Feast of Christ the King Reflection
Paradox and contradiction confound us, unsettle us … set of teeth on edge.
We want to be on the leader board, we want to stand out and be recognised, yet at the same time we embrace the anonymity of the crowd.
Our mimetic nature demands a scapegoat to hide from our own uncomfortable guilt, yet at the other extreme we also demand a supreme commander, an ultimate ruler, an Emperor, a Czar or even our favourite sports star or film star to guide us and to lead us and most especially, to divert us from our uncertainty and fear.
In the cracks between these contradictions is to be found our greatest weakness as well as our greatest strength. Here we come face-to-face with our hypocrisy that allows us to make such easy bedfellows with all the deadly sins.
The Great Paradox
But it is also here that we come face-to-face with the great paradox of the power of love that is at the same time totally vulnerable. The greatest is found among the smallest. Honour and power found in the powerless one who came to serve; who comes to us as a servant; who comes to us in the simplicity of bread and wine.
In the midst of this great paradox lies also our greatest shame; our rejection of the vulnerability of love for the glitter of imperial power. This is the journey we are on and on and a choice made earlier has distracted us from the truth and beauty within us. It is a choice of darkness over light, the choice of illusion over Truth; and so we demanded… “Give us a king … a king like all the other nations have”.
These kingdoms continue to collide as Jesus and Pilate face each other in the Praetorian.
All the glittering spender and symbols of imperial power that rules the world facing an imprisoned worker, Jesus the servant who washes the feet of his disciples. Jesus humbles and shames us with our own flirtation and intoxication with those same glittering splendid symbols of imperial power. How often have we used power to dominate rather than to serve? Lord forgive us.
Scripture has warned us; Jesus warns us: “look not for Truth, Life and Light in the imperial courts of earthly power; look not for joy and peace in these places … Look for me among the small, the discarded, the ravaged, the naked, and the poor.” This is where Jesus the Christ, our model and guide is to be found.
We know and acknowledge that this great contradiction lies within us. How often we fall short and must we begin again!
High Places Make Us Deaf and Blind
From his throne of earthly power and domination Pilate is unable to hear Jesus, unable to understand Jesus. The glamour and allure of prestige and domination makes us deaf to the vulnerability of the voice of love.
It is in communion that we come to see with God’s eyes, to walk with each other as brothers and sisters seeking to hear always the Word of God, who comes to us amongst the vulnerable, defeated and rejected: a little child born in an animal stall.
To hear and to encounter this Word of Love for us together as God’s family, yet also for each one of us by name, brings us that peace and that joy that the world cannot give.
During the month of November we remember all our beloved deceased brothers and sisters remembering “The leaf”.
I asked the leaf whether it was frightened because it was autumn and the other leaves were falling.
The leaf told me, “No. During the whole spring and summer I was completely alive.
I worked hard to help nourish the tree, and now much of me is in the tree.
I am not limited by this form. I am also the whole tree, and when I go back to the soil, I will continue to nourish the tree.
So I don’t worry at all.
As I leave this branch and float to the ground, I will wave to the tree and tell her, ‘I will see you again very soon’.