dgo. November 20; Solemnity of Christ the King THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THIS KING

dgo. November 20; Solemnity of Christ the King THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THIS KING

Raúl Moris G. Pbro.

The title of King was indisputably linked to the messianic hope that animated the people of Israel in the last centuries of waiting before the coming of Jesus: the Messiah, (the Anointed One) that is, the Christ, had to be of the offspring of David, the King of Israel par excellence, the promise made since his time was the promise of the descendant who would perpetuate the dynasty until eternity; once the house of David disappeared, the promise is reinterpreted as that of the descendant who, preserved for the end of time, will restore the royal house to elevate Israel above all nations and establish God’s definitive reign over all peoples.

The recognition that the first communities make of Jesus as the awaited Messiah will lead them to revise the image of the King that had fed the hope of the people for centuries, in order to understand how the true royalty of Christ is manifested, making the effort to understand the unprecedented and deeply countercultural figure of Jesus as King.

Jesus is not King, if by “king” we understand the political and military leader who was to lead the nation of Israel along the path of conquest and despotic domination; Jesus is not King, if in the meaning of the word “king” we accommodate the arrogance of the powerful, of those who take the simple exercise of power, as a forceful and definitive argument to impose their points of view, to establish as law his own will; Jesus is not King, if we understand by “king” the one who seeks to subdue others by force, to impose at all costs, at any price, the convictions of the group that legitimizes him, no matter how fair those convictions may seem, he is not King, because he claims the right to revenge, to the opportunity of revenge; Jesus is not King, if by “king” we understand the one who uses and abuses the prerogatives of his position, and is placed above all as an unquestionable authority, not to serve those who have been entrusted to his leadership, those who have been put into their hands, but to use them.

The kingship of Christ is of an entirely different kind; so different, that it will not be at the moment of greatest popularity in his ministry when this royalty is proclaimed (the Gospel according to Saint John, tells us at the end of the episode of the multiplication of the bread and the fishes -messianic sign par excellence- that Jesus flees from the crowd because they wanted to proclaim him King in those circumstances [Jn 6,15]) but at the moment of maximum failure, in which, abandoned by his closest followers, he has fallen into the siege that the powerful of this world have set for him – who now forget the differences that distance them, to coincide in a single and same iniquity-; Jesus will be enthroned King at the moment when he is erected on the aridity of the Golgotha ​​hill, at the moment when the tree of the Cross rises to heaven from that barren mountain.

And it must be here, where the nature of the reign of Jesus is manifested in an absolute way, so that it is not confused with any of the rude games of power. Christ is the defeated King, whose throne is the scaffold; but in whose defeat the triumph of God’s justice shines in all his fullness, defeated Jesus is not a victim of events, the cross is not the fatal accident that cut short his career; on the contrary, he has marched resolutely towards her, he has hardened his face for the ascent to Jerusalem – the painful descent towards his death – because only in this way will his work of redemption be consummated, because only here is the meaning of the Incarnation complete, because Only in this way can humanity as a whole assume its deepest consequences: in absolute obedience, which redeems extreme disobedience, which has brought death into the world as an expression of the maximum heartbreak that man can experience. Here, on the Cross, Jesus embodies the pristine ideal of the King: the first among his people, head of his people, who is realized by giving his life to the last breath for the rescue of those who have been entrusted to him; Jesus is the King, because he gives himself up to death so that his people can have a chance at life.

And his royalty is fully exercised in the act of forgiveness. There is no feeling of defeat and desolation in the Crucified, but words of welcome and forgiveness. Jesus does not die uttering threats, nor – as those who mock him seem to expect – doing an act of force and power that somehow manifests his kingship in a supernatural way, freeing him from the fate that has befallen him as a result; what the witnesses of the crucifixion are contemplating is a finished man, pushed to the limit of his resistance, about to expire, exhausted, bled to death; they do not attend the spectacle of an actor who interprets his painful role well, but which is nothing but a role from which he can get rid of, and yet, from his mouth not a word of reproach comes out of those who are causing him to suffer unspeakable pain, but rather of a deep understanding of the misery of the human condition.

Here – let us understand it well – Jesus is truly dying; but in the midst of this trance there are not even words of threat, there are no last-minute protest harangues, there are only words of deep solidarity and fraternal welcome before those who open their eyes and hearts to the profound mystery of the mercy of God who dies for give us life, even if this opening –as occurs in the case of the contrite criminal- is at the last hour of his life, even if he does not have time to amend what he has done; the mere acknowledgment of who is dying by his side -and the consequence that this acknowledgment carries: conversion- is enough for the thief to also be touched by the saving act that is taking place, that of the one who has come to give his life in rescue of a crowd, of the crowd that wants to welcome and cling with faith to that sacrifice of salvation.

On the cross next to that of Christ, the “today” of the reign of God takes place; The thief’s request finds a surprising echo in the joyous paradox with which Jesus responds: it is not in an uncertain future, when the Lord will remember him, “when you come in your Kingdom” it will happen today for the thief; On the arid mountain of Calvary, the rare word “Paradise” flourishes with all its exuberance (which only appears three times in the New Testament and only once -precisely here- in the Gospels, a word that did not exist in Aramaic and which the Greek of the translation of the Seventy, had to borrow from the Persian, to be able to name the free wonder of the Garden of Eden, as God’s first gift to man): this is the Kingdom and Paradise: the fruitful experience of current love and irrepressible, without measure or conditions, the Father’s love for us, sealed by the Son on the cross.

In the scene of the cross; that love and that mercy do not take revenge, they do not require petty revenge; the sovereignty of this King, openly displays the banner of forgiveness, Christ wins – the defeated King – in the unquestionable triumph of love poured out to the last drop.

dgo. November 20; Solemnity of Christ the King THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THIS KING