So today is the feast of Christ the King. We have lots of images of kings: one of my favourites is that of Arthur, King of the Britons, from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. There are some very positive things about the king here:- he can fight; he is wise; most important of all, he has a very nice beard. These are of course attributes Jesus shares because as Son of God he is perfectly good-looking, perfectly wise and has a perfect beard.
Of course, Arthur, King of the Britons also has some attributes which are negative for a king. For example, when facing difficulties he throws away his sword yelling “Run away, run away, run away”. Jesus of course is not a king like this: unlike earthly kings and politicians, he is not a coward. Jesus loves us so, like any good medieval king, is always the first to attack and the last to retreat. And because he loves us perfectly, he also urges us and helps us to be courageous. And I say this in a particular way for us men because arguably the most common temptation for us men is to act like a coward – to run away, to give up and protect our skin. Don’t be discouraged, Jesus says to us, turn to me, and I will you strengthen you, and do most of the fighting. Turn to me, so that you can win.
But today’s readings give us three even more important points about Jesus’ kingship.
All the tribe of Israel came to David at Hebron. “Look, they said…the Lord said to you…”. David did not seek to be king. Jesus, the Son of David, doesn’t either. Jesus is asked a service by God the Father. Out of obedience to him (which is the opposite of sin), out of trust in him, and out of love for him and for us, Jesus agrees to do this service. Not just for a year, or 30 years, or even a thousand: but for eternity. This is his eternal generosity to us: I will serve you forever. I will wash your feet forever. How is that bad? How can we not want someone like this?
Before anything was created, he existed, and he holds all things in unity. Jesus is such a true king because he has authority even over our very molecules: because he is the author of our molecules, and he is the one who maintains the unity even of our very subatomic structure. Each of us is only able to sit here because he is maintaining our molecular structure as I speak. Without him we simply cease to exist. That is real kingship. That is real Power. And that is why Jesus has true authority, and why we base anything we do on him.
The people stayed there before the cross watching Jesus. This is the other very distinctive thing about Jesus’ kingship: Jesus is the only true humble one. Kings and Presidents and prime-ministers can have all their flash glory…until we compare it with the glory of Christ: of God hanging there on the cross for love of us. And then we see that this worldly glory is really junk in comparison: fluff blown away by the wind. Jesus is the only king prepared to die for us, if that is what it will take to save us. How many of our rulers, or those who want to rule us, know us, and love us, and are happy to die for us? How many would be happy to suffer injustice if it will help us? I’m not sure I can think of many either. So next time we hear politicians or activists saying they need to keep Christianity out of their considerations, maybe we can ask them those questions. Do you know me? Do you love me? Are you prepared to suffer an unjust death to protect me? Are you even able to really protect me? And if not, maybe vote for the most Christian of the candidates.
So we see really that having Jesus as our king it’s irresistible. So why do we waste our time belonging to anything not of him? So let us in this Mass simply give ourselves to him during our prayer, saying to him Jesus you my only good king. You are the only one who cares for me properly. Please help me trust you and belong to you, that you can make me free and happy. Amen.