Cusp-a point of transition, as from one historical period to the next;
the borders between the twelve astrological signs.
You are considered to be "on the cusp" if you were born
within a day or two of the beginning or end of any sign.

The Rocky Mountains, Lander's Peak, 1863; Albert Bierstadt

24 November 2012

The Solemnity of Christ the King

 Readings of the Day

“Christ Standing before Pilate, First Interview” by Tissot
Pilate said to Jesus,
"Are you the King of the Jews?"
Jesus answered, "Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?"
Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?"
Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here."
So Pilate said to him, "Then you are a king?"
Jesus answered, "You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."

John 18:33-37


Back in October in the heat of the presidential campaign I was scrolling down my Facebook page when I came upon this simple posting: a crown and beneath it the words, “No matter who is president, Jesus is king.” I reposted it with my comment that I would post it again the day after the election. I thought that after that bitterly fought election we would need a reminder of who really rules.
But the image that John gives us, should make us think long and hard about this King and his kingdom. Jesus is standing before Pilate. A Galilean carpenter, bound, standing before the representative of the Roman emperor in all the splendor of his position. Despite the appearances, Pilate is no match for Jesus even, if he does have the power to condemn or release him. When asked what he has done to be handed over Jesus replies,
 "My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over.”
In answering Pilate, Jesus says that his kingdom is not of this world. It is a kingdom not fought for by means of warfare. Rather, it testifies to truth. It will not kill for the truth, it will die for it. If Jesus is king, he will be a suffering king. He will not demand ransom. He will be ransom. He will win, not by spilling the blood of others, but by offering up his own.
“My kingdom does not belong to this world.” Where is his kingdom then? The Kingdom of God is a condition. Its symptoms are love, justice, and peace.”
“The Kingdom of God is within us, for the word of God is in our mind, on our lips and in our heart.”
 “It exists in every home where parents and children love each other. It exists in every region and country, that cares for its weak and vulnerable. It exists in every parish, that reaches out to the needy.
“It happens whenever someone feeds a hungry person, or shelters a homeless person, or shows care to a neglected person. It happens whenever we overturn an unjust law, or correct an injustice, or avert a war. It happens whenever people join in the struggle to overcome poverty, to erase ignorance, to pass on the faith.
We are often warned in scripture that we should disregard the ways of the world. This world glorifies power, might, strength, wealth, and physical beauty. It despises weakness, poverty, and that which is unattractive. We are constantly lulled and lured by the world’s false promises that never really are fulfilled.
The kingdom of God on the other hand goes beyond the superficial pettiness of this world to the depths of the heart. We recognize in Jesus a kingliness that summons nothing less than the loyalty of a free human heart. In our baptism we receive a share in the kingship of Christ, the “lord of life" whose ambition is not to dominate humanity but to save and serve it.
In this coming week may we be the ambassadors of the King of kings proclaiming the Good News of his kingdom to all we meet by our words and deeds.

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