Christ is King
God the Father spoke in the beginning and all that there is came to be. He became known to His creatures as the God who is audible but not visible. At the appointed time, the Self-Communicating God spoke, and the Word became flesh, making visible the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). Thus the God above us became the God with us in His incarnate Son. The Son became the sacrament of the Father, that real person we can touch, feel, talk with and who enters our story, knows us personally, and places us in contact with the reality of the Father. Through the Son we know the Father and we know ourselves. For the Son, as Saint Pope John Paul II says in Redemptor Hominis fully reveals us to ourselves. Through Him we know that we are heirs in the Kingdom in which He the Son is King. His Kingship is the visible revelation of the Kingship of the Father. In the Son the Father reveals to us His love.
He reveals He is the King who is not ashamed of His creation. His Son was born in a manger, in the midst of the least of creation and died in between two thieves reiterating He is God with us and in us. In the Gospel reading today, Jesus emphasises He is with us. He is in the least of our brothers and sisters, those who are hungry, thirsty, sick, imprisoned, strangers, homeless, naked, broken, rejected etc. He is in them as King. So when we ask where is He? Where is His Kingdom? He has told us where to find Him. This, in a way, may sound strange. We expect kings to be in palaces, dressed in purple robes and being waited upon. But Jesus, the Son reveals Himself as the King who dresses us and waits upon us. He dressed sinners with the robes of His presence. Prostitutes, those caught in adultery, tax-collectors, beggars, those on the margin were all dressed by Him with His own robes.
His presence in their lives meant they were good enough to belong to His Kingdom. It was also a revelation that they were God’s Image Bearers, they were carrying in them divinity just like any one of us. As such, they too deserve to be loved, cared for, respected and honoured. According to Bishop Robert Barron, ‘To love Christ is to love the ones whom He loves.’ And when we refuse to love them, we refuse to love Christ. He is also the King who is waiting for us in the poor, in those who are hungry for the understanding love of being loved, being known; those disposed of their dignity, stripped naked by unjust systems, the divorced and the re-married who do not feel welcome in the Church, the victims of abuses. Christ is King in them, waiting for us to clothe Him, make Him welcome. We cannot shout Christ is King when we cannot be bothered by their plight. For we will be judged uniquely as Henry Wansbrough OSB puts it on how we treat those in any kind of need.
But He is not the King who leaves His subjects where they were. Nor is He the King whose existence according to Jean Paul Sartre limits our freedom, our power to express ourselves and be ourselves. He is rather the King who transforms us, picks us up from our mess and restores our worth. The King who heals the sick. The King whose presence sets us free from the bondage of sin and shame; makes saints of sinners like Mary Magdalene. He is the King who according to Saint Irenaeus became one like us and made us partakers in the divine life of God. He is the King who makes us kings in His Kingship. This is the great revolution that Christ’s Kingship inaugurated.
Through the waters of baptism, Christ made us kings. And He sent us out to be kings to our brothers and sisters who do not know they too are kings. He sent us to proclaim the good news, to tell the good story of what it means to be king in God’s Kingdom. Dorothy Day is one of the many people who was truly a king in the Kingship of Christ. Martin Doblmeier describes Dorothy as a woman with complexities, richness and contradictions. ‘As a young adult in Chicago she fell in love, had an abortion, married, divorced and twice attempted suicide. She moved to New York City, rejected religion and had a child out of wedlock.’ Despite her past, Dorothy allowed Christ to transform her. She later became a king who with Peter Maurin founded the Catholic Worker movement that offers hospitality and food to anyone in need. Today, Catholic Worker has over 220 houses for those in need around the world. This is the real currency of the Kingship of Christ. He makes us kings in His own right.