King unlike all other kings undoubtedly
Jesus is King! How do we react to this proclamation?
As an assembly, the elders of the people, the chief priests and the scribes bring Jesus before Pilate. After hearing the charges, the Roman prefect asks Jesus if he is the king of the Jews. Jesus answers him, “You say so.”
The answer seems to suggest that Jesus does not at all feel comfortable with the title of king. He considers himself the evangelizer of the poor. He also explicitly calls himself the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. In addition, he clearly introduces himself as one who serves. Yet with regards to being a king, he does not claim it for himself.
True, in the Gospel of John, Jesus leaves no room for doubt that he is king. But he is quick to add almost right away that his kingdom is not worldly. Hence, though he admits he is the messianic king in David’s line, he makes clear, nevertheless, that he is not just like any other king. He is not a potentate; he comes to us meek and riding on an ass. And here lies the key to our taking the correct stance before Christ.
Unless we break the worldly mold, we will never point him out rightly. We will end up sneering at him. We will take him for an impostor claiming to be the Son of God and the king of the Jews.
On the other hand, if we go beyond worldly expectations, we will take the cue from angel Gabriel’s announcement. We will recognize the kingship of the one born of the Virgin Mary. In imitation of the magi from the east, we will kneel in worship before him. Moreover, as trusting as the believing criminal, we will plead with Jesus to welcome us someday to his kingdom.
And we cannot assure better our being welcomed than by following Jesus to the end in serving the poor (SV.EN III:384).
The Son of Man, with all the nations before him, either welcomes us or rejects us. His decision depends on how we treat the least of his brothers and sisters. He takes it personally when we help or not help the poor.
And he will make them share in his inheritance, those whose faith is so great they see his royalty on the cross. Those who feed the hungry, discerning the real and royal presence of Jesus in the poor, will likewise take part in the heavenly banquet.
Lord Jesus, give us eyes and a heart directed to the poor. May we contemplate your kingship in them, do you homage in them, and one day be united with you and them in your kingdom.
20 Novembwr 2016
34th Sunday O.T. – Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (C)
2 Sam 5, 1-3; Col 1, 12-20; Lk 23, 35-43