The Perspective of Justice

An Upside-Down Kingdom

Today’s liturgy presents us with two perspectives on Christ the King. The first is Jesus Christ, the King of the universe, Christ, the King of all creation, “he who is the beginning, the first-born of the dead, so that primacy may be his in everything” (Col 1:18). The other perspective on Jesus is the one inscribed over his head as he hung on the cross: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Jesus is King of the Jews. Who were, and are, the Jews? They were the slaves of Egypt. They were the captives of Babylon. They were the despised people on the fringe of the Roman Empire. Down the centuries, they have been the landless outcasts of Christian Europe.

In our own time, they were the declared enemy of the “master race,” which hounded, tortured, and brutally killed them. And Jesus is their King!

Christ the King rules from a throne made to execute criminals. His Kingdom is a place of death outside the city. His subjects are the poor and outcast, the rejected of this world. In this upside-down Kingdom, it is not the executor but the executed who will be with Christ in paradise

What Jesus proclaims by word, he enacts in his ministry. ... His mighty works symbolize that the reign of God is more powerful than evil, sickness, and the hardness of the human heart.

He offers God’s loving mercy to sinners, takes up the cause of those who suffered religious and social discrimination, and attacks the use of religion to avoid the demands of charity and justice.

U.S. Bishops, Economic Justice for All, 1987, paragraph 24

Gerald Darring

Now published in book form, To Love and Serve: Lectionary Based Meditations, by Gerald Darring This entire three year cycle is available at Amazon.com.

 

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson