Jesus is the King and Lord of the universe, of our personal universe and of the entire created universe, of all things seen and unseen. A king is not only a ruler/rex, but also a protector and advisor.
The Jews had long conceived of God as their special tribal God, one who would, for example, deliver them victory in battle over their enemies; the Psalms are full of such references. He is the King of Glory, before Him all the nations shall bow, and every tongue shall confess His holy name.
Jesus is a King who is so loved His people that He suffered for them. This is a direct inversion of the world order; this is revolutionary. He came not to command, but because He loved, and He calls forth our own love. He is not just a King, He is a creator, and He comes to die – and rise – that His creation should live with Him forever.
The Augustinian monk, Fr. Pius Parsch, wrote in the 1950s, “The antiphon should provoke enthusiasm for the conversion of pagans. Try to realize how ardently Christ desires that we carry the gospel to non-Catholics [and today even to Catholics poorly catechized]; to all of us, directly or indirectly, His apostolic commission is addressed. Each one of us can at least pray for the conversion of those still ignorant of Christ.”
A Rex/ruler is the source of unity. In Jesus, the unity of believers, Jew and Gentile, is known. He’s spoken of as the cornerstone: the peacemaker where St Paul said “There is neither Jew nor Greek; neither slave nor free person, there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:29). But our King / Rex is also the Source of Unity within our own hearts and minds, within our families, city and nation. We need His help so desperately in this second decade of the new millennium.
Come, Lord Jesus, be the King of our hearts!