Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King
November 20, 2016
It’s the least likely place to find a king: beaten, bloody, dying upon the horrific Roman instrument of crucifixion, in the midst of two common criminals. That’s the scene selected by the Church to portray Christ our King, today.
The scene sums up so much of the Gospel of Luke. At the beginning of Luke’s account, Jesus is placed in a manger: another unlikely setting for a king. In his infancy stories, Luke wants us to recall Israel’s great King David, and then tells us what true kingship is all about.
With these portraits of our King comes an understanding of the reign of God which he proclaims. That heavenly reign is populated by those who seek it in humility; by the poor and those rejected by society, by those who imitate their crucified King in love, forgiveness and reconciliation, even as he hangs on the cross.
We live in a world with a lot less royalty than in past centuries. And yet we still can be tempted by our own brand of royalty and a love for the trappings of wealth and power. The voice of our crucified King, inviting us to Paradise along with the repentant thief, cuts through all that is shallow and cannot truly satisfy. Will we hear it today?