The king who saves others
20 November 2022 Christ the King Year C
Listen to Reflection
We often associate the word ‘king’ with power and majesty. Also, a king’s position is often not dependent on his personal abilities, virtues or goodness, but on family lineage: power and status through inheritance. But Jesus never displayed that kind of power or majesty; after all, he was born in a stable!
Jesus, the King of the Universe, doesn’t reign from a golden throne. He does not wear a crown adorned with jewels or wear glittering royal robes. No, he hangs from a wooden cross (an instrument of brutality, pain and death for the ‘lowest of the low’); he wears a crown of thorns; and his body is covered with the marks of his passion and torture. This is our King. This is the king we follow. With outstretched arms he invites us to embrace him and, in embracing him, to embrace all creation by living as merciful and self-giving people.
The cross is how God’s kingdom is established and where our life as committed disciples begins – allowing ourselves to be formed by the cross of self-giving. Jesus demonstrates his kingship not by saving himself but by saving others. Jesus demonstrates his kingship not by power and domination over others, but by a loving and hope-filled assurance that the fullness of the kingdom (paradise) awaits his faithful disciples. The promise we have is that our lives will end like the Good Thief’s, hearing Jesus say to us, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Jesus was crucified because he chose not to run away, not to revoke his message of love, justice and peace, not to dilute his determined resolve, not to lose hope or to surrender his dream. Rather, he placed his hope and trust in God to make all things new. His integrity and determination in the face of unthinkable and unbearable suffering reveal his utter self-giving and his profound commitment to God’s kingdom.
So often the world tries to seduce us into choosing to be ruled by other powers: greed, violence, indifference, manipulation, domination, intolerance, prejudice and exclusion. So much of Jesus’ reign is still incomplete or disjointed in our world. Today’s headlines will confirm that! Being members of God’s kingdom, under Jesus’ kingship, can at times be very discouraging.
Therefore, accepting Jesus’ kingship needs to be renewed each day by the deliberate choices we make. By the way we live, by our words and deeds, we’re challenged to make real the kingdom that Jesus dreamt of, hoped for, and poured out his life to bring about – “a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.” (Preface)
May Jesus’ kingship inspire us to let go of whatever is contrary to the Kingdom of God and to give ourselves generously in love and service of others.
David J Hore CSsR
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