On this feast of Christ the King, what does Jesus reveal about Himself as king? Jesus reveals that He does not reign as we typically envision kings reigning, i.e. powerful in the worldly sense. Humanly speaking, a weak king is not a good king. Jesus mysteriously reigns in human poverty. Jesus sits enthroned in human frailty. Jesus thus comes to lead us (the role of a king is to lead) where we least expect it. Jesus identifies himself with the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the ill, the imprisoned-literally and figuratively-in us and in others and, from there, He leads us home, i.e. to the mystery of God.
This past week, I had the privilege of attending the opening of the new Museum of the Bible (https://www.museumofthebible.org). A special invitation was extended to local clergy by the Rev. Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in southern California (Rev. Warren is particularly known for his 2002 book "The Purpose-Driven Life", which has sold over 30 million copies; he also famously gave the Invocation Prayer at the 2009 Inauguration of Barack Obama). I sat at table for the opening presentation by Rev. Warren and lunch with one Methodist and two Baptist ministers. I listened with admiration as they described the involvement of their churches in issues of justice: affordable housing, human trafficking, education, and adoption of children in the foster care system. Although, I might have disagreed with them on certain points of theology (I surely found myself during the presentation wishing for some acknowledgment of the sacraments as foundational to the life of the Church), as they shared, I could not help but hear Jesus, our benevolent King, uttering these words from this Sunday's gospel:
Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. Matthew 25:34-46
Together, we love and serve a gracious King, and we all can learn from one another in how better to do so.
Yours in Him,
Brother in Christ