This weekend we end the liturgical year with the celebration of the feast of Christ the King. The year started with Advent and Christmas. Then we had a few weeks of “ordinary” time before we entered Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. After those celebrations, we returned to “ordinary” time, during which we learned from Jesus’ words and example how we are to live as His disciples. Ordinary time ends with this celebration, telling us we will be kings or queens in the way that truly matters, if we live as Jesus did.
Royalty is not a part of our democratic culture, so it might be a challenge to understand this feast. If you saw any part of the funeral for Queen Elizabeth II, you will know that pomp and power and wealth are an essential part of being a king or queen. A king or queen rules over all.
But look at Jesus: he was born in a stable to culturally insignificant parents. As an adult, he lived as a nomad, with no home or steady job. He associated with outcasts and the lowest class of citizens. Ultimately, the earthly powers executed Him. His life was the opposite of that of an earthly king.
And who did he have clashes with? Earthly kings (Herod) and the powerful religious leaders (the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes). Why? Because His way of being king threatened their earthly concept of authority and leadership. Christ the King modeled for us that being a true leader means to be humble, to be of service to others, to reach out to the most vulnerable, and to bring love and
harmony to the world.
That is exactly what Pope Francis has been trying to call the Church back to when he says that the Church should be a field hospital, that clerics should be servant leaders, and that we need to be on the margins of society.
Let us ask our King, who died for us, to help us grow as humble servants to others, especially those most in need.
Church sign of the week: Leadership is action, not position.