God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin, given you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit and welcomed you into his holy people. He now anoints you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet and King, so may you live always as members of His Body, sharing everlasting life.
This weekend is the Solemnity of Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe …I am going to repeat a theme or two from my pre-recorded homily because I have been giving it so much thought….what does it mean to be a king in today’s world? Many of us have always been fascinated by the British monarchy and see their recent role as being vastly different from the despots who brought fear over centuries to the heroes of medieval folklore. For early Christians, they saw the role of Jesus Christ as king as a return of the King of Israel and something even more powerful. As believers that the Second Coming would be in their lifetimes, they anticipated that Jesus would truly come in glory and, frankly, militaristically in order to throw down the Emperor and all those in power.
In the Rite of Baptism for Children, the words above are shared immediately after Baptism as the celebrant marks the sign of the Cross with Sacred Chrism on those receiving the Sacrament. It is a powerful moment and I believe it is in context of the threefold mission to be Priest, Prophet and King
that best captures the role of being a King. These prayers are the same for women and men, girls and boys and each has a call to answer. In
context of this, we are called to be priests, as in the priesthood of all believers, sanctifying each other with Grace. We are called to be prophetic in a world that ignores truth or goes silent. We are called to be heirs of Jesus Christ as participants and then proclaimers of the Kingdom of God. Our role is not to lord over others but to be compassionate companions and respectfully be servant leaders. Once we have experienced true faith, our impulse should be to share that experience.
When talking with children, I like to bring up the character of Simba from “The Lion King” and what kind of ruler he would be unlike his evil uncle. For adults, we remember the iconic scene from “Titanic” where the young hero Jack cries out in delight, “I am the King of the World!” Reports suggest this was a last-minute addition to the script that was meant to capture the awe-inspiring beauty, power and majesty before him. The character first experienced this with a friend from the ship but later in the film shares the experience by bringing his new love, Rose, to the same place.
Interestingly, when Googling this, most of what came up was the criticism of “Titanic” director James Cameron for exclaiming Jack’s famous line when accepting his Oscar for Best Director. Critics then and now (including Cameron himself) judged the repetition of that line inappropriate. Cameron was accused of being arrogant and obnoxious. Worst of all, as his movie swept so many awards; he was seen as cruelly insensitive to those who were losing in his wake. (Pun intended)
As we are called to be proud Priests, Prophets and Kings, may we respond with humility. Next week we will begin the journey of Advent and we will make this journey together even if we are socially distant. In anticipation of a birth that will free us from sin, anoint us with healing and salvation and draw us together as one, our focus will rest on the themes represented by the Advent Candle: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. May we navigate the waters of troubled times with these gifts from God to direct our emotions, steer clear of the obstacles in our way and bring us safely home.
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