Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Crown made of Thorns

Christ the King – Year C

What is the image that we generally have of a king? Powerful. Majestic. Sitting on a Throne. The king is one who is to be feared. The king cannot be approached by just any person.

In today’s gospel, we have a totally different image of the King of Kings, the Lord of the Universe, Jesus Christ. Instead of a majestic throne, he is placed on the cross. Instead of a crown made of precious jewels, he is wearing a crown made of thorns. Instead of rich and splendid clothing, he presents himself naked for all the world to see. Instead of a powerful figure, he demonstrates what it means to be truly humble, weak and vulnerable. Unlike kings who keep their distance from the common people, Jesus invites us to stand by his cross. But are we ready? To stand by his cross means that we must share in his cross. But if we share in his death, we will also share in his glory. This is the promise of Jesus made to the repentant thief, a promise that is made to each of us who are willing to accept him as king.

To accept Jesus as king would mean that we must also accept his cross, the symbol of his kingship. If we want to be great, then we must become the least. If we want to be first, then we must be last. If we want to have eternal life, then we must be prepared to die. If we want treasures to be laid for us in heaven, we must be prepared to give up everything here on earth. Christ has gone ahead of us and done all this. This must be one of the reasons why the Church has chosen the last Sunday of the Church year to celebrate this feast – Christ the King. As King, Christ makes himself the least of all – thus, the last Sunday of the year.

It is easy to say that Jesus Christ is our king, but are we prepared to do all that is necessary to allow him to rule our lives? In order that the kingdom of God is established in our hearts, we must die to our selfishness and pride each day. Making Jesus our king is a long process. Jesus doesn’t force himself on us. Force and power are ways of the world. Jesus wins over his subjects through love, compassion and forgiveness.

We do not become his slaves when we make Jesus our king. In fact, we are set free by God as St. Paul reminds us in the second reading: “He has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that he loves, and in him, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.

Let us all acclaim Jesus as our king! But more importantly, let us allow him to take control of our lives so that we may be set free from our sinfulness and our pride. Through baptism, we share in the kingship of Jesus. May we give witness to this through our love, our self-giving and our readiness to die to our self-centeredness.

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