Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, which, among other things, signals for us that the liturgical year is coming to an end and Advent is almost here. We hear in our first reading the prophesy of Daniel, who saw “one like a Son of man coming” and saw this son of man receive “dominion, glory, and kingship.”
Calling Jesus a king is part of what made some people nervous during his lifetime; it certainly made Pilate nervous. (In today’s Gospel we listen to Pilate question Jesus about being King of the Jews.) Misunderstanding the nature of Christ’s kingship, people like Pilate and Herod saw His being king as a threat to their own power. Misunderstanding the nature of Christ’s kingship, others thought it meant a relationship of subjugation.
But Christ’s kingship is not political. As Pope Benedict explains, Jesus is a new kind of king. “This king does not break the people with an iron rod (cf. Ps 2:9) – he rules form the Cross, and does so in an entirely new way. Universality is achieved through the humility of communion in faith; this king rules by faith and love, and in no other way.”
Thus, today’s feast, in Pope Benedict’s words, “is not a feast of those who are subjugated, but a feast of those who know that they are in the hands of the one who writes straight on crooked lines.”
Happy feast of Christ the King!
I think even today some are made nervous by calling Jesus, King. Like Pilate and Herod, there is fear that His kingship threatens their “personl power”. By embracing Christ’s kingship, they are called to a relationship of subjugation. This call can be terrifying to those who prefer to “do their own thing”. Answering that call will change them. And there is always fear in change. The key is reading the crooked lines made straight. For it is in them that the beautiful manuscrupt of unending love, mercy and grace unfolds. This is where the real power is. The true kingship. And there where all will happily and freely proclaim Christ’s “dominion, glory and kingship”.
Thanks Susan, Mary…
I found it very difficult to wrap my mind around the theme of Jesus as a “king”… an association to royalty. Steeped in the tradition of Liberation Teology, I find it rather antithetical… the print of “Jesus in the Breadline” is the image that is embedded in my mind.
…lots to chew on..