Yesterday’s celebration of Christ the King is such a perfect way to end out the liturgical year. It’s one of the better changes made in the new missal; I think it seems out of place in the Old Rite, stuck in October. So here we are, at the end of the year, and we get to meditate on the Kingship of Christ.
The homily I heard mentioned that God isn’t a genie that we can call up when we need Him, He is a King that we owe our allegiance to. Father also mentioned that we Americans tend to take issue with the idea of being subject to anyone and specifically to a King, but that there is no better monarch to swear our fealty to.
Pretty basic thoughts, but I want to go a little more in depth on them.
A genie is a fairly simple creature. Rub the lamp, get your wish, genie goes back in the bottle. Notwithstanding an evil sorcerer and a deranged parrot, you could carry the lamp around with you and call up phenomenal cosmic power every time you get in a pinch. That’s all there is to it.
A King is so much more than a dispenser of favors. A king is a judge, legislator, and military leader. A benevolent king also does dispense favors and treats his subjects with mercy. Lucky for us sinners, our God is a just yet merciful king.
Unfortunately, secularism had led most of the world, particularly America in its unique experimental democracy, to treat God more like a genie. That was why in 1925 the feast of Christ the King was established. It’s only gotten worse since then. Benedict XVI much more recently referred to a “practical atheism” that has taken over the culture at large. We acknowledge that God exists and that we owe Him our allegiance, but live as if we did not believe in God at all.
These practical atheists are those most likely to run to that magic lamp as soon as things go wrong for them too. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve probably been guilty of that line of thinking fairly often. I know I have.
But life is so much better when we shake ourselves out of our practical atheism and take Christ as Our King.
A benevolent King does not make laws to limit or punish his people, he makes those rules to protect and fulfill his people. A benevolent king is lenient with judgment, giving his subjects chances after chances to return to good. A good king fights for his subjects and would die before allowing an enemy to enslave his people.
It’s a good life under that kind of king.
And that’s the kind of King our God is. What’s more, Our King went even further and took our sins upon Himself becoming also our Savior and Redeemer. We sell Him so short when we limit him to just being a genie that we acknowledge only in times of need or want.
Our King is our Victor. Our King is our Ruler. Our King is our Lord and our Redeemer.