Today’s Thoughts: The Feast of Christ the King has never been one of my favorite feasts. I think it is because kings have never really been a positive image for me during my life time. I have grown up in the age of democracy, kings and kingdoms seem to be part of the past. I have read about kings and kingdoms. I have studies them in school. Over the course of history one can find a lot a positive images, stories and experiences of kings and kingdoms however from a personal perspective they are part of days gone by, not the reality of my life experience. Truth be told, kings and kingdoms for me often symbolize a time when ordinary people meant nothing and there was a great divide between the “haves” and the “have nots!”
So how might I look at our feast today in a positive way. Well, our three readings present to us three picture, snap shots of the kingship of Jesus that we celebrate today.
In our first reading from the Second Book of Samuel we are presented what we might call a political statement. Perhaps not something we want to consider given our political times, but the readings is a snapshot of the moment when David brings the two kingdoms of Israel together under his leadership as “shepherd king.” It is from David line that Jesus will come into the world. But unlike David, Jesus will not a political leader, he will not be a soldier king, warrior king, he will not restore Israel to its greatness through human understanding. He will invite us to be his bone and flesh as part of the Body of Christ our Shepherd.
Our second reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians provide us with a theological understanding of Jesus as King. Everything has been reconciled in Jesus. He is the center of who we are as people of faith. He is the invisible God made visible. He is the Good Shepherd, who always looks after his sheep.
Finally, in our Gospel today we encounter not our political king or our theological king but our human king. Early on in Pope Francis’ time as pope he provided us with an image of leadership. He told priest that in their faith communities they should be shepherds marked by “the smell of the sheep.” Over and over again in the Gospels Jesus presents to us a Shepherd king who is marked by the smell of his sheep. Whether it is the smell of tax collectors, lepers, demoniacs, women at wells or brought before him in shame, disciples who don’t understand, close friends who deny, betray or run away or like in today’s Gospel criminals. Our Gospel reminds us today that Jesus is our “Shepherd King” willing to go all the way to death on the Cross and beyond for us!
Perhaps, as we celebrate this feast of Jesus Christ King of the Universe, we should pause to ask Jesus to help us bring life the same kind of shepherd leadership that he lived out that we might be a community of faith today.
Have a blessed and faith filled Sunday everyone and don’t forget to give God a little time today!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...