|The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus
Christ the King
Psalms 93:1, 1-2, 5
With the rise of democracy as the government of choice and an increasing hunger for participatory government throughout the world, royalty in most places has become more of a tradition than a way of ruling. We want our voices heard either from the voting booth or the anarchy in the streets. We desire to be informed and consulted on anything, which touches our lives even indirectly.
Here on the last Sunday of the liturgical year we pray with three images of Christ as king. Paying homage, bowing and scraping, even adoring are not practices we readily perform. We have our picture of king turned upside down with the scriptures of today’s liturgy.
Daniel has a vision of the Son of Man being presented to the “Ancient One,” and who receives a timeless dominion, power and kingship. This sounds like royalty from of old, but the next two readings spoil that picture.
The Second Reading from Revelations interprets what that power and kingship mean. Dominion is not domination, but making a home among us, not above or beyond us. As King, Jesus, “Who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, Who has made us into a kingdom, priests for His God and Father,” is among us as servant and “not to be served.”
Here is the reversal. In times past, those loyal to the king would lay down their lives in battle and service to their lord. The royalty of Jesus is that He laid down His life for the loyal and disloyal. Instead of the kingdom being something we had to gain by our deeds of valor and daring, this King has made each of us a member of the Kingdom which is within us by His daring love. “Every eye shall see Him, even those who pierced Him.” This kingdom embraces the first to the last, because He is from the beginning, the first and His lordship is with us and not over us to the end, because He is the last.
The King is not in His court as we hear the Gospel today. We listen in to the famous interview between Pilate and Jesus. Pilate wants to know Who Jesus thinks He is. Jesus does not ask what does Pilate mean by “is,” but simply says that He is a King, but not of this world. The interviewer does not have any more important questions after that response from Jesus. The Savior speaks the truth, which is leading Him to be Victim. “For this was I born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.” He is staying faithful to His talking the talk and so He walks the walk of testifying to the truth of Who He knows Himself to be, loving God, kingly servant.
In this kingdom, with this King, we are not consulted about our being included or made priest for His God. The King did not ask Peter if he wished to have his feet washed, but this King reverences those who pierced Him and those who want their voices heard. Jesus as King heard all kinds of voices from those who cried out in pain and exclusion to those who jeered for His death. His power is His gentleness and His palace is the place where dwell those who have dusty feet and hurting hearts. Democracy? No not that but rather, “Christocracy” where rather than being consulted we are confirmed. Rather than having our voice heard, our deepest longings are embraced and more than heard.
This feast in the Church insults our independence, our autocratic determinism and own private kingdoms. We generally don’t do kings well, if at all, but there is always this new King in town asking, “and what do you want me to do for you?”
“The Lord will reign for ever and will give his people the gift of peace.”
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