Sunday, November 22, 2015

Christ the King

The Gospel for today’s feast of Christ the King presents a sharp contrast with the apocalyptic visions of the first two readings at Holy Mass.  We see Jesus, not crowned with glory and honor, but in His humiliation, standing meekly bound before a seemingly all-powerful Pontius Pilate.  Scornfully, the Procurator asks, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  Later the Roman soldiers will make their own comment on this dialogue by beating a painful coronet of thorns into the Savior’s head.

Every Christian who swears allegiance to Christ the King must also agree to follow Him along the royal way of the Cross, bearing his own burden for the sake of the Kingdom.  Poor Clares express this Baptismal commitment most poignantly on the day of their Solemn Profession of Vows when they are espoused forever to the Son of God made Man.  During the ceremony, a crown of thorns is presented to the young nun and placed upon her head while this prayer is said:  “Receive this crown which your Spouse, the Son of God, offers you.  May you deserve to be made a partaker of his Passion on earth and of his glory in heaven.

The new bride of Christ wears her crown of thorns for the three days of celebration that mark her transition into the fullness of Poor Clare life.  Afterwards, she hangs her bridal crown on the wall of her monastic cell as an everlasting remembrance and I reminder of whom she is called to be:  the spouse of a crucified and risen Lord.

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