Christ the King seems to have upgraded language in some ways today–King of the Universe is the subtext of this Feast Day. Of course, this is in reality an ancient title but one I do not hear used much in Catholicism. Today we hear Jesus say that the world calls him a king but he does not answer clearly that he is one, only that he was born to come into this world and testify to the truth. In the First and Second Readings today, we read that kingship was bestowed on Jesus.
St. Ignatius has a beautiful meditation on the Call of the King in the Spiritual Exercises that focuses on the leadership of Jesus in the world. Specifically, it focuses on Jesus’ invitation to us to partner with him in working toward the completion of the work he began on earth. At times, we may resist opening our ears to Christ’s call because we are afraid of what we’ll hear–for example, we may not want to change something about our lifestyle. We may prefer to remain in our comfort zone but Christ is calling us onward. We may contrarily believe we are all ears where the call of Christ is concerned but we may need an interpreter to figure out what is really being asked. This call of the King is not for the faint of heart. We may be asked to do all sorts of things we would rather not do–or that we wish we could do with more courage.
Alan Paton’s book Ah, But Your Land is Beautiful tells the story of a black person and a white person who risk their lives for racial justice in South Africa. The collateral damage is going to be high and one muses: “Well I look at it this way. When I get up there, the great judge will say, ‘Where are your scars?’ And if I haven’t any, he will ask, ‘Were there no causes worthy of getting scars?’” Jesus did not leave this world unscarred. He is our model. If we answer the call of the King of the Universe, life might just get messy and uncomfortable. As we enter Advent next weekend, may our hearts be ready for the unfolding of how this great King left a throne in heaven to come to earth to walk with us, to live amongst us, and to show us a path that is filled with goodness if we dare to trod on it.
If we choose to follow Christ, we become his disciples. Discipleship calls for a deeper knowledge of and friendship with the Lord–a relationship built on trust and love. With discipleship comes the decision to commit one’s life to service for the greater good. Our hearts should burn with zeal to assist in bringing about the kingdom here on earth. The Jesuits talk about Magis which is about going further and offering more–walking that second mile. A yearning arises from deep within that causes us to seek ways to serve God in greater ways for the most good. We ourselves are transformed by this passion that stirs within us. Our best selves are called out–the person that God has created us to be emerges in strong and stunning ways when we learn to listen for the invitation from the King of the Universe who sees our small but important role in the large scheme of things. What does your heart say to this call?
What scars will you have to show to the Great Judge?
Who is God calling you to become so that your best self will serve for the greater good?
King of the Universe,
Who am I that I may serve you?
I thank you for gifting me with small
but ever so important traits that you
need for the greater good, for a world in need.
Transform me into my best self
that I may accomplish the role you wish me to.