What words or scripture passages come to mind when you think of “Christ the King”? Although we officially celebrated this feast last week, tomorrow’s reading from the Gospel of Matthew (Matt 15:29-32) captures the essential message of Christ’s kingship as described below in a reflection by Sr. Marilyn Carpenter:
After WWI, in 1925, with the rise of communism and fascism, Pope Pius XI declared this feast of Christ the King to counteract the power concepts of the political systems of the day. He invited “his flock” to honor no King but Jesus Himself. His mantra was: Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Christ will reign forever. Granted, this feast was set in overtones of Political misrepresentations (ah, fits today I’d say). After the Vat II council, the feast was moved to the last Sunday of the Church Year, following the Sunday readings of the end times, and given a focus of hope for what is yet to come in the reign of God. So now we celebrate this Jesus who became The Christ in resurrection, the one who draws us unto the end times of Hope and Justice and Peace. We are drawn to the Jesus who said: I came to bring Truth, not destruction, and my kin(g)dom and my words will last for all time.
The people of Jesus’ time had hoped he would be the Messiah—the one who would conquer their enemies. My suspect is that we, too, in our time hope for the same. Yet, this king is not like any king you and I are thinking of. This is the King of Paradox: the king who stands among the poor and the marginalized, the king whose power is in humility, the king whose reign is in the washing of feet, the king who is depicted by Fritz Eichenberg in his Christ of the Breadline…the lines of the poor, the unemployed and the marginalized…the king of those who are not invited to the table. (See image below)
This is a picture I took At King’s College in London, Ontario of the 6’ x 18’ mural at the entrance of their chapel. You say I am a King. I say I am the one who is, who was, and who is to come— the Alpha and the Omega. This is our King –The Christ whose reign of truth will never be destroyed. Yes, Jesus is a king like no other. This king is one Who triumphed through humility, whose power was wrought through seeming weakness and failure, whose victory was won through seeming defeat—death on a cross, and whose kingly Glory was earned through servanthood to the poor and marginalized of the society.
We Sisters pray in our Liturgy of the Hours on the feast of Christ the King: Mine is a kin(g)dom of truth and life, a kin(g)dom of holiness and grace, a kin(g)dom of justice, love and peace. We, and all of us, are invited and challenged to walk with our Servant King….the King of Paradoxes….this King like no other….this King who chose to empty himself in humility and who invites us to do the same. May we be up to the challenges of following Christ Our King!