Christ the King - Fr. Adam Royal
November 20, 2021 - 5:00 PM
November 21, 2021 - 11:00 AM
“Are you a king?” Pilate asks a good question. How could anyone believe that Jesus was a king? He stood before Pilate in chains. He had no armies. He didn’t even have any followers left. He looked nothing like the kings of this world. But Jesus was a king. He is a king, a new kind of king. The kings of this world choose to enrich themselves and to be served. That is, their power and freedom are used to enslave others and command obedience. Not so with Jesus. He unites with his followers in solidarity. Jesus uses his infinite power and freedom to choose suffering and death.
I think he chose this because he is a merciful king. Our lives give us very few certainties. But, rich or poor, young or old, we will all suffer and die. So Jesus redeemed it, in his mercy he gave it value. God saw what was the worst aspect of being human, he saw how it fills us with fear, how we live trying to run away from it and he transformed it. He transformed the only certainty in our lives into our source of hope; he made it the very path to salvation. So we no longer have to fear it. In fact, as Christians we cannot fear it. We cannot run from suffering, but like Jesus we must open wide our arms and embrace the cross confident that it is the path to eternal life, to eternal happiness.
When Christ suffered he gave meaning to our suffering. He took what seemed to be vanity and he made it our salvation. Through the incarnation Jesus united himself to us, and us to one another. As the body of Christ when we suffer, Christ suffers, the whole Church suffers. And this means that every single one of us participates in the salvation of the world. Just as the suffering and death of Jesus won salvation for all peoples of all times, so does ours. We no longer live just for ourselves but we live for Christ, we live in Christ, and through Christ we live for the whole world.
The challenges we face in life, the crosses we carry, are no longer meaningless burdens, they are not vanities of vanities. They are our chance to free the world, to bring to completion the work of Christ in the world, and to bring all people into God’s kingdom. We are to face the burdens of our lives as if the entire world depends upon us, because it does. Not just the big burdens, but even the smallest: working without complaining, forgiving an insult instead of seeking revenge, listening to a spouse or a friend even when we’re tired from a long day. Every single cross we bear with patience gives grace to the world, it brings all people closer to salvation. Alone, we can do nothing, but united to Christ our King who bears our burdens with us we can save the world. By freely choosing the way of Christ, we can transform all suffering, all death, into eternal life.