ON SUNDAY we will celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. But what does it really mean to profess Christ as our King … the Ruler of our Lives? In listening to common anecdotes of people traveling along E. Rodriguez Avenue, Quezon City, in search of Christ the King Seminary (of the SVD Priests and Brothers), one would usually hear the comment. “Where is Christ the King? I have seen CkowKING, Tapa KING, Burger KING … even MetroBanKING. But, where can I find Christ the KING”? Indeed, we have created so many alleged “Kings” in our midst that we have lost sight of the true King … Jesus Christ!
The thing or person that controls us the most is our KING. We may have the statue or picture of Christ the King in our home, but to what purpose does it serve? Is it a decoration or is it a sign of commitment to the truth that we profess to live by? Our Gospel tells us (Jn 18:33-37) that though Pilate knew the truth, he still persisted in asking Jesus. “Are you a King?” The dialogue did not lead the truth for he was not interested in it. Pilate refused to face the truth because he was committed to a wrong belief … a pseudo-KING.
To profess Christ as the center and “King” of our lives means surrendering our thoughts, feelings and deeds to his Divine will and presence … not just in our words but in our actions as well. In illustrating a sharp contrast to this proposition, let us consider the lesson of this simple story taken from the book, “Three Little Words” by Francis Kong:
One year, there was a terrible flood that deluged a small Midwestern town located in a valley between two rivers. Both rivers had overflowed to their banks and the rains continued to fall day and night. There was no relief in sight as the town slowly, but surely, was being flooded. Everyone evacuated, except for one old man who refused to leave his house – which would definitely be completely submerged. “I have faith that God will save me,” the old man shouted at everyone who implored him to leave and flee to higher ground. The man believed in the power of prayer, and he trusted that God would, somehow, save him. As the water covered the roads, making them impassable for car; various individuals riding a truck, rowboat and helicopter alternately saw the man and offered him a ride to safety. But to each person all he would say was, “No … Go away! God will deliver me from this flood.” Eventually, the water engulfed the house and the old man perished in the flood. When the old man arrived at the gates of heaven, he asked Saint Peter if he could have a talk with God. Peter took him to the throne of grace. “Oh, Lord, I prayed earnestly for the rains to stop and for your deliverance from the flood. But you left me there to drown. I don’t understand! I had faith. I believed you would deliver me, but why didn’t you?” asked the old man. And then he had his answer. “My child, I heard your prayers. I sent you a four-wheel-drive truck, a rowboat, and a helicopter. Why did you send them away?”
Just as Jesus represents God the Father before the world, we too in our own simple way may represent Jesus before the people we come to meet day after. And, if Jesus really means so much to us, we are solemnly obliged to serve him as our rightful King. Empowered by our sense of Faith, and strengthened by promptings of the Holy Spirit we should constantly stand by the TRUTH and face the challenges posed by this vigilance. We perfectly know (at least in Theory) that Guns, Goons & Gold … Pay-off, Personality and Patronage are the eroding evils that constantly haunt our political landscape but do we stand up against it?
Our belief in Christ the King means manifesting our deep sense of faith in the course of our day-to-day lives, and not just by mere lip service. It means standing for the truth even if the rest of the world goes against you. It represents a commitment to transform and renew the temporal order even if seems futile to do so. And, it is an embodiment of the goodness we can offer amid the eroding evils of our time. Our pro-active political engagement is always a test of this commitment.
This brings us back to our original mission to love and to serve Him. To love Him is to serve Him. Love motivates us to give ourselves completely to God. The spirituality of stewardship sees love in terms of giving. Giving and receiving are behaviors of the good steward. The experience of giving ourselves personally to God helps us to become the disciple He has called us to be. Once we become a disciple, we can go and make other disciples. We don’t have to go far, as the barangay is the place to seek out others who have not yet discovered God. The parish becomes alive in stewardship spirituality. We truly discover that God is personal and can be known personally.
“In searching for an ideal king, the people were seeking God himself: a God who would be close to them, who would accompany them on their journey, who would be a brother to them. Christ, the descendant of King David, is really the ‘brother’ around whom God’s people come together. It is He who cares for his people, for all of us, even at the price of his life. In him we are all one, one people, united with him and sharing a single journey, a single destiny. Only in him, in him as the center, do we receive our identity as a people” (Pope Francis).
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