Sunday, Nov. 22, is the Solemnity of Christ the King (Year B, Cycle I).
This Solemnity of Christ the King will have a special meaning for our family. We will “enthrone” an image of the Sacred Heart in our home.
We got the idea from friends in Connecticut. There, a Dominican from a local parish performed an enthronement ceremony in their home and ours. The ceremony involves a house Mass with special prayers of consecration and dedication.
“The enthronement is not merely the placing of a sacred object in the home,” said Archbishop Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court. “It is … a way of life, the acceptance of Christ as King of my heart, as my constant Companion, as my Friend, helping me and guiding me in the small and big matters of daily life. As Bishop of La Crosse [Wis.], I urged very much the enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”
He said he heard numerous reports “recounting special graces received by the family members” after their enthronements.
To find more about enthronement, Google “enthronement.” The link from “Women for Faith & Family” has a lot of resources.
The chairman of the philosophy department here at Benedictine College passed on a movie his family discovered: The Maldonado Miracle, a 2003 Showtime movie directed by Selma Hayek and starring Peter Fonda as a priest. It’s a movie the whole family can watch about faith, in which the Church is treated with respect and even admiration.
Daniel 7:13-14; Psalm 93:1, 1-2, 5; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18:33-37
Today’s Gospel shows Jesus to be a terrible diplomat and a not-very-good plea bargainer. That’s the natural meaning of the Gospel, unless you consider three things:
1. Jesus is God.
2. Jesus has voluntarily made himself guilty of all the sins of mankind.
3. Jesus loves Pilate eternally.
Pilate questions Jesus: “Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus knows exactly why he’s asking what he’s asking.
Pilate is interviewing Jesus because the Sanhedrin has basically forced him to. He doesn’t want to aggravate the Sanhedrin. He also doesn’t want to get involved in religious infighting.
Jesus doesn’t exploit the situation to try to gain his freedom, as he easily could. Instead, he answers him the way an equal or superior would, not the way a prisoner would: “Do you say this on your own, or have others put you up to it?”
This is the Lord posing a question to a government functionary, not a trapped man pleading with a guard. But how could Jesus be greater than Pilate? Only in a supernatural way.
“Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me,” says Pilate. “What have you done?”
There are several answers to this question. “I have done nothing wrong” leaps to mind as a good one.
But Jesus doesn’t say that. Throughout his passion he never says he is innocent. The reason is clear: He’s not. He has made himself guilty of sins for our sake.
But he warns Pilate instead: “My Kingdom does not belong to this world.”
Pilate thinks he has him. “Then you are a king?”
Jesus answers in such a way that he makes clear that he is a king, and a divine one at that, but also that his Kingdom is no political threat to Pilate: “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
He is giving Pilate one last chance — because he loves Pilate totally.
Pilate lets his opportunity pass and to this day is known for nothing at all except that he failed to do the right thing at this moment.
Jesus accepts Pilate’s judgment as he accepted everything else that day. He has submitted himself to the humiliations of his passion in order to atone for our sins. So he is willing to undergo a small-time governor’s dismissive sentence. But the way he does it reveals that he is not only Pilate’s equal, he’s much more.
He is a king.
Tom and April Hoopes were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine. Tom Hoopes is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and a former Register editor.