Happy Christ the King Sunday! This holiday has an interesting history. It was started by Pope Pius XI in 1925, in the aftermath of WWI. The holiday was meant to be a response to threats of secularism, communism, nationalism, and division that was rising at the time (sound familiar?). Christ the King Sunday is a reminder that as Christians, our allegiance is not to worldly nations and leaders, but rather to the Reign of Christ.
Christ’s kingdom doesn’t come at the point of a sword, and its king doesn’t arise after a heavily disputed and divisive election process.
Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?”
Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”
Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that 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)
The one we follow bears a crown of thorns. And speaking of thorns – or in this case barbed wire – wow, this icon, am I right? So powerful.
Here is an excerpt from the equally powerful artist’s statement:
“The icon does not make clear which side of the fence Christ is on. Is he imprisoned or are we? Through our cultural institutions and personal lives we all place barriers between ourselves and true happiness. We and our institutions also try to imprison Christ in various ways, to tame him and the dangerous memories he would bring us of our goals and ideals.”Br. Robert Lentz, OMF
You can see a video of him talking about this icon, and buy your own here https://www.trinitystores.com/artwork/christ-maryknoll
What would it be like to have this version of Christ hanging up in your house, reminding you every day to wonder, what does the “reign of Christ” really look like?