Christ The King – Is it a Divine Joke?

by Ben Cheng
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

2 Samuel 5:1-3

Colossians 1:12-20

Luke 23:35-43

This week we are celebrating the very last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Feast of Christ the King. What I would like to share is a divine joke. The essence of a joke is the coming together of opposites, the juxtaposition of incongruous things. So we laugh when an adult speaks like a child, or when a simple man finds himself lost amid the complexities of a sophisticated society. In the same way, the sacred joke begins with the central claim of Christianity, in which God became human! The Creator of the cosmos, who transcends any definition or concept, took to himself a nature like ours, and becoming one of us.

Yes, He is "the King of kings and Lord of lords" (1Tim 6:15). He is God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, and through Him all things were made (The Nicene Creed). "He is the icon of the invisible God" (Col 1:15). Nevertheless, how strange and what a surprising king He is! What we perceive to have power, majesty, and lord-ship has very little to do with the “Truth”. Let us go back to the Gospel this week, "The rulers sneered at him and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. They called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” ... Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us”" (Lk 23:35-39). This is the key and the clue of this juxtaposition.

What do we think kingship means? Is it power, authority, or domination? For our worldly definition, it means the capacity to save ourselves. Being king means to be able to protect ourselves. The irony is that the true king, Christ the King, is not the one who saves Himself, aggrandizes His ego, and fills Himself up. Rather, He is the one who forgets Himself out of love, who gives it away, and who empty Himself. Do we want to know what the power that makes the universe is like? Do we want to understand "the Alpha and the Omega", and the power which holds all things together? It is the power of self-emptying love. That is not what the world tells us, but rather it is an irony, an icon of our invisible God!

Therefore, do we want power in our life? Then stop trying to save ourselves, rather to save somebody else. Please stop trying to fill up our life in a self-protective way, but to reach out with love, to protects somebody else, and to perform simple acts of love. This way, we become a loyal subject of Christ the King, and then we will discover the secret of this power. Ultimately, we will get this sublime and sacred joke right – which is the drama, the beauty, and the wonder of this feast, the Feast of Christ The King.

This is an excerpt from Bishop Robert Barron’s homilies, including “Christ the Crucified King”, “Christ the King”, and “Three Aspects of Christ’s Kingship”. For more information, please visit