offer vinegar they said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’ Above him there was an inscription: ‘This is the King of the Jews.’
One of the criminals hanging there abused him. ‘Are you not the Christ?’ he said. ‘Save yourself and us as well.’ But the other spoke up and rebuked him. ‘Have you no fear of God at all?’ he said. ‘You got the same sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it: we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus,’ he said ‘remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ ‘Indeed, I promise you,’ he replied ‘today you will be with me in paradise.’
This is the Good News of the Lord
What country do we belong to? Discuss your country and you may want to take the opportunity to impart a bit of civil knowledge, particularly if the country and the nation are different for you.
How did you become a citizen of your country and how do you prove that you are a citizen? Most of us were citizens when we were born in the country but some were naturalised (meaning, changed citizenship from another country). Many countries have identity cards but at minimum all countries have passports that you can use to show which country you are from. (NB: citizenship documents are sometimes too complicated to explain to children).
What does the country do for you and what do you need to do in return? The country protects us all & our rights and provides an environment for us to live our way of life with our family, community and church. In return, we have to pay our taxes, follow the laws of the country and are obliged to defend it, our identity and our way of life (way of life, not necessary our government, our food or our football team). This is known as the social contract.
Do you know we are citizens of another country? A country whose king is not of this world. Explain that we are citizens of God’s kingdom. Explain that Jesus is a king and what Pilate wrote on the cross. Show the children a crucifix with the INRI on it.
What does God’s kingdom do for us and what do we do for God’s kingdom? Just like our country, God’s kingdom also protect us but in the afterlife. It also provides faith for us to understand ourselves, love to live with our neighbours and hope for the peace in God’s kingdom in the afterlife. At the same time, we have to be willing to defend God’s kingdom and our right to our way of life as Christians.
How do we join God’s kingdom and how we prove we are citizens? You may want to spend a bit more time here. We join God’s kingdom when we get baptised. But our baptism has to be sincere and God may not accept our membership in his kingdom if we do not mean it. So our conversion and our acceptance of Jesus as King has to be true.
In a way unlike out country, you can never be born into God’s kingdom but will always be naturalised. We will always have to apply to join and our membership is always dependant on whether he thinks we have been true to the values of the kingdom or not – it is never a sure thing unlike our citizenship of our country, which can never be taken away.
Also sometimes like the Prodigal Son, we wander out of God’s kingdom and we lose God’s protection. We get upset and are no longer calm until we return to God’s kingdom. And until we return, we will not be under God’s protection.
We prove that we are citizens of God’s kingdom by the way we live our lives. We show that we are Christians by loving each other and forgive anyone who offends us. What other ways can the children come up with?
As with anything else, draw the parallels with the secular examples so that the children can identify with it.