Christ The King (Note & Bulletin)

I remember once when soldiers came into our neighbourhood in Jamaica. The week before, a group of men had burned the local police station and so the army wanted to demonstrate just "who’s in charge." They ordered all the men from one community to gather in the street and the women and children to also come out and watch. They then removed their boots and said that every man was to clean one. Since they had guns, there was no room for discussion. Obviously, in the days that followed, the local men were outraged, angry, humiliated and left feeling powerless. While this is an extreme example, it does reflect our notion of what it is to have power and authority. It can be about having others "fall into line," to ensure that all know "who’s in charge," to demand obedience, or to push another down and thereby elevate oneself at the expense of another. If we look at our world and perhaps within ourselves, we can see this notion of power and authority at work. This, however, is not the power and authority Christ presents in his kingship.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, in the Spiritual Exercises, describes Christ the King’s incarnation into our world and lives. He writes:

This is to behold and consider what they [the Holy Family] are doing; for example, journeying and toiling, in order that the Lord may be born in greatest poverty; and that after so many hardships of hunger, thirst, heat, cold, injuries, and insults, he may die on the cross! And all this for me!
Ignatius presents Christ the King in a way that has no relationship to any notion of power and authority that involves the putting down of another through humiliation, oppression or even the demand for obedience. It is he who comes poor, he who places himself in our hands, he who endures sufferings for our sakes and he who seeks us. I have often thought of why God chose to be born in poverty? When I think of myself and the struggles within my heart, such as, a fear that I will not be liked or loved, that I will not be included in the group, that I’ll fail at what I’m doing, and the list goes on, I realize one thing clearly. And that is, in all honesty, I’m a poor man. I want to soar in life but I mainly stub my toe instead. Maybe this echoes your own feelings. And if it does, we will never feel able or free to approach the Lord in any way. To do so would be too humiliating. We believe that God would see our poverty and would not be impressed. So from his love, he comes to us in the condition he in which we are. His love is so tender that he does not want us to feel insecure and fearful, therefore, we are poor so too will he be poor. Christ does not humiliate, he does not "put down," rather he places himself into our hands.

 

As we come to know and believe that he places himself directly by our side, as we come to know and believe the incomprehensibility of his love, our hearts are touched and changed forever. When we read in Matthew’s Gospel the call to serve others, we must not understand it as an ethical list. It isn’t a moral "to do list." On the contrary, it describes a life and heart, which have been touched and changes forever. We cannot share what we do not have. If we desire to serve and love, then let us see how he has served and loved us. He sought us out; he put himself into our hands; and, he comes poor because we our poor. His desire is to be at our side. His greatest desire is that we know the "crazy love" he has for each of us. And when we encounter such love, after a moment of uncertainty, we say yes and we say more. We are touched and changed forever. We know we are loved and so simply want to love back. "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these brother and sisters of mine, you did it to me.

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