You are a child of the kingdom
1. Pilate said to Jesus,
“Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. 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.”(Jn18:33b-37). Taken from today’s Sunday gospel.
2. Today is the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the day we celebrate Christ the King of the universe. Today’s first reading from the 7th chapter of Daniel shows that there are two kinds of kingdoms. We have the earthly kingdom marked by arrogance, brutality and wickedness. This kingdom is destructible and limited in scope. There is the second kingdom which is ruled by the eternal son of man, a kingdom that will put an end to every other kingdom, a kingdom that will never be destroyed, a kingdom that will last forever. It is the kingdom of Jesus Christ where he reigns as the king of kings.
3. Standing before Pilate to answer to the accusation of being a king, Jesus would clearly declare:”My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.” This response made Pilate to affirm: “then you are a king.” Jesus would go further to explain his mission and the subjects of his kingdom. His mission is to bear witness to the Truth, that is God, his subjects are those who listen to his teaching about the Truth.
4. Belonging to the kingdom of Christ the King makes one a child of the kingdom. Being a child of the kingdom is being a member of a royal class, a nobility. One becomes what St Peters calls a royal priesthood, a chosen race, a person set apart to sing the glory of our God.(1Pt2:9) What does this entail? We enter this royal family through our baptism. Through it we are configured in certain manner to Christ. We become another Christ. Many of us are ignorant of our status as children of the kingdom. This is counter productive in their effort to be holy. Our identity conditions our attitudes.
5. When I was appointed the Deputy Secretary General of Reunion of the Episcopal Conferences of West I was already the Deputy Secretary General of Regional Union of West African priests. The first thing I did with the new appointment was to resign as the secretary of the priests. I became conscious of my new position and knew that belonging to a certain group makes one to withdraw from other groups not out of pride but out of hierarchy of truth. This is exactly what happens when we become conscious of our status as children of the kingdom. To maintain our status we must consciously withdraw from some groups, some behaviours that were formerly acceptable. As a children of the kingdom we must adopt kingdom attitudes otherwise we bring shame on our status. The tragedy of today is that many sons and daughters of the kingdom have forgotten their identity. They are princess feeding on pig’s food. Like the prodigal son we must recall our identity and return to our father’s house. A story was told of an eaglet that was rescued by a farmer after having a fall from the mountain where it was hatched. The farmer put it with chicks and it grew with them. It lost its identity and never knew that it can fly. One day it saw an eagle flying above it and began to desire to fly. It attempted flying without success. But the desire was strong so strong that it kept trying to fly until one day when a cat attacked the chicks. In a bid to save itself it flew and flew and flew. It was an amazing experience. From that day it left the farm to regain the mountains.
6. You are a child of the kingdom. You belong to Christ the King through your baptism. You have all that it takes to be holy. You are like an eaglet. You can fly. Why are you in poultry when your rightfully place is in mountain? Why are you negotiating with sin when you are already configured to smash any sin in your life. Make for the mountains for your king is the Lord of Lords and you are royal citizen. Allow Christ to be the king of your life.