King of Hearts
Sanchez, Patricia Datchuck, National Catholic Reporter
NOVEMBER 21, 2010, CHRIST THE KING
2 Sm 5:1-3; Ps 122; Col 1:12-20; Lk 23:35-43
At the time of her death on a Paris roadway in August 1997, Diana Spencer had already been relieved of her title, Her Royal Highness. Still regarded as a member of the royal family because she was the mother of two future heirs to the throne, she was nevertheless no longer part of the monarchy. She no longer had a palace; she did not wear a crown, nor did she perform any official duties for the queen. Still, Spencer was held in high regard by the British people and by many throughout the world who admired her dedication to the sick and her extensive work in trying to ban land mines. This admiration led those who mourned her passing to give her the title "Queen of Hearts." Even without a title or a crown, she continued to reign within the hearts of those who loved her. Hers was not an imposed authority, but one that was bestowed on her by admiring subjects.
In a sense, the feast of Jesus Christ as King is celebrated within a similar ambience. Jesus' reign over his disciples is not an imposed dominion but a warm welcome extended to one who is loved and admired as king of all hearts. As William Bausch affirmed, Jesus was a king like no other, in that he did not have a scepter but he did have a towel with which he washed his disciples' feet (Once Upon a Gospel, Twenty-Third Publications, 2008).
Jesus had no standing army, but he did have followers. He did not sit on a throne but on the back of a donkey. He wore no crown of gold, but one of thorns. He did not use his authority to take life but to give it. He did not set boundaries or entertain only the nobility; he welcomed prostitutes, tax collectors, foreigners and thieves. He did not exploit people but spoke sympathetically of widows, prodigals, Samaritans and the poor. He did not wield the sword of punishment but extended mercy and forgiveness: "Today you will be with me in paradise." He did not coerce, he invited, and rather than tax his subjects to pay the debts of his monarchy, he laid down his own life so that the "debt" of human sin would be forgiven. He did not come to conquer but to save.
When the leadership and the kingship of Jesus are compared to other leaders today and throughout history, it is clear that he has no equal. As he is presented in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, Jesus could trace his lineage to David, whose importance is underscored in today's first reading. …