A different King

Christ the King

Today we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, it is the last Sunday of the Liturgical year as next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. The Gospel proclaims the great mystery of our faith, in the moment of his crucifixion, Jesus is revealed as King, our Lord, and Saviour to all.  

Pope Pius XI instituted this feast in1925 to counteract the growing atheism and secularism of that time. This feast celebrates an aspect of Jesus’ identity, we recognize and honour Christ as ruler of all.

The vision of Christ the King in today’s Gospel contradicts all our worldly ideas of what a king or ruler should be. Jesus is not sitting on a throne, neither did he live in a palace, surrounded by servants. On the contrary Jesus came to serve and his kingship is shown on the cross. It is a scene of violence and murder, a horrific event, which is transformed by God’s power into a place of grace and the work of Christ as our Saviour and Redeemer. In this way the cross is the throne of Christ the King who is Lord and ruler of all. His power is radically different from worldly power, it comes from his love for others, and his crown is not a crown of gold but is made from painful thorns. The irony of the inscription nailed above his head “King of the Jews,” most probably to mock him, is that it contains the greatest truth. 

Jesus’ encounter with the good thief is found only in Luke’s Gospel, as the crowd jeers, one of the criminals crucified either side of him recognizes Jesus as Messiah and King, in doing so he finds salvation. Jesus tells him “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Those who had eyes of faith were able to see Jesus as Lord and King. As Christians, today’s Gospel invites us to make our own judgement and realization that Jesus is King. With eyes of faith, we too, recognize that Jesus, the crucified One, is indeed King and Saviour of all. Ask yourself if this is truly how you feel about Jesus as you pray before a crucifix. Even on the cross Jesus found the power to forgive. Can I find the power to forgive, even in the darkest moments?

“The true meaning of his Kingship is revealed only when he is raised high on the cross.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 440).

A reading from the Gospel of Luke (Lk 23:35-43)

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine, they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.” Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

  1. Read the Gospel story so that you are familiar with it.
  2. Reflect on what the Gospel story is saying to you. Which points would you highlight and why?
  3. Jesus will never be king of our hearts unless we serve others as Jesus taught us. As parents this week try to take on the responsibility of making God’s kingdom known to your family. Explain how Jesus is our Lord and that by dying on the cross he has saved us. Do you have a crucifix on display in your home? If not, ask why not?
  4. Some of the Jews were disappointed in Jesus, they expected the Messiah to rule with power and might and not through love and forgiveness. Are we ever disappointed in Jesus? Sometimes we find it extremely hard to accept the crosses which come our way. Pray this week for Jesus to rule in our broken world and in our divided families and in all aspects of our daily lives. Amen 
  5. Together with your family find the right time to read this Gospel. The environment helps, so before you start, prepare;
    i. The Bible reading from St Luke (Lk 23:35-43)
    ii. A candle
    iii. Cover the table with a green cloth
    v. A computer/laptop with the readings and clips
  6. Go through the steps with your children (2 age groups are being suggested).
  7. Feel free to adapt to your situation
  8. Be creative 😊 
  9. Go to the Prayer Corner section to continue praying as a family. 

Today is a special feast in the Church, we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. On this feast we recognize and honour Jesus as ruler of us all, He is a special kind of king, and He rules with love and kindness.

  • Jesus is not like the kings and queens of countries; Jesus is the King of Heaven and the Son of God.  
  • Jesus shows us the way to eternal life
  • Crown/Cross fan template
  • Colours, glitter glue, beads to decorate
  • Stapler

Do you know what kings and queens do? They rule over a country or kingdom for life and have power and wealth. They live in a palace and have many servants, fine clothes, and jewels. They wear a crown on their head, even though we call Jesus King of Kings, he had none of these things. Jesus wore a crown, but it was not a golden crown full of jewels it was a crown of thorns which the soldiers put on his head to make fun of him. Jesus’ kingdom is not on earth, his kingdom is in heaven. As you can see, Jesus was a different kind of King, he didn’t live in a palace. He didn’t wear beautiful clothes and had no servants to wait on him.

When Jesus was on earth, the people were looking for a king who would have a kingdom on earth and would fight their battles for them. A kingdom where they would have wealth and power. The people who didn’t recognize Jesus as the Son of God and King of Kings treated him very badly. In the Gospel today, we read that Jesus was put to death on a cross, and above his head was a sign that read, “This is the King of the Jews.” Roman soldiers stood beneath his cross and made fun of him. They said, “if you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”

Crucified on each side of Jesus were two criminals. One of them mocked him saying: “If you are the Messiah, prove it. Save yourself and us too.” Yet, the other criminal recognized who Jesus was and said: “we deserve to die for our crimes, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he turned to Jesus and said, “Remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” Jesus answered, “today you will be with me in paradise.” Jesus offered the criminal eternal life. Jesus also offers us eternal life in heaven with him. When we believe in Jesus and know that his words are true, we are honouring him as our King.  

To celebrate the feast of Christ the King, you can make yourself a crown/cross fan. Print out the template. Then, colour it or decorate it as you wish. Fold along the lines into an accordion, finally staple the fan at the bottom and it’s ready to use. Listen to the song; JESUS IS THE KING.

Sign of the Cross.

O Lord Jesus Christ, our King and Saviour, thank you for your great love for us, a love which led to death on a cross. You saved us with your death, that we might live in you in glory. May we praise your Holy name always. Amen

Today is the last Sunday of the Church’s liturgical year, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. In the Gospel we read that Jesus is crucified under the title “King of the Jews.” Two criminals are crucified next to him, they have different things to say to Him. Let’s hear what they said.

  • Jesus is a special kind of king. He is not seated on a throne, wearing fine robes and a golden crown, surrounded by servants. He is mocked, given a crown of thorns, and crucified on a cross.
  • By the power of his love Jesus conquered death, by his cross and resurrection he has saved us all
  • Crucifix
  • Crown
  • Bible

Before you watch today’s Gospel clip prepare on a table a crucifix, a crown, and a Bible. We are going to reflect on these three things and think about what they mean to us and how they relate to today’s Gospel.

When you look at a crown what do you think of? Kings, queens, and royalty would be a good answer. Think about what it means to be a king, a king wears a gold crown. Jesus wore a crown, but it was not made of gold, it was made of thorns! The soldiers put it on Jesus’ head to mock him, imagine the pain and humiliation Jesus felt at that time. Hearing today’s Gospel we also think about a cross. Jesus was crucified on a cross, underneath a sign which said that he was ‘King of the Jews.’ Do you think that Jesus was a king in the way we usually think about royalty? We can not confuse the kingship and power of Jesus with the power and status of earthly kings, Jesus is a special kind of king. He is not seated on a luxurious throne, wearing fine clothes with many servants to command. The king in the Gospel is mocked and left to die on a cross. The image of Jesus suffering and dying on the cross shows us a king with a different kind of power. By the power of his love, Jesus is shown to be a king who is willing to save all people. Jesus is crucified between two criminals, only one of them recognized that Jesus was the Messiah, the one who could save us all. Jesus answered the thief by telling him “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” By the power of his love, his death on the cross and his resurrection he brings salvation to the sinner and gives hope to us all. Looking at the cross we think about the power of Jesus’ love and how he rose from the dead, and that his saving goodness is open to everyone. Looking at the Bible we know that God’s message is the truth. Those who believe the sign on Jesus’ cross will like the thief be with Jesus someday in heaven.

You can also watch this video to reflect more on the cross, crown and Bible. 

Sign of the Cross

Jesus, you are our Lord and Saviour ruler of all. Please remember me when I come into your Kingdom. Thank you for your great love and kindness, you saved us with your death, that we might live in you in Glory. Amen

Try this week to reflect more on Jesus’ sacrifice whenever you look at a crucifix.

Listen to this song. Lord, I lift you name on high.

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.