From a Chapter Talk by Mother Kathy given to the nuns of Our Lady of the Redwoods Abbey on the Solemnity of Christ the King:

Jesus: A Different Kind of King

How would we describe who Jesus is? And for more perspective: How does Jesus exercise authority in his ministry? The gospels themselves are revelatory and reflect the type of ‘king’ Jesus is. One’s normal understanding of ‘king’ is turned upside down, inside out in applying this title to Jesus. Who Jesus is gives us a stunning contrast, which is wholly other than what or who a ‘king’ normally is.

What does Jesus rule by? The scripture scholar Fr. John Donahue SJ says that Jesus “reigns not from a throne but…from the cross” (Hearing the Word of God, p.137). Fr. Donahue emphasizes that Jesus’ reign from the cross “is a different vision of power….his rule is seeking the lost, offering salvation to those who call out to him, and making friends of enemies” (p.138). Indeed, Jesus lived and embodied a different vision of power, one where God’s love is central…where all is given over to the transforming power of God. Applying the title of ‘king’ to Jesus to describe who he is and his whole ministry is giving not only an understanding of the ways of God, but as well, new wine and new skins to how Divine authority is to be lived. This solemnity of Christ the King places Christ at the center of Christian faith. This is a transformational shift in what guides and directs our lives. Through, in and with Christ, a whole new horizon of faith and Divine life is bestowed upon humanity and all of creation. The Philippians hymn describes well the paradoxical ‘kingship’ of Jesus: “His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God…” Instead, he emptied himself, surrendering to the will of God totally, no matter where it will lead him.

Pope Francis comments: “Jesus wants to make it understood that above and beyond political power there is another even greater one, which is not obtained by human means. He has come to earth to exercise this power, which is love, by bearing witness to the truth (cf. v. 37), the divine truth which ultimately is the essential message of the Gospel: “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8); and he wishes to establish in the world his kingdom of love, justice and peace. And this is the kingdom of which Jesus is king, and which extends until the end of times….And how do you do this? Allow the love of God, the Kingdom of God, the love of Jesus, to take root in your heart and you will have peace, you will have freedom and you will have fulfilment” (Angelus, November 25, 2018). Dear sisters, is this not, then, our ‘mission’ on this earth? To be wide open for God’s love to take root in us. With God’s love as our foundation, we are given the divine heart and eyes to bear witness to the truth…the truth that is fully rooted in the gospel and in Christ. It is no longer ‘my truth’ which is ego based but gospel based, the truth that Jesus embodied of who God is and how Divine power is understood and exercised.

The liturgical year ends with this solemnity of ‘Christ the King’. It is a fitting end for it places the centrality of Christ before us, the centrality of his love. We become more like him as we live from the radicality of Divine love,…a love that has been bestowed from the cross of Christ. Let us not forget, then, that for us to embody this same love it will be purified by suffering, and received through kenosis, self-emptying. This prepares the vessel of our lives to be Christ-like in all that we are and in all that we do, in our loving and in our forgiving, in our bearing witness to the truth, the truth of God.