The Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Chrisdt the King

In the the second half of the last century, Catholics took a deep look at their faith and at the meaning of being Christian Catholics. The Church was suffering from those who emphasized the Divinity of Christ to such a degree that His Presence was seen as too great for the ordinary person to tolerate. This was really a heresy. It removed the possibility for a person to have a personal relationship with the Lord. That is not in keeping with Scripture, where Jesus calls his disciples and us his friends[1].

When the Church looked at this during the second half of the last century, it realized the importance of people recognizing their personal relationship with the Lord. We were told, rightly so, that Jesus is a loving caring God and friend. And this is great. We should have an active and open communication with the Lord. We should have and active and open prayer life.

But this way of thinking can also be taken to an extreme. Jesus is not just our friend. He is also our King. There is a difference, you know, a huge difference.

When we hear the word "king" we often think of the splendor of Versailles of Louis XIV of France, or the Russian court of Catherine the Great, or even the modern British court of Elizabeth II. The thought of these monarchs invokes scenes of lavish banquets, with plates of gold and silver flasks.

Well, this is certainly not the type of king presented in today's readings. In the first reading Jesus is compared with David[2].

In the second reading, from the Letter of Paul to the Colossians, Jesus' kingship is presented in mystic terminology. He is the image of the invisible God through whom all things, visible and invisible were created. All are subject to him. He is the head of the Church. All spiritual powers and temporal powers were created through him and for him. Most important he is the reconciler of everything on heaven and on earth. He is the redeemer, He is the forgiver of sins.

On the cross, Jesus was proclaimed to be a King by one of the criminals who was dying with him. So He is our King. His Kingdom is, as today’s Preface tells us, is a Kingdom of truth and life, a Kingdom of holiness and grace, a Kingdom of justice, love and peace.

We have give the keys of our lives to our King. We have now been called to imitate him at his most regal moment: reigning on the Cross sacrificing himself for others, reconciling, forgiving. We are called to realize with our lives the Kingdom of truth and life, holiness, grace, justice, love and peace.

We are called to be members of a Kingdom of Truth. Jesus told Pilate that he came to give testimony to the truth, and Pilate sarcastically asked, What is truth?. Jesus Christ said that there is truth. He is the King of truth. So what is this Truth? What is the basic truth of the world? What is the fundamental truth that Jesus proclaimed? The Truth of Jesus Christ is that his Kingdom is worth infinitely more than all the riches of the world. The truth of Jesus Christ is that living for personal gratification is taking a dive into an empty pool.

The Church year is over. Like the conclusion of a good book, the final chapter sums up the essence of the book. The Solemnity of Christ the King sums up the Church year by proclaiming: Jesus is the central mystery of our faith. He lived, he died, he rose, and he will come again. He went about preaching about the Kingdom of God and encouraging us to change our lives so we can become members of this Kingdom. He told us to avoid the materialism of the world. He called us friends, and brothers and sisters. He called us his own. He told us to keep his presence alive in the world by bringing his compassion to others. He allowed us to be called Christians.

May we have the courage to be faithful members of our Friend’s Kingdom.

[1] Sunday 25th November, 2007, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King. St Catherine of Alexandria. Readings: 2 Samuel 5:1-3. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord-Ps 121(122):1-5. Colossians 1:12-20. Luke 23:35-43
[2] In fact Jesus was often called the Son of David. David was one of the people. He was a shepherd who was given the kingdom due to his ability to fight the enemies of his people. As King, Jesus is one of the chosen people, picked out like David to shepherd and lead the people. He was the one who, like David, was able to defeat the enemies of Israel, the forces of evil. Like David, Jesus was anointed to serve the People of God

Illustration: Hieronymus Bosch, Christ Mocked (Crowning with Thorns), 1495-1500Oil on wood, 73 x 59 cm, National Gallery, London.
Bosch painted a group of half-length Passion scenes. The earliest example most probably is the Christ Crowned with Thorns in London. The large, firmly modelled figures are composed against the plain, grey-blue background with the utmost simplicity, the white-robed Christ surrounded by his four tormentors. One soldier holds a crown of thorns above his head, another tugs at his robe, and a third touches his hand with a mocking gesture. Their actions, however, seem curiously ineffectual and Christ ignores his persecutors to look calmly, even gently, at the spectator. The half-length format and the tendency to crowd the figures against the picture plane with little indication of space, are characteristics which reflect a Flemish devotional type popularized by Hugo van der Goes and Hans Memling. Like its Flemish models, the London Christ Crowned with Thorns presents the sacred scene not in its historical actuality but in its timeless aspect.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

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