A Different Kind of King

Photography © by Andy Coan

From the dawn of civilization, kings have arisen who have dreamed of possessing a world-wide dominion, a universal kingdom that would last forever. Some have come close to conquering much of the known world – Alexander, Genghis Khan, Augustus Caesar, and Adolf Hitler, to name a few. And some kingdoms have lasted a very long time, such as Rome whose Eastern half lingered on for 2000 years.

But despite all their machinations, pretensions, and self-glorifying monuments, the great rulers of the earth all proved mortal like anybody else. They had their day in the sun only to disappear.  Their kingdoms, too, ultimately passed away, leaving abundant ruins for generations of tourists and archeologists to explore.

There is another thing that these great ones of the earth had in common – they jealously guarded their glory, sharing it with no one. Their ascent to the pinnacle of power was made over the backs of others, and they did not hesitate to eliminate any and all rivals.

This Sunday’s feast celebrates the fact that there is one who is remarkably different. He came to serve all, even his enemies. He truly was a Son of Man, with a vulnerable human nature. But he was also truly Son of God. Not in some mythological sense, like the Pharaohs, or the wishful-thinking sense, like the Caesars, but really and truly, the Immortal, the Eternal, taking the form of a mortal man in a specific time in history.

Rather than executing his opponents, he forgave them. Rather than dominating his subjects, he exalted them. He even called them not servants, but friends, and bestowed on them a share in his own priesthood and kingship. Though he died, like other kings, it was for a different purpose than Augustus in his bed or Hitler in his bunker. He died willingly to save his people, and his death was not a result of a battle lost or a plan gone awry, but of a glorious victory planned before the world began.

He rose in glory, which can’t be said for the rest of them. And at his heavenly coronation, when he ascended to his Father, he was given what all the rest lusted for – a worldwide dominion that will not pass away.

But the world goes on oblivious, with corporate executives and statesmen still jockeying for position, exalting themselves at the expense of others. Still others crowd the cover of People magazine competing for other glories like the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

The true King, however, is biding his time. He will return and suddenly things will be seen as they truly are. His coming will sweep away ambition, vanity, and pretensions, and much of what now appears important will look very empty. No longer will oppression be allowed to stand; the innocent will finally be liberated from those who victimize them.

This dominion will truly be universal – there will be nowhere left where he is not recognized as Who He is, though in some quarters, that acknowledgment will be made with consternation and gloom.

For his coming means doom . . . judgment for those who have for so long resisted him. They will be allowed, of course, to cling to the evil that they have chosen, and hold it close to themselves for all eternity. But they may no longer afflict others with it.

This judgment, this kingdom, will have the last word. No election will overturn it in four years or four million years. There is no one stronger who can rest the dominion from his Almighty hand.

The Church instituted this feast of Christ the King during bleak days, when fascist and communist clouds were darkening the earth with their ominous shadow. The feast serves as a reminder to us that we know the end of the story and should not be fooled by the braggarts who strut and the bullies who gloat. They’ll be gone soon. And He’ll be here soon. How soon? No one knows.


Editors Note: Reflection on the Mass readings for the Solemnity of Christ the King (Year C) — Second Samuel 5:1-3; Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5; Colossians 1:12-20; Luke 23:35-43;

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio writes from Texas. For his resources on parenting and family life or information on his pilgrimages to Rome and the Holy Land, visit www.crossroadsinitiative.com or call 1.800.803.0118.


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About the Author

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio writes from Texas. For his resources on parenting and family life or information on his pilgrimages to Rome and the Holy Land, visit www.crossroadsinitiative.com or call 1.800.803.0118.

Raised in Italian/Irish neighborhood in Providence, RI, Marcellino D’Ambrosio never thought about being anything else but Catholic. But like other Catholic teens, his faith was the last place he looked for fulfillment. Following in the footsteps of his parents, both professional performers in their single years, Marcellino set his sights on stardom, playing bass guitar in several popular rock bands by the time he was 16. At that time he encountered a group of Catholics whose Christian life was an exciting adventure, an adventure worth living for. So he laid his bass guitar aside and embarked on a road that led to a Ph.D. in historical theology from the Catholic University of America. His doctoral dissertation, written under the direction of the renowned Jesuit theologian, Avery Cardinal Dulles, focused on one of the theological lights of the Second Vatican Council, Henri Cardinal de Lubac, and his recovery of biblical interpretation of the early Church fathers.

His writing has been published in the international journal Communio, Abingdon’s Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation, the Tablet, Catholic Digest, Our Sunday Visitor, and Catholic News Service’s syndicated column "Faith Alive." His popular book, Exploring the Catholic Church and video course by the same name (known as Touching Jesus through the Church in the USA) have been used in hundreds of parishes all throughout the English speaking world. The Guide to the Passion: 100 Questions about the Passion of the Christ, of which he is co-author and co-editor, may prove to be the fastest-selling Catholic book of all time with over a million copies sold in less than three months.

Dr. D’Ambrosio, the father of five and a business owner, brings to his teaching a practical, down-to-earth perspective that makes his words easy to understand and put into practice. Audio and video recordings of his popular teaching are internationally distributed. He often appears on the international Eternal Word Television Network is regularly heard on the nationally syndicated radio show "Catholic Answers Live." Dr. D'Ambrosio has been a guest on Geraldo Rivera, At Large on FoxNews Channel, the Bill O'Reilly radio show and Radio America's news program Dateline: Washington.

In 2001 Dr. D’Ambrosio left his position at the University of Dallas to develop the work of Crossroads Productions, the apostolate of Catholic renewal and evangelization that he co-founded twenty years ago, and to more directly oversee the growth of Wellness Opportunities Group a company dedicated to helping people improve the quality of their lives physically, mentally, and financially. He, his wife Susan, and their five children, reside just outside of San Antonio, TX.

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