Sunday, 20 November 2016

... of the Kingdom; not of a king

For n number of times I've witnessed Priests struggle to give a sermon on the feast of Christ the King.  In the process of justifying or exalting the 'kingship' of Christ in a modern world, they end up offering some pious thoughts which neither moves nor convinces anyone in the congregation, least of all the Priest himself (one might ask, which sermon ever does that!). Even in UK, which has the monarchic tradition, there seems to be the same difficulty. Strange!

However, it struck me during the Mass today that we are really missing the point.  My basic premise is that Jesus never claimed to be a King! He always preached about the Kingdom but never claimed to be the king of it.  And 'his' Kingdom was one where everyone had an equal place.  The need for a 'king' figure is that of us mortals.  The first reading clearly tells us that it was the people who anointed David king.  Biblical history tells us, Yahweh did not appoint the king, it was the people who was adamant to have one.

The gospel too affirms the focus on the Kingdom when Jesus' last words to the thief states: "You shall be in paradise with me."  He never said, "You shall be in my paradise." Jesus never exalted and made himself King, rather made himself as one among (with) all.  A sensible understanding of the second reading reiterates this fact. Jesus always preached the Kingdom, but not himself as the king.  This feast really calls our attention to the Kingdom.

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