Feast of Christ the King

Article excerpt

THIS Sunday we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. When Jesus was crucified, a wooden sign (caratola) was nailed over his head with the inscription INRI, which means in Latin "Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum."

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In English, "Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews."

Among the people of Ilocos Norte like myself, INRI means "Ilocos Norte Region I." So we have a clout up there because Jesus is our "kababayan."

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Joking aside, we ask: Is Christ really a king? When Jesus stood before Pilate, he was asked, "Are you the king of the Jews?"

Christ did not deny that he was indeed a king. But then he said, "My kingdom does not belong to this world" (Jn 18:36). Jesus' reply means he was not the kind of king Pilate imagined: A military or political ruler whose followers would fight to liberate him.

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Christ declared: "The kingdom of God is within you." Meaning, if people's hearts and attitudes are truthful, just, honest, caring, then God's kingdom is there.

But Jesus will return as king to judge us as the Sunday gospel illustrates. And the standard for judging will be how we have helped -- or not helped -- our needy fellowmen.

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"I was hungry, you gave me to eat; thirsty, you gave me to drink; sick and you visited me..." (Mt. 25:35ff). The Lord goes further by saying what we do to our "least brethren" we do for Him.

This is illustrated in the story of a Roman soldier Martin of Tours who lived in the 3rd century.

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One cold day as he was entering a city, a beggar stopped him and asked for alms. Martin had no money, and the beggar was shivering with cold.

Martin took off his cloak, cut it in two and gave half of it to the beggar.

That night, in a dream, he saw Jesus wearing half of the Roman soldier's cloak. Asked where he got it, Jesus replied, "My servant Martin gave it to me. …