Who is our king? Who are you willing to promise loyalty and fidelity to? Better question maybe, who are you willing to imitate? Whose mission do you believe in enough, that you would go into battle for it?
Preparing for this weekend I was reminded of that great scene in Braveheart. William Wallace is giving his speech to the soldiers, but they are not convinced yet. They are not totally willing to go into battle. Then William Wallace gives that great speech where he says freedom is worth fighting for. William becomes a king-like figure. His purpose is freedom. He believes so much in it, that he is willing to die for it. His belief is so inspiring, that others believe in it too, that that the also are willing to go into battle for the same mission. They are willing to die for William Wallace’s mission, for freedom!
This weekend, we celebrate Christ the king. We are just like the men who have shown up to see William Wallace, and we face the same crucial decision. Are we willing to follow Jesus as our commander? Is Christ the king worth fighting for? If we are going to follow Jesus, we need to know what his mission is and be willing to go into battle for it.
Jesus’ mission is to proclaim God’s love and to set us free. Free from what? From darkness, sin, and death. Jesus has come to proclaim the Father’s love in the world, to free us, and to invite us to live in his kingdom forever. How does Jesus accomplish this? He loves the poorest of the poor, he forgives sinners and invites them into his kingdom. This is what Christ the King is about. The sacrificial love of Christ is more powerful and overcomes all sin and all evil. Christ’s kingly power is not earthly power. Earthly power is selfish, about domination, and controlling others. Christ’s kingly power is self-less, about serving others, and is motivated by love for the other.
Brothers and sisters, I think for us this weekend, we are called to be grateful for Christ’s kingly power and to live as citizens of his kingdom. As a Christian people, as a baptized people, we are baptized into the mystery of Christ’s life and mission. That is, we are called to be priests, prophets, and kings. Priests – people who offer thanks and praise to God. Prophets – people who speak about God to others. And kings – people who serve and love for the sake of others.
We participate in Christ’s kingly identity when:
We meet those who are hungry, and we give them food; not only for bread but for the understanding love of being loved, of being known, of being someone to someone.
We meet those who are naked, and we offer them clothing; and remember their human dignity where we acknowledge and help rather than simply ignore them because they are poor.
When we encounter those in prison or in the spiritual prison of addiction and remind them that they are wanted and loved. That those who have walked in this world with no one who cares for them, they are reminded my members of Christ’s kingdom, that Christ cares.
This day is the culmination of the whole year. We have heard the story. We have heard that Jesus suffered and died for us. We have heard the stories of how he healed people, forgiven great sins and offered his whole life in order to save us.
In Christ we have been set free. We have become members of his kingdom. Just as the soldiers took on William Wallace’s courage and qualities to go into battle, we take on our King’s qualities as we follow his mission of loving service. Are we going to enjoy our freedom and do what we please? Or, are we going to live now as members of Christ’s kingdom, and go into battle with him and for his kingdom so that others also be free?
In Christ’s love and friendship,