Since last December, Sunday after Sunday we have been retracing Christ’s life, death and resurrection in a way that has allowed us to journey together, step by step through the historical events of our salvation. It all comes together this Sunday, culminating in our acknowledgment of Christ as King of heaven and earth.
His title is not honorary. He does not sit passively on a throne looking down on His subjects. Nor do we stand, sit or kneel in His presence as mere attendants. As He has participated in all our battles and struggles, all our achievements and successes, whether we realize it or not, Christ constantly invites us to participate in all of His. By doing so, we have His assurance that our individual lives have eternal value and meaning - that we too are destined for glory.
It may not seem like that on a given day. Our lives can sometimes become absorbed with responding to the needs and the demands of others, too ordered and scheduled even to the point of exhaustion. Christ’s life was no different. But He would often tell us to come away with Him to a quiet place, alone with Him and away from the crowds.
Likewise our lives can sometimes be too isolated, quiet and even uneventful. Christ’s life was no different. But He would often tell us to actively join Him on the road, responding with strength and patience to the needs of friends, the stranger and the passerby.
(For those in the military, think of it this way. Christ began as a private and through his years of service became a Chief Warrant Officer. By his death and resurrection from the grave He becomes our general. In his ascension into heaven to seat at the right hand of the Father, He is our commander and chief. He is the humble Shepherd who becomes the King, never losing that common touch and the smell of the sheep about him. I say sheep, not goats. The sheep lend themselves to his voice and commands. Goats are too hard headed, and will chew up anything in their path.)
Our lives can never just be one way or another if we live with Christ. Yes, He is the King in all His Glory, but also the Shepherd in all His gentleness. He is the Lion in all His strength, but also the Lamb in all His tenderness. His Kingdom is not defined by territory. It is defined by the reach of His embrace. He rules, not by might, but by example.
And if we are to follow Him and bear the name Christian, then we can not pick and choose which “portrait of Christ” we like better - for fear we might only recognize Him on our own terms of engagement. Instead, our King of glory comes to us disguised. He hides the reality of His Eternal Presence to us behind a resemblance of humble bread as we reverently approach Him through the doorway of the Mass. He waits for us to join Him in quiet company, alone in our thoughts when all is still. And He tests the availability of our daily presence to Him through our response to the challenges of the day, with friends and strangers through whose eyes He gazes upon us as each day unfolds.
Regardless of the challenges we all face everyday, don’t get locked in to just one way of seeing Christ. Never be afraid of allowing Him to be both a king and a servant to you, the one who challenges as well as comforts, a friend and a stranger, a father to you as well as a brother. May you also take on these qualities, not to sometime arrive at the best version of yourself. Instead, to rejoice that from that very first unique moment of your conception you have been and are made in the image and likeness of God and destined to reign with Him over all creation. Wow! To be a King hidden in the crowd. To be a man hidden in glory.
Solemnity of Christ the King 2020