Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, B Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. The Sunday Connection provides useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.


The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King (Thirty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time), Cycle B

Sunday, November 25, 2018


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Daniel 7:13-14
Daniel prophesies about the coming of the Son of Man.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 93:1,1-2,5
A prayer of praise to God our king

Second Reading
Revelation 1:5-8
Jesus is the firstborn of the dead and the ruler of all.

Gospel Reading
John 18:33b-37
Jesus is questioned by Pilate about the charge brought against him that he is “King of the Jews.”

Background on the Gospel Reading

This Sunday is the last Sunday of the Church's liturgical year. On this Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. Each year we set aside this Sunday to reflect upon this title that we have given to Jesus. In Lectionary Cycle C, we read a portion of the passion from the Gospel of John, which is also part of the Gospel reading proclaimed each year on Good Friday.

In John's Gospel, Pilate is shown in a more favorable light than in the other Gospels. In today's reading, we hear one of two dialogues between Jesus and Pilate that are reported in John's Gospel. Pilate questions Jesus about the charges brought against him. Caiaphas and the high priests have charged Jesus with a political crime, one that would require a punishment of death. Pilate distances himself from the Jewish leaders who accuse Jesus; he is not a Jew, and he seems to want little to do with this Jewish affair.

In his responses to Pilate's questions, Jesus distinguishes his kingdom from the political powers of this world. King and kingdom may be appropriate terms for Jesus' mission and promise, but only by analogy. Jesus is king, but not the kind of king we imagine or expect. He was certainly not the kind of king Pilate feared he might be.

Jesus refers to a kingdom that does not belong to this world. This has been mentioned earlier in John's Gospel. Recall that in his prayer during the Last Supper discourse (see John 17:6-18), Jesus prayed for his disciples who are in the world but do not belong to the world. Yet like Jesus, they are sent into the world for the world's salvation. In today's reading, we see Jesus identify the final proof that his kingdom is not of this world: If his kingdom were of this world, then there would be people fighting to save him. Again we hear echoes of John's theme—salvation is worked out through a cosmic battle. It is helpful to return to the first chapter of John's Gospel to understand the context for Jesus' words to Pilate. Jesus came into the world, but the world did not know him. In John's language, the world prefers the darkness, and yet the light will not be overcome by the darkness.

Truth has been another important theme in John's Gospel. We see it emphasized in the conclusion of the dialogue between Jesus and Pilate. Those who know the truth will recognize Jesus as king and will know how to interpret this insight. Yet Jesus' kingship was hidden from many of his contemporaries. Only those chosen, those who have the eyes of faith, are able to see. As modern disciples of Jesus, we also struggle at times to recognize Jesus as king. Today's Gospel invites us to see with eyes of faith that we might recognize that Jesus, through his crucifixion and death, is indeed king and Savior of all.


Gospel Reading
John 18:33b-37
Jesus is questioned by Pilate about the charge brought against him that he is “King of the Jews.”


Making the Connection (Grades 1, 2, and 3)

Young children know that they must obey the adults in charge. Such obedience is far easier, however, when they know that doing so will help bring them happiness. We can help them understand that we obey Jesus as our king because doing so brings us true happiness.

Materials Needed

  • Four sheets of colored construction paper (blue, red, green, purple)
  • A numbered slip of paper for each child, with the number 1, 2, 3, or 4 written on it

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Before your session, place one of the sheets of colored construction paper in each corner of the room. The sheets should be blue, red, green, and purple. Post the sheets where all the children can see them. Give each child a slip of paper with the number 1, 2, 3 or 4 written on it.

  2. Say: If you have number 1, go to the blue corner and wring your hands; if you have number 2, go to the red corner, make a fist with one hand and point with the other, and then rub the fist against your finger; if you have number 3, go to the green corner, make a fist and make a sawing motion with it; if you have number 4, go to the purple corner and jump up and down. Tell the children to continue their actions until you tell them to stop. After all have obeyed your directions, say stop. Ask them why they obeyed.

  3. Say: Suppose I told you that today in class we will be making soup to share with a needy family and that if you go to the blue corner, you may wash your hands. In the red corner you may peel the vegetables; in the green corner you may slice them; and in the purple corner you may put them in a pot to boil. Pause after you say each instruction and have the children in that corner demonstrate the action. Do you think you would understand better what to do? If you knew that someone who was hungry was going to share the soup we are making, would obeying my instructions make you happy? (Yes.)

  4. Say: In the Gospel this week, Jesus says that he is not an earthly king whose followers must obey him. Instead, he is a heavenly king who shows us how to live. We don't obey Jesus because we have to, but because we want to. We obey Jesus because we know that doing so will help us be happy.

  5. Read today's Gospel, John 18:33b-37.

  6. Say: The only kind of king Pilate could imagine was the kind of king who forces people to obey him. Jesus told Pilate he was a different kind of king and that everyone in his kingdom would be happy.

  7. Conclude in prayer together that we will always believe that Jesus is king and that we will follow him in all we say and do. Pray together the Lord's Prayer.


Gospel Reading
John 18:33b-37
Jesus is questioned by Pilate about the charge brought against him that he is “King of the Jews.”


Making the Connection (Grades 4, 5, and 6)

Older children might still remember their pretend play as royalty. We can use this experience to help them better understand that we honor Jesus as a different kind of king.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask: When you were younger, did you ever pretend to be a prince or princess, a king or queen? What did you do? (dressed up in special clothes, told other people what to do, protected your kingdom from enemies) Why do people pretend to be royalty? (because it makes us feel special, because it is fun)

  2. Say: Today is the feast of Christ the King. Was Jesus a king in the way that you imagined when you pretended to be a king or queen? (No.) Jesus was and is a very different kind of king. But we can use what we imagined about earthly kings and queens to understand what we mean when we call Jesus our King.

  3. Invite one or more volunteers to read today's Gospel, John 18:33b-37.

  4. Ask: Why does Pilate think that Jesus might be a king? (That is the accusation made against Jesus by the Jewish authorities.) Does Pilate treat Jesus as if he believes he is royalty? (No.) What does Jesus say about his kingdom? (It does not belong to this world; those who know the truth will recognize Jesus as a king.)

  5. Say: We believe that Jesus is our king, but his kingdom is heaven. He is a heavenly king who shows us how to live. All who believe in him want to obey him because they know he teaches us how to be truly happy.

  6. Ask: How is Jesus like the royalty we pretended to be? (He is powerful; he protects us from enemies; he can help us when we are in need; he wants us to obey him.) How is Jesus different from the royalty we pretended to be? (He served others rather than making others serve him.) How do we show that we honor Jesus as king? (We ask Jesus to help us, as subjects ask for help from a king; we obey Jesus; we thank him for the protection and love he shows us; we don't let anything or anyone have more importance in our lives than Jesus.)

  7. Conclude in prayer together that we will always believe that Jesus is king and that we will follow him in all we say and do. Pray together the Lord's Prayer.


Gospel Reading
John 18:33b-37
Jesus is questioned by Pilate about the charge brought against him that he is “King of the Jews.”


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Even though most young people do not have personal experience with royalty, they are familiar with the characteristics associated with royalty. We can use this knowledge to help them better understand that we honor Jesus as a different kind of king.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Say: Today is the feast of Christ the King. While we do not have a king or queen who rules in our country, we are familiar with the idea of royalty. We can use these impressions to help us understand better what we mean when we call Jesus our king. First, let's talk about what makes a person royalty.

  2. Ask: How does someone get to be called royalty? (often by birth or by marriage) What are some characteristics we associate with royalty? (They are powerful and influential; they give directions that must be obeyed; they are given special honor and status; they protect their people.)

  3. Ask: Was Jesus a king in the way we understand royalty today? (No.) Jesus was and is a very different kind of king. In today's Gospel, Jesus tells us something about his kingdom. Let's listen to this Gospel and then compare what we learn about Jesus as king with what we know about royalty.

  4. Invite one or more volunteers to read today's Gospel, John 18:33b-37.

  5. Ask: Why does Pilate think that Jesus might be a king? (That is the accusation made against Jesus by the Jewish authorities.) Does Pilate treat Jesus as if he believes he is royalty? (No.) What does Jesus say about his kingdom? (It does not belong to this world; those who know the truth will recognize Jesus as king.)

  6. Ask: What characteristics does Jesus share with our impressions about royalty? (He is powerful; he protects us from enemies; he can help us when we are in need; he wants us to obey him.) How is Jesus different from our impressions about royalty? (Accept all reasonable answers.) How do we show that we honor Jesus as king? (We ask Jesus to help us, as subjects ask for help from a king; we obey Jesus; we thank him for the protection and love that he shows us; we don't let anything or anyone have more importance in our lives than Jesus.)

  7. Conclude in prayer together that we will always honor Jesus as king and that we will follow him in all we say and do. Pray together the Lord's Prayer.


Gospel Reading
John 18:33b-37
Jesus is questioned by Pilate about the charge brought against him that he is “King of the Jews.”


Family Connection

Understanding today's feast of Christ the King may be particularly challenging. While most of us do not have direct experience with kings or royalty, we have a sense of who they are. We know that royalty have sovereignty over their kingdoms. We know that those who are subjects to royalty offer them allegiance and honor. To understand how Christ is our king, we extend and magnify what we know to be true of the best of human royalty. Christ's kingship extends to all places, all people, and all times. Christ manifests his kingship through his death on the cross in which he offered salvation to everyone. Those who can see with eyes of faith recognize Jesus to be our heavenly king.

As you gather as a family, recall that this Sunday is the last Sunday in the Church year and on this Sunday we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. Talk together about what it means to be a king or queen. How do those who are subjects behave toward royalty? Invite children to role-play what one does in the presence of royalty. Read today's Gospel, John 18:33b-37. Ask your family to discuss these questions: Does Pilate treat Jesus like royalty? (No.) What does Jesus say about his kingdom? (It is not of this world.) Talk about how your family shows honor and obedience to Christ our King. Pray together the Lord's Prayer and ask God to help your family act in ways that show you recognize and honor Christ as King.