Thursday, 20 November 2014

Thoughts from our Chaplain - Christ the King

This Sunday, we will be celebrating the Feast of Christ the King. What comes into our minds when we hear the word King?  I always imagine a palace, the fine robes and the crown jewels, a royal court peopled by the rich and the good. I suspect that most people would think the same or similar. What about Christ the King?  His palace was a stable in Bethlehem; his fine robes were a used cloak thrown round his shoulders as the soldiers mocked him; his crown jewels were a twisted wreath of thorns; his court was a gathering of fishermen and tax collectors - the outcasts of society.

This is hardly what the people of Israel expected of their Messiah, as they flocked to him full of hopes and anticipation for the downfall of the Roman authorities.  Unfortunately they had totally misunderstood what this kingship of the Messiah was to be.  He was to be the ‘servant king’, the suffering servant of Isaiah and his kingdom was to be ‘not of this world’ (Jn 18:36).  He is to be a Shepherd King caring for his flock. He is to be a healing king, a pastor who searches for and finds his lost sheep. This is to be a king who is filled with compassion who is even willing to die for the welfare of his flock.  Unlike the king they expect, He takes the cloak, wears the thorns and arrayed in the jewel-like blood of his scourging, he walks to his destiny carrying the instrument of his death.

As we celebrate this Feast, maybe we can ask ourselves, each and every one of us, how can I follow this King?  Well the way He teaches is to be like Him, to be compassionate, to care for the needy, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, support the outcasts and stand up for those deprived of justice.  These are steps we take towards his Kingdom, by becoming each day, a little more Christ-like.

Fr Michael Manning, O.Carm - Chaplain to the National Shrine of Saint Jude

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