Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
The last Sunday of the Church’s Liturgical Year is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. In the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest, and we, give thanks to the Father for His “Only Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ” whom the Father anointed “as eternal priest and King of all creation,” – ALL creation: angels, humanity, animals, plants, galaxies. The prayer continues, “So that, by offering Himself on the altar of the Cross as a spotless sacrifice to bring us peace, He might accomplish the mysteries of human redemption and, making all created things subject to His rule,” – note, ALL creation subject to Christ’s rule. Continuing: “He might present to the immensity of [the Father’s] majesty an eternal and universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.” Wow!
Bl. John Duns Scotus (c. 1265-c. 1308), a Franciscan theologian, taught on the primacy of Christ as the end and goal of all creation. This is based on St. Paul’s teaching that God willed and saw and “chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). That is, God’s plan and purpose was intended and willed by God before anything was created, before even time existed. St. Paul says that Christ is “the head of his body, the Church; He, who is the beginning, the firstborn of the dead, that in all thing He may have first place” or be pre-eminent (Col. 1:18). Christ is pre-eminent to all other created reality.
Fr. Maximilian Mary Dean, FI, in his book, A Primer on the Absolute Primacy of Christ, says that Bl. Scotus’ teaching is that “Jesus Christ was absolutely predestined to grace and glory ... and the elect (both men and angels) were chosen and predestined in Him by an eternal decree before the universe had been created (cf., Eph. 1:3-6).” Fr. Dean gives the example of an artist who wants to carve a statute of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The artist first forms the intention to carve the statute, having an image, a purpose in his mind first. Only secondly are activities such as obtaining the wood and carving it performed in time. Scotus says this is the orderly thought processes of rational persons, including God. God’s eternal thought and intention from His eternity, “before the foundation of the world” as St. Paul says, was the union of God the Son to created human flesh and soul. After the creation of time and the universe, then did God’s plan begin to be implemented and unfold over time. Thus St. Paul says that Christ came in the “fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4) because at the time, the coming of God the Son made it the “fullness” of all time.
So Bl. Scotus teaches that the Incarnation is the greatest work of God. No other created nature is united to God in the oneness of Person; all the fullness of God is in Christ (Col. 1:19). Thus, Jesus Christ has absolute primacy, is most perfectly glorified by God, and glorifies God. It is God’s intention and plan for intellectual beings – humanity and angels (Eph 1:10; Heb. 5:9; Col. 1:16) – to be subject to the Lordship and Kingship of Christ. And – amazing thought! – those of humanity who are in Christ, because of being one flesh with Him, are to share in His glory, His oneness with the Father (Jn. 17:22; Eph.4:13; Ro. 8:29).
On this most holy Solemnity we worship Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe!
Dibby Allan Green