Monday, November 26, 2012

King for a Day

“Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom belonged 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 asked him, ‘Then you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say I am a king.’” John 18: 36-37a

A question: if you were made king of your country for one day, what would you do or change with your power? I suspect that many of us would make abortion illegal, or stop bullying, or give everyone a job. Perhaps we would make ourselves comfortable for a day or bask in our riches and opulence before we had to relinquish the throne. Maybe even some of us would seek to right as many wrongs and injustices before our opportunity left us.

As Catholics we just celebrated the last Sunday of the liturgical year and the Feast of Christ the King of the Universe. And it really got me thinking yesterday about being a king and all that implies; the power, the responsibility, the authority, the temptation to pride, selfishness and greed that certainly must accompany such wealth and opportunity. What would you or I do in this circumstance? And what would happen if we were not just king for a day, but for a lifetime? And what if we weren’t just figureheads like most current European monarchies, but we had the absolute power once granted to kings? Would we be as noble and charitable as the saintly kings of old, or would we be like the horrible kings of history that were little more than diabolical dictators?

What about Jesus? He is the King of kings and Lord of lords? He is God: all-knowing, all-powerful. He is not just king of the world, but king of the universe. He is the creator and ruler of all the living and the dead, of all the earth, in the heavens and under the earth. And what does He do with that power? He became one of us and died for us in our place so that we would know of His unconditional love and mercy and have the opportunity to get to heaven one day. He took His greatness and lowered Himself to become like us in all things but sin, so that He could raise us up to Himself through His death and resurrection. Amazing!

So Jesus is the king of the universe. I think most Christians are fine with this. I mean, we all know we need to be saved and we all know there are things in the universe bigger than us and our physical or intellectual powers. We do not stand much a of a chance against the forces of nature or the complexities of outer space. And so in some instances, it is quite easy to allow Christ to be the king of all that. But can we allow Christ to be the king of our hearts? To me, this is the bigger question because in our own hearts we like to have a sense of control. We like to hold the reins and chart the course of our own lives, don’t we? We don’t like anyone telling us what to do, or where to go. We like making our own decision, for good or for bad. It’s relatively easy to let God have control of things we don’t have control over, but when it comes to letting go of the things we are holding onto, that is another question.

What things are we holding onto? Perhaps it is our future: where we will go to college, where we will live, where we will work or what our vocation in life might be? Maybe it is a relationship that is bringing us down? We can all be tempted to hold onto our hurts, pains or sins.  Jesus wants control of our hearts. He wants to guide us, leads us and draw us into the greatness that He has created us for. But He will not force us. He will keep knocking, keep inviting, keep asking. But He has given us the power to refuse His love, refuse His leadership, refuse His greatness. Instead we can choose to stumble along in our blindness, pretending to be the king of our own heart, pretending we are in control, pretending we know what is best for us.  This day let us truthfully examine our hearts to the deepest parts and let go of anything that is not under the kingship of Jesus and place our lives completely under His lover, protection and mercy, trusting that He knows us better than ourselves. In this will we find true happiness and in this will our lives achieve greatness.

Dear Jesus, today I make You my King. Today I allow You complete control and reign over my entire heart and over all aspects of my life: past, present and future. May I live as Your faithful follower all the days of my life. Amen.