King of the Universe

I have several sick children to take care of (no, really, I had to miss mass today because I was taking care of them), so I must be quick, BUT. I just had to show you this picture for this feast day!

You see, it’s the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, which is a fantastic feast day for soooo many different reasons. It’s at the very end of our Liturgical Season, which reminds us that in the end Jesus is King and Lord over everything. And if that doesn’t make you want to jump for joy, I don’t know what will!

And so! The readings for the day are geared to show the glory and splendor of God and His role as the King of the Universe. Just check out the first reading:

Even the psalm gets us excited about this feast day!

Then the second reading, which delves into Revelation!

And so! I just had to share this beautiful artwork of Christ robed in majesty! Take a look…

Christ Triumphing Over Death and Sin, by Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1615-16. Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
Christ Triumphing Over Death and Sin, by Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1615-16. Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France.

Isn’t it fantastic?! If it looks familiar, it’s probably because I made sure to put it in my book, The Glorious Mysteries, because it seemed appropriately glorious enough for that book. But I digress! Let’s look at some of the imagery involved…

In His right hand, Christ is holding a rod or scepter that has the cross prominently on it, as a nod to His Kingship. After all, at the time this painting was made, kings would hold rods very similar with the cross prominently emblazoned on the very top to symbolize the king’s divine right to rule. And so, when viewers of this painting would see such a scepter in Christ’s hand, they would instantly recognize it as a symbol which depicted Christ’s Kingship over all.

In His left hand, in which His hand can be seen as visibly pierced, Christ is resting on a globe which represents the world. You can see the oceans and land swirled together, even! And He seems to grip it with power, indicating His strength and presence on the Earth.

Underneath His left foot, His foot rests on a skull, indicating His glorious triumph over death, in which He destroyed death entirely. And, crushed under the weight of the skull is a snake, signalling Christ’s defeat over Satan himself. Satan is powerless against Christ! In fact, Satan is so pathetic and tiny compared to Christ that he looks to be just a tiny little thing

All around Him are angel attendants. One wraps a red robe over Christ, as a reminder of Christ’s Passion. Another one helps hold the world, reminding us that God has given us angelic assistance. And then another one holds a palm to worship Christ.

But Christ is definitely at the forefront of it all! His wounds are prominently displayed, and yet He is depicted as being powerful and kingly.

Which takes us to the next reading… the gospel reading.

A more realistic depiction of this exchange would probably be this artwork of Pilate talking with Jesus (and trust me, it’s an amazing artwork that definitely needs to be looked at). But, at the same time, consider what Jesus is saying when He talks to Pilate.

He is a King.

He is the King of Kings!

And yet, He submits Himself under Pilate — some dinky prefect of Judaea serving under Caesar a long time ago — to die for us. Despite the fact that He is King over all. Despite the fact that this image probably fails to capture the real glory of God, even though it is very glorious. Despite the fact that He has angelic attendants that would do anything for Him.

And why?

Because He loves us that much.

And He wanted to destroy death so that we may become one with God.

So, as we prepare our hearts for Advent — and thus for Christ entering into our world once more! — let us remember His glory and His love for us.

And let us always let Him be King in our lives.

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of four, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer.

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