(Christ the King: Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18:33-37)
Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet; Omega is the last. In the New Testament (written in Greek), they appear only in Revelation, always together, four times, on the lips of Jesus who says, “I am Alpha and Omega.”
In each instance, they are accompanied by a phrase similar to what we find in today’s second reading: “the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.” Elsewhere in Revelation, Jesus is called King of Kings and Lord of Lords. All of these notions, taken together, express his absolute dominion.
Daniel, in the first reading, speaks prophetically of Christ, saying, “His kingship shall not be destroyed.” In the Creed we echo the words of the Angel Gabriel to Mary, “Of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
In most parts of the modern world, monarchies have been replaced by republics with various forms of democracy. Individual Christians, too, though they call Jesus Lord, are more likely to visualize him dressed in the typical garb of his day than in royal robes. Some relate to him more easily as brother, or friend, and might even rebel against the image of Christ the King.
The last French monarchy was on its way to extinction at the time of the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette. At that same time, religion was being ignored, if not attacked, in large swaths of the population. Anything that was perceived as domination was being rejected.
Mary did not come to restore a monarchy of any kind. She shows us her Son on the cross, stripped, wearing a crown of thorns. Submission to him is not simply submission to his authority, but to his boundless love and endless mercy.
Today, in many places and various ways, there is an effort to thrust Christian faith out of public life. In a sense, Jesus stands before a new Pilate, insisting once again, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.” His dominion is not domination.
He adds, “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” This is where we come in. With our charism of reconciliation, and In our La Salette tradition of penance, prayer and zeal, let us testify to his truth. As we come to the end of this liturgical year, let us pray that he will reign forever in our hearts.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.