By Fr. Thiago, sx –
At the end of the liturgical year, the Church celebrates the solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. What does come to your mind when you hear the word king? Nowadays, there are not so many kings around the world, but we all have, in our imagination, the image of a king and the symbols which characterize him. We usually think of a king as the one who rules a kingdom, has a throne, a crown, wields a scepter of power and lives in a castle. He is protected and defended by his subjects. Besides, a king is known to be rich and powerful and to have great authority over his subjects. These are some characteristics which we can apply to a king.
Therefore, if we say that Jesus is king, consequently we are saying that he has all those characteristics listed above. Indeed, he has, but (and this but makes all the difference), Jesus has all those things in a different way, because he is a different kind of king. The Gospel of today´s solemnity, which this year coincides with the conclusion of the year of faith, helps us to understand which kind of king Jesus is.
Based on the Gospel, we can say that Jesus has a throne, but his throne is the cross. He has a great power: his merciful and redeeming love which overcomes sin and death. He rules by serving us, by opening the door of the paradise to all those who repent. His scepter of power is the cane of a Shepherd, because he is the Good Shepherd who protects and defends us, instead of being protected and defended, and in this way he gives his life to us. He has a wonderful castle: the life of his people. His authority is to forgive us and to lead us back to the loving embrace of the Father. Truly, the kingship of Christ is quite different from the image of a king that we have in our mind.
At this point, we can ask ourselves: “Why did Jesus choose this different modality to be king?” He could have chosen to be a strong and powerful king, like Peter and the other disciples were waiting for. On the contrary, Jesus chose to be a servant king because, power, strength and imposition don´t convert the heart. Love is the only thing which can transform our heart. Since Jesus is love and he wants to transform our heart from within, he embraced this path. With such modality, Jesus is telling us that he wants to be welcomed in the “universe” of our life, becoming in this way our guide and ruler.
Moreover, being a king in this way, the Lord is telling us, as well, that we are heirs of his kingship. Christ´s kingship is not a secret treasure, but he wants to share it with us. In Jesus we are a people of kings to God, the Father. But, let us not forget, we are kings in Jesus´ modality. Therefore, we are invited to serve like him, to spread life like him and to be prophets of the new havens and the new earth that he is already creating in our midst.