Sunday, Nov. 25, is the Solemnity of Christ the King.
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Daniel 7:13-14; Psalms 93:1, 1-2, 5; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18:33-37
Today is the Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe — but looking at the state of the world, he seems like an absent king.
That puts us in Robin Hood’s position. In the old story, King Richard the Lionheart is away in the Holy Land fighting a crusade — a mission that could take many years in his day. In his absence, his brother John, aided by the Sheriff of Nottingham, rules in a corrupt and oppressive way. When the king’s away, the true followers of the king have a very difficult time. To remain faithful to the spirit of their true ruler, they must become “outlaws.”
They are a little bit like Christians today awaiting the return of Christ the King.
Of course, our king is not absent in the way King Richard is. At the same moment that Christ told his followers, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” he also told them, “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
He is very much with us in the Eucharist and in the Church. But he has also directed us to take his place in the mission as we “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe” his commandments.
What is our job? It isn’t terribly different from Robin Hood and Little John’s: We are to do what we can to live his Kingdom and await his return. We are to be detached from the corrupt ways of the realm, help the poor and fight the enemies of the Kingdom, just like they did.
As we await Christ’s return, it also might not feel like Jesus is the great King of the Universe who is setting all things in order. But he is. And we can remind ourselves that, upon his return, everything is going to change.
The first reading, from the Book of Daniel, describes it: The Son of Man will receive “dominion, glory and kingship; all peoples, nations and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away; his kingship shall not be destroyed.”
The splendor of King Richard changed the culture of Sherwood Forest. But that is nothing to what Christ’s return to us will do to restore peace and good will — forever.
Tom and April Hoopes write from Atchison, Kansas,
where Tom is writer in residence at Benedictine College.