The very concept of Christ the King might seem rather triumphalistic in an age of expanding democratization of society. But look carefully at this king as portrayed in today’s parable: he was hungry and thirsty and naked and ill and in prison.
Who are his loyal subjects? They are those who give food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty, who welcome strangers and clothe the naked, who comfort the ill and visit prisoners. What a king and what a kingdom!
The goal of this king is not to oppress his subjects with his power but rather to “break the power of evil”: In this kingdom the evils of economic, medical, and criminal injustice are confronted and overcome by subjects who not only respect the “King of creation” but also “glory in his justice and live in his love.”
The kingdom that we celebrate today is “a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love, and peace.” Those who respect truth and life, who live in holiness and grace, and who work to bring justice, love and peace, will “inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the creation of the world.”
After we have obeyed the Lord, and in his Spirit nurtured on earth the values of human dignity, brotherhood and freedom, and indeed all the good fruits of our nature and enterprise, we will find them again, but freed of stain, burnished and transfigured, when Christ hands over to the father: ‘a kingdom eternal and universal, a kingdom of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love, and peace.’
On this earth that Kingdom is already present in mystery. When the Lord returns it will be brought into full flower.
Vatican II, Constitution on the Church
in the Modern World, 1965: 39