COR THOUGHTS 231: Christ the Bridegroom-King

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This Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King. It can be difficult for us in the modern world to relate to “king” and “kingdom” imagery. For many, the idea of being under a “king” is akin to losing our freedom to a tyrant (remember playing “king of the mountain”?). But, as Pope Benedict XVI reminds us, “The king is Jesus; in him God entered humanity and espoused it to himself.” Yes, Jesus is King and Lord, but as such, he is Bridegroom. As St. John Paul II tells us, “In this manner, the absolute of lordship turns out to be the absolute of love.” As the Bridegroom-King, Christ reigns by serving, not by being served. And he wants us to reign in the same way. As we learn in this weekend’s Gospel, this is how the King will judge us: only those who loved as he loved will “inherit the kingdom.” In fact, as we also learn in this Gospel passage, to serve others is to serve the King. The King identifies so closely with his subjects precisely because, as Bridegroom, he became “one” with them. Where do we find the love to serve others in this way? We find it in letting the King serve us.