25 11 / 2012
The Catholic Church celebrates today as the feast of Christ the King. The gospel readings are taken from Daniel 7, 13-14; Psalm 93; Revelations 1, 5-8 and John18, 33-37. The link line to the readings is attached. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112512.cfm What I try below is not to reflect on these scriptures. Rather it is to comment on the unique and exemplary life of Christ, our saviour and king.
His birth was in a lowly place, among lowly creatures, yet shepherds, wise men, kings and angels trooped to the venue to worship and adore Him and to celebrate his princehood/kingship. His life was a simple one, shunning all materialism and yet He endowed humanity with one of the greatest wealths and assets one can ever think of - a pattern of life, an ideology, that minimises conflicts through love and forgiveness and which alleviates poverty by the acts of charity and generous giving - the giving of time, money and care to each according need. He was equal to His father, yet He humbled Himself in total obedience to God’s will and now sits at the highest place in heaven. He was simple, a man of sorrow, and yet He brought the world so much joy. He mixed freely with the poor, the downtrodden, the marginalised but bestowed them with riches that do not know corruption or depletion. There were no contradictions in His life - He walked His talk and talked His walk. His life knew no discrimination, no favouritisms, except to recognise and applaud those who kept God’s words in their hearts and lived them out in their lives. Modern rulers will need to study this gentleman’s rule and try to pick up a few vital lessons in people focused, service oriented, truth seeking and justice driven leadership. A few observations on this man’s life are therefore in order here -
Here is a king who correctly saw leadership as service – He washed the feet of his apostles, and instructed them on the elevating powers of humility. How very different from some of our current world leaders, kings, princes, presidents, pastors and politicians.
Here is a king who lived a simple life, preferring to enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey when he could easily have commanded a fitting horse drawn gold gilded carriage. This is totally different from the noisy disruptive motorcades we have now come to associate with movements of our elected leaders or the expensive planes our men of God now own and display
Here is a king who preached forgiveness and practised forgiveness – His generous forgiveness of the woman caught in adultery (where is and what happened to her male partner in crime, by the way?) and His ability, at the height of the intense pains of crucifixion, to pray for those who crucified Him stand out very clearly. This is quite different from some of our leaders whose lives are trapped in dark dungeons of un-forgiveness and whose lives are ruled by hate and spite.
Here is a king who is sensitive to the food needs of people around him that He multiplied fish and bread to feed them all. This is quite different from our modern rulers who live in sinful opulence whilst their citizens die of hunger
Here is a king who feels our pain – his tears at the death of Lazarus show a king abounding in emotions and empathy. This is quite different from the rulers of today who ensconce themselves behind thick walls of indifference, miles removed from the realities of those they rule and totally insensitive or unresponsive to their needs or their pains
Here is a king who heals and who restores, a king who can recall us from death, spiritual and physical.
Here is a king with a zero tolerance for falsehood and who was willing to stick out his neck and sacrifice Himself for the truth – His encounter with Pilate ably portrays this. This is quite different from modern rulers who have a different kind of truth for each audience they engage with, leaders and politicians whose every word is as slippery as okro and ogbono combined.
The model King is Jesus Christ. This is Jesus Christ, our everlasting king, whose kingship we celebrate always and which we remember in a particular way, today.
As we celebrate,
· May we further the advance of this kingdom by our acts of love, faith, charity and piety. His kingdom was one of life in its fullness - may our own lives be full.
· May men and women lead fuller and happier lives in our life time.
· May we contribute to greater human happiness built on sure foundations of truth, justice, peace, inclusiveness and balance - amen!
· May Christ’s kingdom of love, peace and justice, happiness reign in our hearts & hearths!
Eze, biri kwa-o! Olorun, kabiyesi-o! Sarki mun, Zaki, muna geisha ka kowei!
Happy celebrations to all us.