Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hail to the King!

There are those who say that today's feast of Christ the King was dead at birth. It was instituted in 1925 as a kind of riposte to the claims of secularism and totalitarianism--but by 1925, what developed nation had a throne that really was a seat of government any more?
And yet...nature abhors a vacuum, and so does society. Absent ruling kings and queens, culture anointed new royalty, over new domains. Think Elvis. Think the "Camelot years" in the White House. Think Michael Jackson. Heck, you can even think "Prince" (if you really want to).
Are we hard-wired for royalty?
In "Jesus of Nazareth," Pope Benedict notes that "in the ancient Near East...the king refers to himself as a shepherd.... one could therefore say that, in view of its origins, [the] image of Christ the Good Shepherd is a Gospel of Christ the king, an image that sheds light upon the kingdom of Christ." "Of course, in the Old Testament God himself appears as the Shepherd of Israel."
So we really are hard-wired for royalty--not that of a tyrant-king quick to say "Off with their heads!"--but a Good Shepherd-King who lays down his life for his sheep.

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