Abbot Raymond – Community Mass. 23rd Nov. 2008
The Kingship of Christ
“Are you a King then? Pilate asked Jesus. And Jesus reply was in no uncertain terms: “You have said it! For this was I born and for this I came into the world, to bear witness to the truth.”
Christ’s Kingship is indeed well attested to in both the old and the new Testaments. In his own life he displayed his power and authority over nature and even over life and death itself: He healed the sick; he raised the dead; he calmed the wind and the waves. There is no problem in understanding the reality of the power of Christ’s Kingship. But when it comes to understanding the exercise of his authority things are not so simple and obvious. When he gave power and authority to his Apostles he warned them not to use it as did the great ones of the earth. “They like to wield their authority and make it felt.” He told them. But their power authority were to be more in the order of service.
Nevertheless, authority is authority, and from one point of view we might almost say that Christ’s own authority, paramount as it is, is a kind of embarrassment to him. If He has to exercise it over us it seems to make his mission a failure. He seems to compromise the fruit of all that he strove to win from us. Because he came, above all, to win our love, and where authority has to be invoked, love has failed. Love, by its very nature, must be free, it cannot be forced. Any of this worlds leaders may have thousands at their beck and call, thousands who must obey them, but do they have any who love them freely?
The powers of this world can say to their subjects: “Do this, Do that”, and they must do it. They can say: “Come here. Go there.” And their servants must obey. But Jesus cannot speak like that or his mission fails. The only word that can come from the lips of Jesus is “Please!” It is the only request that befits love. In our conformity to the will of Jesus there is always something of a Nuptial Assent.
In this is the true glory of his Authority, the true meaning of his Kingship.
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