Remember when you were young, a child maybe, how the idea of someone really, really powerful captivated you? Superman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, and all kinds of “superheroes” were part of our life, both in our imaginations, and in our play and conversation with other kids. We were charmed, sucked in, and loved stories of “heroes” who always overcame incredible odds, beat the bad guy, and helped the little guy. Fact is, even today, a good story about a hero is a great draw whether in a TV show, a book or a movie.
When we think of a contemporary hero, there may be different types of situations we see him/her involved in, given these modern times. Yet there are certain constant common denominators regardless of whether the hero is from ancient, medieval or modern times. The hero is the one who somehow takes care of, protects, and defends the “little guy” in our midst. What creates this fascination? Could it be that it stems from the reality that we ae all called to act in such ways in our lives?
Today’s Feast of Christ the King is all about the most extraordinary of all heroes – – Jesus, the Son of God. This is the day when we exult in the kingship of Jesus of Nazareth. In the richest Judeo-Christian tradition, we remember just what this King was all about. In the first reading from the prophet Daniel we read about the one who received all power, kingship, and dominion of all peoples and nations.
By His exemplary life and teaching, Jesus, the King, models for us how we are to live heroically. Jesus teaches us that this King is the Good Shepherd who searches out the lost and cares for the lonesome and weak. He’s the one who hears the cry of the poor, heals the sick, and comforts the afflicted. He is the One who speaks the truth to those in power and offers hope to those in despair.
This King ends up the servant of all, who demonstrates that He came to serve and not to be served; who washes the feet of His disciples and invites His followers to imitate Him. This King is so powerful that he instructs us that there is only one command that God has given us: to love God and our neighbor as ourselves.
Jesus knows and shows that real power comes from the ability to let go of our concern only for ourselves and those we love, and take on the mantle of discipleship: service to all, especially this most marginalized and despised by society’s standards, as he did, not because it is easy to do so, but precisely because it takes heroic amounts of strength.
The Feast of Christ the King brings to light the enduring truth and paradox:
Real power is found in authentic service. We all possess this ability interiorly. With God’s grace we can cultivate it by following the example of Jesus and
strive to create a world in which the power of love overcomes in the end.