|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jesus is Head of This House
Sunday, November 20, 2016
I have a friend who is a CEO of a large company with several thousand employees. He is a good CEO, but he is tough boss with high expectations for his staff. When he goes home each night, the CEO title goes out the door, and his wife is in charge of that house. He has thousands of people who work for him, but when he goes into that house, he loses all power! Not a single decision is his. She decides everything.
Yet that is the way he wants it. He chose it that way. It is not that she is taking over his life. He defends it, “Brendan, I cannot do what she does. That is her role in our home. And I would have it no other way.” She really is king of the house. She doesn’t do it in a mean-spirited way, but there is no ambiguity when you walk into the house as to who is in charge.
Today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. We hear in the readings about kingdoms and kings; it is hard for us, as Americans, to identify with the readings. Rejection of royalty is the foundation of this country. Our Constitution does give some assent to a God, but it really was about rugged individualism right from the start.
Today in the first reading we hear about the Israelites. They had been without a king, and they were not faring so well. So they prayed to the Lord for a king: “Give us a king to rule over us, Lord.” So the Lord gave them a king, and from this line, King David is chosen; this is where the story begins.
David’s view of being king is not what we would think of as king but as that of shepherd—one who leads and cares for his flock. The kings back then lorded over their subjects, and even up to the days of Jesus, some thousands of years later, the kings lorded over their subjects.
Along comes Jesus, and he holds up this image of king as a “Good Shepherd” and takes that image one step further. He says, “I am the Good Shepherd. I lay down my life for my sheep.” And that is the image we are left with of Christ as King.
The Lord does not foist his kingship over us but invites us to make him king of our lives. Just like my friend, who chooses his wife to rule his household and who submits to that reality. We, too, have to choose Christ as our King. It will not just happen.
What would it take for us in our own life to invite Jesus in such a way that he rules over our life? How would our decisions be different? Would they be different? Are all our decisions Christ centered? What would it look like if we had Christ as the King of our lives?