The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
by Fr. Ivan Olmo

“You shall shepherd my people Israel and shall be commander of Israel.” When I hear or see the word “command”, it usually stands out for me. It captures my attention quickly and stops me dead in my tracks. I guess it is because I tend to think of a command as an order that I must bow down to and have no other choice. I command you! It is a direct order. It is not voluntary or optional, it is more of an obligation; and we do not appreciate being told what we can or cannot do. However, Jesus, our King of kings, and our Lord of lords says, “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” He is our Good Shepherd and Commander.  He graciously commands us to do one thing; the one thing we are made for and created to do – to love one another as God has loved us. In doing so, we will be following the King’s gracious orders. This Shepherd King also reminds us of the grace of being invited into his kingdom and the lowliness of how he rules; by serving, by being a slave, by being an obedient son and a faithful friend. Jesus simply asked us to do what is in our nature to do which is to love. In God’s Kingdom, love is found in service. Before we can serve the King, we must love him and before we can love him, we must know who he is and all the wonderful things he has done for us simply because he loves us. In prayer, I have heard the questions; “Why do you do what you do?” “Why do you follow Jesus?” My heart is moved.  I direct my response to the Father. “Because of love. Because in loving me, I am compelled to love others. I love others because in doing so I experience your profound love ever more deeply inside of me. It seems so simplistic, but it is that simple and beautiful.  I continue to find so much strength in your Son’s Cross.” This is the model of love we are all invited to participate in. This is our King; vulnerable, open, available, obedient – love poured out for the other. To enter the Kingdom is to know and experience this kind of love and service towards one another. This is how Christ conquered my heart. This is how he wants us to help him conquer the world – by loving one another. “This I command you, love one another.”

 

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