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The Kingship of Christ

The Kingship of Christ,10
Pallikoodasa,4th S.

(Mt.22:41-23-12)

Rev. John Powell narrates in his book “The Christian Vision “a legend about an old Irish King who wanted to adopt a son as he had no children. Two qualifications were stressed for those who would like to be adopted. The person should have a deep love for God and for his neighbor. One young man who heard of this decided to go for an interview with the King. He had no robes or expensive clothes. But he borrowed them from his friends. After weeks of traveling, he reached the entrance to the castle. But there he saw a beggar in tattered clothes asking him for his robes for protection from the cold. He gave his robe to him and took the tattered clothes of the beggar. He was ushered in the presence of the king. But there, to his surprise, he saw the beggar sitting in resplendent clothes as the King.

It is in the poor that we see the Kingship of Jesus Christ. It is when we become humble and poor that we become followers of the real King. The Kingship of Jesus Christ does not rest in power and control but in love and service.
Today we observe the Feast of the Kingship of Christ. The word King nowadays evokes images of imperialism, control, power, extravaganza and luxury. But Kingship is also a symbol of service and compassion. It is in this sense that we should look at the feast of the Kingship of Christ.

This feast was instituted by Pius Xl in 1925 through his encyclical” Quas Primas”. The encyclical was written at a time when dictatorships were emerging and consumerism and materialism began to dominate the minds of people. The Holy Father wanted to remind people where our loyalty should lie and who the Lord of the Universe is.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his listeners not to get caught in ambiguities and dubious arguments but to offer their obedience to the Messiah. Using psalm110:1, He reminds them that the Messiah was pre-existent since David calls him Lord, but also is his son as it was predicted that he would be one of David’s descendants((2 Sam.7:12) If David calls the Messiah, the Lord, then, the Messiah is the Lord of the Universe. Jesus, indirectly, asks his listeners to accept Him as the Messiah and follow His teachings.
Jesus uses the occasion to remind His listeners that there is only one authority and it is God and every one in authority has to be obedient to God for his claim to power. He then tells them that the greatest among them is the one who serves others. He reverses the order of the secular world and makes the lowliest the greatest. He tears down the false masks of the hypocritical religious teachers who do not practice what they preach. The Pharisees believe only in the shows of authority but in practice they are hypocrites, deceiving people by their non-exemplary lives.

Rabbi, father and teacher were titles given to those who taught the Law of Moses. When Jesus asks his disciples not to accept these titles, he is reminding them that his followers should seek to serve and not to be served or honored.
What does the Kingship of Christ mean for us? It means that our first and foremost allegiance is to be offered to Jesus. It is from the perspective of our attachment to Jesus that we should view all other things and events in our lives. Our positions and accomplishments should be occasions of service to others. It is by serving and loving one another that we show our loyalty to Jesus. Otherwise, we would be just hollow persons, with no ring of sincerity in our hearts.

St. Augustine has summarized beautifully well this idea in the following words: “We are leaders and servants: we lead when we serve.” Servant –leadership is the model Jesus presents before every one who is in the position of the leadership. We are called to encourage and develop the talents and the gifts of those who are entrusted to our care. Our positions and privileges should not be used to deprive others of their rights and opportunities.
Jesus is the King of Love. He showed his love by dying for us. The sincerity of love is expressed through the sacrifices we make for the well-being of others. Our world is craving for the love that Jesus has shown in His life. We have to preach the life of Jesus through our lives. It is when we become humble like Jesus that we begin to realize others too are the children of a loving God. As Henri Nouwen, one of our great spiritual writers, puts it: “When we want to be in the center, we easily end up on the margins, but when we are free enough to be wherever we must be, we often find ourselves in the center. Giving away our lives for others is the greatest of all human acts.”
The celebration of the Kingship of Christ has also another purpose. In the coming weeks, we will be preparing ourselves for the birth of Jesus through the season of Advent. It is then that we celebrate the birth of Jesus as a weak and fragile child. The Kingship of Christ reminds us that even in that fragile state, he is the Lord of the Universe.

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