November 25th, the last Sunday of the liturgical year, is “Christ the King” Sunday. The readings are: Daniel 7: 13-14, Revelation 1: 5-8, and John 18: 33b-37.
Daniel reminds us that our Jewish ancestors were to be different than their neighbors; they were not to have a king like others had, but their king was God alone. Daniel had a vision of a world at peace, where “all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.” And the “him” was God alone.
In Revelation, John sees Jesus as the “first born of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.” And this King Jesus didn’t live in the clouds but was flesh and blood like us and shed his blood for us. And now He has made us into “a kingdom, priests for His God and Father.”
As Jesus was being sentenced to his death, he spoke to Pontius Pilate about his kingship. It was not a kingship of this world. He came into this world as a king. And his kingship was to tell the truth, not to lord it over anyone. He was a good king. He was a king who lived in poverty, was stripped and beaten, humiliated and killed.
Father Ron Rolheiser, a theologian and prolific author has this to say about Jesus, the good king:
“A good king is someone who is strong enough to be weak; who, like God’s presence in the world, can let vulnerability, silence, and helplessness be the ultimate instruments in ordering, carrying, feeding, and blessing others.
“A good king is someone who has a heart big enough to accept pettiness, who cares enough to accept humiliation, and who is faithful enough to do what’s right even when it’s misunderstood.
“A good king is someone who is tall enough to let himself be small, secure enough to disappear in anonymity, and mature enough to not be put off by immaturity.
“A good king is someone who is selfless enough to absorb selfishness, loving enough to be gracious towards what’s bitter, and forgiving enough to bless what’s killing him.
“A good king is someone who makes those around him feel safe, who carries others rather than asking them to carry him, who feeds others rather than feeds off of them, and who affirms others rather than asking them to affirm him.”
And those of us who have been baptized into Christ are challenged to be as loving and kind, generous and forgiving as King Jesus. Come Lord Jesus, Come!
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