Roman execution by crucifixion was absolutely and grotesquely brutal. The executioners clearly wanted to make a public display of humiliation and torture for those convicted of various crimes. The hope was not only to punish the offenders, but to deter those who might consider certain criminal behaviors. To that end, next to those being crucified was displayed the charges for which the condemned had been convicted, and recall that for Jesus, Pilate had the tablet inscribed, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” (JN 19:19)
According to the Roman Procurator, Jesus was executed because he was a “king.” The crucifixion, perhaps the most well-known event of salvation history, established Jesus as King. Catholics and many Protestant communities celebrate today as the Feast Day of Christ the King. It is the day in which we recognize his supremacy over us and all of creation. It is the opportunity to celebrate as a community, that absolute and total dominion of God.
In the letter establishing this Holy Feast, we read, “If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth,” then Jesus should reign as King of our mind, our will, our heart, and our body. (cf., Quas primas, #33) We say that we are followers of Christ, that we believe in Jesus, but do we really submit to the one who was ruthlessly betrayed, viciously tortured, and horrifically executed for being our King? Hail, to our King!
Jesus, my Lord and my King, make me a faithful and obedient subject in mind, body, will, and heart. Help me to realize your dominion and supremacy over me and all of creation, and make me loyal in my service to you through my love of neighbor. Amen.