Christ the King, Year C
2 Samuel 5:1-3
Psalm 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
November 20, 2016
Until the days when Saul became king, Israel had not had a king. There were leaders known as “judges” who lead the community. The people asked God to give them a king. Saul became the first king but he was not a good king. It was David who did much of the work.
Because Saul had turned away from God, God had David anointed as king but David did not take over until Saul died. Even then, a portion of the kingdom made Saul’s son king at first but then eventually became over all of the Israelites. David was seen as a great king.
David was “anointed” as king. Anointing happens for different reasons. We anoint those who are sick for healing. We are first anointed in Baptism and then Confirmation. In this anointing we become children of God. We are chosen as God’s children. In being anointed, David is God’s chosen one to be king.
The Hebrew word for “anointed one” is “messiah.” In Greek, the word for the “anointed one” is “Christ.”
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. We tend to think of “Christ” as Jesus’ last name but it is actually a title so it is Jesus, the anointed one.
The Israelites had been waiting a thousand years for the coming of Christ. They expected a king who would be a great military leader who would defeat their enemies and make Israel a great earthly kingdom.
Today’s gospel refers to Jesus’ kingship but we do not see him becoming a great earthly king here. As we hear this passage, Jesus is hanging on the Cross, seemingly defeating by the enemy. The references to him as “king” are actually people mocking him. To them, the fact that He is being crucified proved He isn’t a king.
They are thinking only in earthly terms of power and wealth. It is only the repentant criminal who realizes that Jesus’ kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. Jesus rules in Heaven.
Jesus is not defeated by those who had him crucified. As our king, Jesus hands over his life to defeat a far worse enemy, sin.
Jesus shows that a good king is not one concerned with wealth or power. A good king is focused on serving the needs of the people.
Ultimately, Jesus is our king. As Paul writes, Jesus is the king of “all things.” Hence, the name for today’s solemnity “King of the Universe.” The universe encompasses all that we see.
All this being said, while we are live in this world, we need people in positions of authority. As Pope, in 1963, St. John XXIII wrote an encyclical called Peace on Earth. In this encyclical, he writes about our need for authority and how real authority comes from God. He says that people who hold positions of authority should not do so for personal power or wealth. Those in these positions must always work for the “common good.” I think I need to include here that the “common good” is NOT determined by popular opinion. It is to help all live as Christ has called us.
We see authority in various ways in our lives. In the home, the parents are supposed to be in charge of the children. At school, it is the teachers and the principals. At work, there are supervisors and managers.
We have leaders in the Church too. The pope leads the whole church. Bishop Matano leads our diocese and, as Pastor, I am the leader of our parish. I hope you pray for me as your leader, not to do what you want but to do what God wants.
There is one more type of leaders to talk about, political leaders. Pope John XXIII also writes in Peace on Earth about our need for governments. In our country, we don’t call our political leaders kings but we have elected offices on many levels, village, town, country, state, and the national level.
We just went through an election. It wasn’t easy but now it is over. Some people are happy with the results, some are not, and some are worried.
The election is in the past and we can’t change what happened. We need to look forward. When I say forward, I don’t mean the next election (I just heard on Thursday night somebody in the news talk about a candidate for the president in the next election). The next election will come.
Now is not a time to make plans for the next election. We need to work together. At this point, we all need to seek to come together for the common good.
What did I say I hope you do for me as your pastor? I hope you pray for me to lead not as you want but as God wants.
We need to do the same for all our political leaders at all levels. We need to pray that all leaders set aside any personal agendas or ideologies in favor of the common good as God defines it. It doesn’t matter if we like them or agree with them. We must pray for them.
Leadership is not about power. It is not about wealth. It is not about being famous. Leaders need to always be about service. Jesus’ Crucifixion is the perfect example of this. Jesus died not for his own gain but for us. May we put the service of others in the name of Jesus among our highest priorities.