It's the Feast of Christ the King! In our first reading from the Second Book of Samuel this weekend, David, King of Judah, is approached by the tribes of Israel who want to make him their king as well: Here we are, your bone and your flesh, they tell him. It is a relation of kinship that they describe, a matter of identity based in familial ties. As their king, David will carry their identity; like a shepherd, he will be the one to whom the flock belongs, and he will bear full responsibility for their welfare. And Psalm 122 suggests that his judgments will be based on the wisdom that he gets from God.
The kingship of Jesus is foregrounded in Luke’s Gospel, first, in the soldiers’ jeering mockery – If you are king of the Jews, save yourself – and later, in the humble entreaty of the thief crucified with Jesus – Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Only the thief truly understands: through the Cross, we have been brought into a kingdom that is ruled not as the world rules, because the world’s definitions don’t include the infinite fullness of God. Jesus is at once king and kin.
We come before God as Israel came before David. We proclaim, we are your bone and your flesh. What kind of identity does that proclamation establish for us? Paul’s letter to the Colossians tells us that Jesus became a man, entering the human realm through incarnation, uniting himself to humanity on the Cross and taking it through death to redemption. The Cross is evidence that kinship gives us life with Christ, paradoxically, through his death: we are transferred … to the kingdom of his beloved Son. This is the inheritance of the holy ones in light: a gift, not earned, kinship with Jesus Christ, he in whom our identity is found. Like King David, we too have a responsibility that is ours through kinship: we are to allow the incarnation to take place in us because he has made us fit to share in it with him. King and kin all at once, Jesus is the image of the invisible God. We, in turn, are to work to be the image of Jesus on earth, giving flesh to him, serving as his hands and his feet, his bone and his flesh in the here and now.
This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.