Friday, November 20, 2009

Christ the King – Year B - 2009

Reading 1
Responsorial Psalm
Reading 2
Gospel

In the first reading from the Book of the Prophet Daniel we read about a powerful figure who Daniel calls the Son of Man.

The Son of Man will arrive on a cloud to judge the world.

He will do so with power and majesty.

The scripture goes on to say that He has,
glory,
and kingship
and power and that
all peoples, and all nations, will serve Him.

Throughout the scriptures Jesus often referred to Himself as the Son of Man.

The picture painted in today’s Gospel however is very different.

In the Gospel we hear a conversation between Jesus and Pilate.

At first it appears that Pilate is the powerful one and that Jesus is simply a broken and betrayed man.

If you listen carefully however, everything is not as it seems.

You see Pilate is afraid.

He lives in constant fear of insurrection, rebellion and the intrigue of the Jews.

He is hated by the people he rules, and they are always up to something.

On the hand the emperor in Rome cares only about the taxes he receives.

Caesar cares nothing about Pilate and expects him to efficiently govern the rebellious Jews and support the empire.

Failure is not an option.

Pilate is under pressure from both sides. He is always caught in the middle.

As he talks to Jesus it is clear that he he is trying to figure out just who this man is.

Pilate wonders, why the leaders of the Jews hate him so much?

Why would they turn him a Jew over to me for judgment?

Is this some kind of a trap?

What kind of threat does he pose to them and what kind of threat does this Jesus of Nazareth pose to me?

Behind the fa├žade of his authority and power Pilate is afraid, he is filled with fear.

In the end he will hand “The King of the Jews” over to be executed not because Jesus did anything wrong, but because he is afraid of the crowd
and afraid of the priests
and afraid of Caesar.
Pilate is afraid of everyone.
He is even afraid of Jesus.

It is a terrible thing to live your life in fear.

Jesus on the other hand is calm.
He seems in control of the conversation.
He knows that he has to face the cross.

For a long time he had battled the temptation to flee the cross but now he has chosen it.

From that moment of truth he experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was able to face the cross without fear.

Jesus was able to face the cross because he loved and trusted the Father.

Jesus was able to face the cross because of his love for all of us.

Pilate who appears “powerful” is weak and afraid.
Jesus “who appears weak” is strong.

The Church gives us the feast of Christ the King because she wants us to reflect on the type of King that Jesus really was and the role he should play in our lives.

I found this on the internet and it helped me reflect on the Kingship of Christ I hope it helps you.

-Kings are usually born in a palace, places of privilege, but our King was born in a stable.

-While most kings spent all of their time building up wealth, Jesus our King owned nothing at all.

-Kings are usually surrounded by servants; Jesus chose to be a servant.

-Instead of riding into town on a big white horse surrounded by soldiers, Jesus our King rode into town on the back of a donkey.

-Jesus was the friend of regular people, working class people, fishermen and carpenters.

-He is the friend of the lowly, the poor and even the friend of sinners.

- Kings usually only associate with important people

-Our King’s crown was not gold or silver.
It was not a symbol of power studded with precious jewels.

-Instead they crowned Him with thorns.
His crown was a sign of his willingness to suffer for love.

-Instead of robes and jewels he wore a cloak and tunic

-He was powerful but also powerless

-Our King’s throne was not an ornate symbol of his power instead he ruled from the cross.

-Like many good Kings, Jesus gave his life for his people; unlike any other king death had no power over him.

On this feast of Christ the King it is important to ask ourselves;

What does Jesus our King ask from us?
How should a disciple of Christ the King live?

Here are just a few examples…

-Love you enemy, do good to those who persecute you,

-If someone wants your shirt give him your coat as well.

-Feed the hunger, clothe the naked, heal the sick, visit prisoners.

-Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers you do to me.

-Forgive not 7 times but rather 70x70 times.

-Lend to those who cannot pay you back.

-You are the light of the world.

-Take this all of you and eat.

-Do this in memory of me.

Put so simply Christian discipleship sounds so radical.

If we really lived that way the world would be such a different place.

To truly follow Christ the King is radical and it takes courage.

Today we all have to ask ourselves…
What guides and motivates our life?
The fear of Pilate..
The hate of the Jewish leaders…
Or the courage and love of Christ our king…

A very important question indeed.

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