In 2006 Pope Benedict XVI reminded that the Cross is the ‘throne’ from which Jesus demonstrated the sublime regality of God-love. The ultimate self-giving of this King and the humility shown in His throne contrast starkly with earthly rulers.
Being king in the worldly context means that one has total power and dominion over others. By accepting persons as sovereign king or ruler we acknowledge that they have the authority to dictate our actions and to set the rules/standards that govern those actions. No demand by these rulers is to be treated as trivial.
Pope Francis has continued to demonstrate that the kingship which we honour in Christ the King is marked by the humility and self-sacrifice of a servant leader who lays down his life for his friends. The Pope’s insistence on simplifying the physical symbols of his position, together with the recent removal of a bishop who demonstrated an affinity to opulence, are both beautifully clear lessons on the nature of the kingship which we must emulate as Christians and as catechists.
As servants within the Kingdom of God, we are also called to follow Christ the King in service and self-sacrificial love. Do we do that as catechists, as leaders, as parishioners? Or do we become so obsessed by the titles and trappings of our roles that we lose sight of the need to serve? Do we fail to accept the pain that the throne of servant leadership often brings?
Perhaps our problem may be with the concept of kingship. While we no longer have a sovereign leader in Trinidad and Tobago, we continue to ‘crown’ winners of various competitions and celebrate our icons as ‘kings’ who have demonstrated such superiority that we are happy to worship and bow down before them. Even within the Church hierarchy the traditional trappings of those in positions of authority have historically pointed to an implicit acknowledgement of superiority in some regard. Pope Francis gives a timely and refreshing reminder of the fallacy of such thinking and behaviour.
The question we need to ponder continuously is whether Christ is the true King of our lives. Do we acknowledge that he has so demonstrated the correct way to live, to love and to lead that he becomes an actual model for us, our children, our parishes, our catechetical programmes?
It may also be useful for catechetical leaders to contemplate whether our structures encourage participation in catechesis by all who share the journey of faith or if the programmes are reduced to the actions of a distant ‘king’ in the parish.
– Rhonda Earle, Eastern Vicariate Catechetical Coordinator, Archdiocesan Catechetical Office, http://catechetics.rcpos.org