What kind of king is Christ? For some, the title given to the savior of the world makes sense. For others, including myself, we have to do a little theological and spiritual work to see Christ as a king. We are probably overrun by powerful, if not negative, images and experiences of kings and this tends to be prominent in our prayerful reflection of Jesus Christ as one.
Notice that I added Jesus to the title in the last reference, only Christ in the first two. This two- fold title gives us all some insight as we focus on this last weekend of the liturgical year before embarking on a new year and the adventure of Advent and Christmas, and beyond. The Jesus of history who was born and walked this earth morphed into the Christ who was acknowledged by the church and the world as the anointed one (thus the title referring to the sacred oil and gesture of naming the king), fulfilling the Old Testament prophesies and being more of a King than David ever was.
Christ indicates legacy and permanence. Jesus indicates a certain historical time and a prophet who gives us timeless messages and touching miracles.
So in light of the Christ that is easier to connect with the title king, Msgr. Charles Pope helps in his breakdown of Christ as three types of kings, based on the scriptures we hear this weekend. He tells us that that Christ is:
A Caring King – from our first reading from Ezekiel, “I myself will look after and tend my sheep…”
A Conquering King –”…he has destroyed every sovereignty…he must reign until he has conquered all…even death.”
A Concealed King – He is in the needy, the poor, the oppressed and the humble. He promises us an inheritance in a kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world, a kingdom for all of us.”
I would like to add that Christ is:
An Eternal King – a significant aspect of eternity is truth, and Jesus ends his statement in the Gospel that he has come to “testify to the truth.” Few things are more eternal than the truth, and Jesus Christ will always lead us to truth. He tells through the lens of Mark, “For this I came into the world. For this I was born, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
As Advent begins next weekend please be attentive to the environment of our beautiful church that is centered around the small word BE. Like Advent itself, this word will be used as a precursor to something more. It points to and helps us prepare for a more important reality. Several words will follow the word BE. These words coincide with key scriptural messages and will vary each week.
For example, the first week of Advent encourages us to BE Alert. We must engender a spirit of deeper awareness to more fully prepare for the miracle of God taking a risk and becoming one of us this Christmas.
We have been hosting an event for men for several years called The Gathering. Often women ask when we will hold an event for women. Although I am more supportive of adult events for women and men together, we are very excited to welcome and invite women to “The Three Wise Women of the Nativity Story” as a part of our Advent by Candlelight series for women here at Holy Family on Tuesday, December 4 from 7:00-9:00pm. The evening will be led by Mary McKeon who shared a reflection with us on the Feast of Mary Magdala this past July and she is on the staff at the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House just up the road from us on Lake Cook Road in Barrington. Mary will share insights of the role of three great women, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Elizabeth her cousin and the mother of John the Baptist, and the Prophetess Anna. All three play a unique role in the Nativity story. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served in the Narthex following Mary’s presentation which will be held in the Church. I am inviting ALL women of the parish to attend and I am challenging both women and men to personally invite other women to attend. This promises to be an enriching evening that will help prepare your heart for Advent and Christmas. There is no charge for the evening and details will be in the bulletin as the evening gets closer.