When we think of kings, or of royalty in general, certain expectations come to mind. We expect to see a certain level of pomp and pageantry, and the royals themselves have strict rules that they must abide by when in public. There are also certain symbols that we expect to see: fine jeweled crowns, elegant clothing- the list goes on and on. Recently, all this pomp and pageantry was on full display in the wake of the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. It will be displayed once again in the spring when the official coronation of King Charles III takes place.
Throughout the centuries, and even during the time of Jesus, people recognized the status symbols that marked royalty. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why we see Jesus being mocked in today’s Gospel: because even though he is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, he does not embrace any of the traditional symbols of royalty. Instead of riding into Jerusalem on a purebred horse, he enters the city on a donkey. Instead of living in an ornate palace, he lives as an itinerant preacher, dependent upon the generosity of others. His only crown was a crown of thorns, which was made to mock him. Instead of being seated on a throne, he was hung on a cross between two thieves.
Jesus does all of this to remind us that his kingdom is a different type of kingdom, that is not of this world. It is a kingdom based on service of others, love of neighbour, and whose king leads by example, instead of issuing decrees from on high. Pope Francis has continually reminded us of the example of Christ, who teaches us that true authority comes through service to others. Jesus demonstrates this most powerfully when he knelt to wash his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper.
Speaking of service, it has been such a joy to see our young people who are preparing for Confirmation engaging in service at the 7:30 pm Mass at Assumption on Sundays. Confirmations will take place at St. Alphonsus on December 4 at the Noon Mass, at St. Angela on December 11 at 11:30 am, and at Assumption on December 11 at 7:30 pm. Please continue to keep these young men and women in your prayers as the prepare to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation and be strengthened by the gifts of the Holy Spirit! May the Spirit help all of us to lead lives of service, inspired by the example of Christ the King.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB