Last Sunday Ordinary Time 2012 : Solemnity of Christ The King

 Miniature of Christ in glory holding a globe and blessing the Virgin (on the following page); miniature of the Virgin kneeling (towards Christ on the previous page), from the Address in verse to Robert of Anjou, King of Naples, from the town of Prato in Tuscany (the Carmina regia), illuminated by Pacino di Buonaguida, central Italy (Tuscany), c. 1335 - c. 1340, Royal MS 6 E. ix, ff. 4v-5r.

Scripture readings for Sunday's Mass are here.

Various reflections St Louis Centre for Liturgy here

The Anti - Politics of Christ The King from here

My post from 2010 is here  and from 2011 is here

Today marks the end of the Liturgical Cycle and end of our church year.  

At the beginning of the church year next week in Advent,  I look forward to the physical incarnation of a God who unites heaven with earth.  

At the end of the year, I also look forward to a God who is coming, but this will be at the end of time, both at my own death and the end of the world.  

 "What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from." T. S. Eliot

It is hard to envision what  Christ will look like : the word glory is not one that is often used much in ordinary conversation these days.  

The royal trappings of earthly Kingship were foisted on Him by Caesar to pitifully mock Him and were meant to haul up the travesty of His claims.  

I wonder if we try too hard these days to revamp the image of God's Kingship when Christ himself did very little to claim it as a crown for himself. For me it often seems an outdated image ,a parody and almost futile attempt to capture the essence of God in limited human terms.

In Western democracies where individualism and autonomy rank high the concept of allegiance to a King is accompanied with much questioning.

Father Ron Rolheiser sums up the modern situation for many when he says: "We want a king without the kingdom; we want a shepherd without the other sheep; we want a father, with us as the only child; we want a general without an army; we want to believe without belonging."

But I know too that Christ the King of my life that I have come to encounter in my life, is light years away from any historical conception of an earthly King. 

I am not able to grasp a complete picture but I have fragments :a beggar and outcast King, a compassionate shepherd, and a servant King.  

But even these images are passed on second hand and tantalisingly incomplete.

"The King of Love My Shepherd Is"

The Notre Dame Folk Choir at their 2010 concert at the Abbey of Gethsemani performing Jesus the Lord by Roc O'Connor, S.J.

On this feast day it is good to be aware of and hold the tension of endings and beginnings.

The poem by Pamela Cranston does that well only she starts from the birth of Christ and moves to the end of Christ's life.

 The emphasis is clear in this poem that Christ as King is a loving King, who was born because He wanted to be close to us and live alongside us, who died for no other reason than to free us to be united with God.

It is a vision of Christ a King coming at the end of time to make all things right.


Pamela Cranston

See how this homeless babe lifted
himself down into his humble crèche
and laid his tender glove
of skin against that splintered wood –
found refuge in that rack
of raspy straw – home
on that chilly dawn, in sweetest
silage, those shriven stalks.

See how this outcast King lifted
himself high upon his savage Cross,
extended the regal banner
of his bones, draping himself
upon his throne – his battered feet,
his wounded hands not fastened
there by nails but sewn
by the strictest thorn of Love.

© Pamela Cranston, "Poem For Christ the King", The Anglican, Vol. 34, No. 4, October 2005.

You Are The Humble King by Brenton Brown

Something a little more upbeat :Soon and Very Soon by Brenda Fassie
Listening to this is uplifting !!

If I try and conceive Christ as King then I believe the kingdom of God is not a place where anyone will be alienated. My King of compassion is one who in His lifetime always sought to reconcile all things to Himself, always was able to discern the heart of a person and their integrity.

The kind of Christ King I believe in is not intent on dividing members and is not a leader with a diminished and outdated sense of mission.  

My shepherd King I have faith in never scatters His sheep but always seeks to gather them all in.

My Christ The King did not seek to sit apart on a throne when he came to this earth - He did not intend to set up a church on earth with neat tricks of projecting its own failings onto secular culture.

Neither did my beggar King harbour in His own life the petty vainglory and insatiable ambition of a secular world.

As a servant King, He was not impressed with the hierarchy of the church of His day and I suspect those feelings might carry forward to today's church. 

Little seems to have altered in a church hierarchy that does very little to examine itself and very little to call on others from the margins of its own or of the secular world to gain insight and a richer perspective on how to reconcile itself with the people it purports to serve.

The King of freedom I believe in never expects mindless dutiful obedience and passive docility to a Magisterium that comprises teaching from on high without the reception of the whole body or "laos" of believers. 

The King of Love I believe in never replaces compassion with dogmatic petulance and vengeful adherence to laws, if it results in the loss of many good and faithful people over petty squabbling about doctrine and rules.

 A Kingship that claims my obedience never sees it as a burden if I ask for sufficient evidence or reasoning to back up its claims, and insofar as it does or does not do so, it would always ask and expect me to question my obedience and loyalty and my conscience.

The King I have come to know sits beside me and gently allows my lack of faith and  stupidity to be aired in a climate of acceptance.The King I know stretches me and always gives me room to breathe, never stifling me.  The King I know has a rattling good sense of humour and the ability to laugh at my mistakes.

The King I am challenged by is a tender King of my heart who discerns my femininity as something to be nurtured and integrated with His own nature and is full of creative imagination, beauty, joy and mystery.

The Christ of the Gospels that I have come to know demands my love and my all.

Today Christ is identified as the Alpha and Omega, the A and Z, who is, who was and is to come , the beginning and the end of all things.


Song of Farewel
"The Table of Grace" reminds me that my King  
has given me a meeting place with others while I am still alive;
an unmerited life - sustaining gift of God's Love 
 to receive with thanks and pass on.

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