Echoes of the Word 20th November 2016
Commentary on Luke 23:35-43
It’s important that we understand what is meant by the Kingship of Christ because, by our own Baptism, we have a share in that Kingship (as well as in his roles of Prophet and Priest). Jesus makes clear during his life that a King is one who has authority and yet is at the service of others. As always, we have to remember that Jesus speaks in the context of life that is eternal. However, we also know that eternal life is not just something that awaits us at our death: we already possess it. Our present life will not cease at our death but it will become even more intense. This gospel passage is a good example of how Jesus wants us to understand it. He refuses to save himself but instead he saves the criminal who recognizes him for who he is. He does not bring him down from the cross. Less spectacularly but more effectively, he promises him a life of bliss. We have the authority that comes from our faith in the Resurrection and so we have an obligation never to lord it over others in any way but always to be at their service in whatever ways lay open to us.Fr Richard ffield OSB
Among my very earliest childhood memories is a visit of our then new king, George VI, to Bolton, where we then lived. My parents took me to the main square of the town to see the king and queen and my father sat me on his shoulders so that I could see over the heads of the crowd. I was very disappointed, because I could only see some men in suits and ladies in dresses on a dais; there was nobody in robes and crowns and therefore, to my infant mind, no king or queen.
The divine king, the King of the Universe, whose feast we are celebrating today overturns our childish ideas of what true kingship is about: it is not about robes and crowns or lording it over their subjects; it is about loving care for them in humble service. King George VI gave us a lot of that during the second world war; but Christ himself is, of course, its greatest exemplar – the supreme example, not only for kings and other leaders of nations, but also for all of us who share in Christ’s kingship through our baptism and are thus called to humble service of each-other.
Fr Alban Crossley OSB
Page last updated: 07/11/2016 by E Slingsby