From the Pastor – November 20, 2011

Then the king will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.” (Mt. 25:34-36)

What does it mean to be “king”? The word calls to mind different images for each of us. Some of the older parishioners might recall King George VI, the father of the current Queen Elizabeth of England who died in 1952. For younger people, the word king might call to mind something completely different. One person might think of Rex, the King of Carnival. Another might think of using the word as being a superlative, like “Elvis the King,” or “Michael Jackson, the King of Pop.” Or it might call to mind the many famous people with “king” in their name, like Martin Luther King, or Billie Jean King, or even Don King, with his crown of hair!

Webster’s defines king as “a male monarch of a major territorial unit; especially : one whose position is hereditary and who rules for life.” Although there are secondary meanings, this seems to be the most obvious. So, let’s apply it to the words of Jesus above. Jesus is the king; He inherited His Kingdom from His Father; and His Father has prepared that Kingdom for us. And it’s called Heaven.

The Jewish people at the time of Jesus were expecting a king – the Messiah, or anointed one – to come deliver them from their enemies. And the word Messiah is translated in Greek as “Cristos.” So we actually proclaim Jesus as King every time we call Him “Christ.” But where was His kingship revealed? It’s paradoxical. It was in that place where those four words were nailed on a sign over his head: “Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum” – Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. We might remember those words by the initials: INRI. The cross was at that place that Jesus secured our place in the Heavenly Kingdom by conquering death itself.

But it’s still up to us. On this last Sunday of the liturgical year, as we move toward Advent, we’re reminded of the last thing: death. That’s how we reach the Kingdom. But we do it as sons and daughters who bear that “kingship” in our own names. We’re named after Christ the King. We’re Christians.

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty