20 November, Sunday – Leader by Example

Nov 20 – Solemnity of Christ The King

Christ the King is a title of Jesus based on several passages of scripture and used by all Christians. The name is found in various forms in scripture: King Eternal (1 Timothy 1:17), King of Israel (John 1:49), King of the Jews (Matthew 27:11), King of kings (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16), King of the Ages (Revelation 15:3), and Ruler of the Kings of the Earth (Revelation 1:5).

Many denominations including Catholics, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and some Lutherans and Methodists celebrate the Feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday of the liturgical year.

The ideological movement of Christ’s Kingship was addressed in Pope Pius XI’s encyclical Quas Primas (“In The First”). In it, he quotes with approval St. Cyril of Alexandria, noting that Jesus’ Kingship is not obtained by violence: “Christ has dominion over all creatures, a dominion not seized by violence nor usurped, but his by essence and by nature.”

Pope Benedict XVI has remarked that Christ’s Kingship is not based on “human power” but on loving and serving others. The perfect exemplar of that acceptance is the Virgin Mary, he pointed out. Her humble and unconditional acceptance of God’s will in her life, the Pope noted, was the reason that “God exalted her over all other creatures, and Christ crowned her Queen of heaven and earth”.

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2 Samuel 5:1-3

All the tribes of Israel then came to David at Hebron. ‘Look’ they said ‘we are your own flesh and blood. In days past when Saul was our king, it was you who led Israel in all their exploits; and the Lord said to you, “You are the man who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you shall be the leader of Israel.”’

So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a pact with them at Hebron in the presence of the Lord, and they anointed David king of Israel.

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Colossians 1:12-20

We give thanks to the Father who has made it possible for you to join the saints and with them to inherit the light.
Because that is what he has done: he has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that he loves, and in him, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.

He is the image of the unseen God
and the first-born of all creation,
for in him were created
all things in heaven and on earth:
everything visible and everything invisible,
Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers –
all things were created through him and for him.
Before anything was created, he existed,
and he holds all things in unity.
Now the Church is his body,
he is its head.

As he is the Beginning,
he was first to be born from the dead,
so that he should be first in every way;
because God wanted all perfection
to be found in him
and all things to be reconciled through him and for him,
everything in heaven and everything on earth,
when he made peace
by his death on the cross.

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Luke 23:35-43

The people stayed there before the cross watching Jesus. As for the leaders, they jeered at him. ‘He saved others,’ they said ‘let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.’ The soldiers mocked him too, and when they approached to offer vinegar they said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’ Above him there was an inscription: ‘This is the King of the Jews.’

One of the criminals hanging there abused him. ‘Are you not the Christ?’ he said. ‘Save yourself and us as well.’ But the other spoke up and rebuked him. ‘Have you no fear of God at all?’ he said. ‘You got the same sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it: we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus,’ he said ‘remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ ‘Indeed, I promise you,’ he replied ‘today you will be with me in paradise.’

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Indeed I promise you today you will be with me in paradise.

People often think of kings as monarchs who are of royal blood and who are responsible for the lives of many people. The same image was expected of Jesus which resulted in him being mocked at the Cross as they were expecting a king like David in the first reading. However, if we reflect into the first reading, it is not what it seems.

The tribes of Israel acknowledged the kingship of David because God had appointed Him. They were clearly aware of the anointing David had received from Samuel and this was borne in the many military exploits which David had won. It was not the military exploits that legitimized David as a rule but the fact that he had been anointed by God. Jesus did not need any anointing because He was already the anointed one; in fact Christ is Greek for “anointed”. Jesus had received the anointing from God the Father himself.

When we make the decision to be a Christian, we choose to accept Jesus as the Head of our lives. This means we have to acknowledge His teachings and direction in our lives. Whilst it may seem futile for us at the moment, we need to remember that not all of us can have the same fortune as the repentant thief to acknowledge our sins to Jesus. Jesus is not a military commander who will dictate and force us to behave in a particular manner. Instead, He gently leads us towards Him and reminds us of the great love He has shown us by dying on the Cross for us. That act is the ultimate act a King can do i.e. to lay down his life for his friends. Let us take time to acknowledge Jesus as our King who leads us by example and not by command.

 (Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)

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Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray for obedience to listen to you.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who struggle to lead a good Christian life.

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