Image by Annoysius via FlickrWe have just arrived at the threshold of Advent as we celebrated Christ the King the weekend past.
When we mention 'king', I am sure we all would have varied images and perceptions as to what a king would be, look like and how he should act. The recent news about the engagement of Prince William and Kate MIddleton would certainly rouse up much more interest to the issue of the monarchy and all things royalty. But a closer look to our Christ the King would reveal a much more significant and real understanding to what a king is to be. The gospel scene for that Sunday's solemnity opens up with Christ our King on the cross and is mocked and ridiculed by the passersby, the soldiers and, yes, one of the criminal on the cross beside him. All of them said the same thing in their insult to him: He saved others, he doesn't save himself. Why did our King do that? Is this a king we really want? Why do we bother at all and what is the fuss about this solemnity of Christ the King?...
The clue is in that insult made by the people to Jesus on the cross.
Any human king is really one who saves himself. He does so because he is to be above all pain, poverty or any form of need or want. Hence he is never seen to be undergoing great suffering or discomfort. He can use his power, prestige and money to buy himself out of such distressing forms of living. With this clout and influence as king he can save himself and be protected from all misery. But the true king, Christ the King does not save himself but gives away of himself in love. He does not fill himself up, but empties himself out. This is not the kind of a king that the world usually portrays in those million ways it sees it. The true King that is Christ Jesus would invite us to seriously consider the following:
- stop saving yourselves, save somebody else instead.
- stop filling up your life in a self-protecting manner, reach out in love and protect somebody else.
- live in the power that sustains the universe, perform the simplest act of love.
This, I believe, is the main flavour for the signalling of the end of the liturgical year as we begin the new one when we gently move towards Christmas.