About 12 years ago, my friend, Joan, invited myself, my parents and brother to a Christ the King celebration as part of a Regnum Christi outreach. We attended mass and there was a special luncheon after. Purple placemats, gold colored plates and other decorations impressed upon me the kingliness of Jesus. And I appreciated the care they showed me and my loved ones.
Fast forward 4 years to the first Thanksgiving my husband, Glenn, and I celebrated as a married couple. On Christ the King Sunday, he surprised me with tickets to the Lion King. Although not as monumental as Jesus’ struggle, Simba struggles to accept his rightful place as king of the African plain. Jesus struggles to accept His Father’s will and to bear the weight of sin, none of which he committed. But he does say “yes” to Calvary and in his life and death, Jesus shows us the model of servant king.
After the musical, Glenn and I looked out from the second floor lobby at the lights of Times Square. We extended our hands and consecrated the city to Jesus our King. We must have had a few curious onlookers, but that didn’t stop us.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote, “Jesus of Nazareth…is so intrinsically king that the title ‘King’ has actually become his name. By calling ourselves Christians, we label ourselves as followers of the king… The King is Jesus; in him God entered humanity and espoused it to himself.”
He goes on to say, “God does not have a fixed plan that he must carry out; on the contrary, he has many different ways of finding man and even of turning his wrong ways into right ways….The feast of Christ the King is therefore not a feast of those who are subjugated, but a feast of those who know that they are in the hands of the one who writes straight on crooked lines.”
Father Robert Barron (of the “Catholicism” DVD series) writes in the Nov. 2014 issue of Magnificat, “…if you harbor suspicions of what submitting to this King would entail, take a good look at him. He reigns not from a pompous throne, but from an instrument of torture; he wears not a gaudy crown of gold, but a bloody crown of thorns, he issues not peremptory commands, but words of promise: ‘This day you will be with me in paradise.’ Don’t be afraid utterly to submit every aspect of your life to this King, for his power empowers you and his command liberates you.”
In his Apostolic Letter, “On the Most Holy Rosary,” (P.33) St. John Paul II suggests praying the Hail Mary by inserting a phrase to refer to the mystery being prayed. For instance; “Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus….who was crowned with thorns.” Countless times, Glenn and I have meditated on a king who was born in a stable, was homeless (Luke 9:58), and hung naked on a cross so that we could have eternal life. I don’t know of any other king as selfless as this. Do you?
Our king pursues people in the gospels to love, heal, and show them our Father’s compassion. Right now He is pursuing you, to heal you – where you most need it. This is the only king who can bring you “the peace that surpasses all understanding.” (Phil. 4:7)
This is the King whose birth we await and whose second coming will establish His Sovereignty forever.