If Jesus Christ is King of the Universe, why is the world so messed up? Why is it that, despite our best efforts, it seems like sin is proliferating? Why is it easier for our kids and grandkids to leave the Faith than to bring them into the Faith? Why is it that we’ve been working to end abortion and promote healthy marriages and end poverty for decades, but the problems have only gotten worse? If Jesus is King, why is this world in such disarray?
It’s because of us.
God is, undoubtedly, the King of the Universe. But way back in the beginning, He instructed us to rule the world in His Name. Listen to what He says to our first parents in Genesis: “Have dominion over the earth.” We are supposed to be God’s regents – by serving God, we would reign over creation.
But something happened – we gave that authority to someone else. In John’s Gospel, who does Jesus say is the “prince of this world”? Satan! By our sin, we refused to rule as regents of God, and instead shifted our allegiance to sin and the devil. We gave away the world so we could have an apple. So this earth is now enemy-occupied territory – and we have collaborated with the invader!
Back in 1940, Nazi Germany invaded Denmark. Instead of fighting back, the Danes figured it would be better to cooperate with the Nazi government, so reluctantly they did so. But the leaders soon found that once they let the Nazis into their country, their Nazi propaganda started to sway the opinion of the Danish people. They passed a law outlawing criticism of the German government, and even handed Jewish refugees back over to the Nazis. What began as a reluctant collaboration soon became full-fledged support.
And the same it was with us. Our first parents were tricked by the Devil’s lies, and once they were on his side, everything else in the world went to him.
So Jesus came to regain the world, which is rightfully His. But even though our Liberator came to rescue us, we chose slavery over freedom. Christ wanted to restore us as His collaborators, and we put Him to death. This is why on Christ the King Sunday we read that Jesus reigns from the Cross! This world rejected its True King because we are still under the oppression of our demonic slave-driver and his lies.
After all, Christ Himself testified that “My Kingdom is not of this world.” This means that those who follow Him will never fit in here on this earth! It will always be a battle and a struggle to fight for what is holy; the Truth and the Faith will always be rejected and hated and despised.
When I was at Trinity, I was teaching a class of juniors. As they walked into the room, I had a Christian rock song playing over the speakers. One girl, as she walked through the door and heard the song, looked at me with a look of utter disgust and said with loathing, “Is this a Christian song?” I decided to do a little social experiment, and I replied, “Nah, it’s not Christian. It’s just something I found on Spotify.” And she replied cheerfully, “Oh, in that case, it sounds pretty good – I like this song.”
Amazing! Someone would reject something simply because it’s Christian! But this is the reality of the world in which we live – we follow a King who was rejected by His own people.
But this should not cause despair! Christ’s Kingdom can come on this earth – and it begins in your soul and mine. St. Josemaria Escriva said it well:
“He is our king. He desires ardently to rule our hearts, because we are children of God. But we should not try to imagine a human sort of rule — Christ does not dominate or seek to impose Himself, because He ‘has not come to be served but to serve.’”
So Christ’s Kingdom will come in the world when you and I allow Him to be King of every aspect of our life. Every aspect: our thoughts, words and deeds; our work and our play; our family and friendships; our internet browsing and our music and our video games and our driving and how we spend our free time and what jokes we laugh at – we put ALL of this under Christ’s Kingship and live in a way that pleases Him. Jesus does not force us to accept Him as King – but as Bob Dylan sang, “Everybody gotta serve somebody.” So will we serve the prince of this world (Satan) or the King whose Kingdom will triumph in the end?
My friends, in this world, it will always be a struggle to fight for goodness and faith and holiness. The world is a mess, because we have allowed an Enemy to rule us. But Christ came to be rejected by the world so that He could refashion the Kingdom inside of us – His Kingdom, which will last for eternity.