All kings, presidents, or dictators demands taxes from the people. The taxes pay for the government services. If a citizen refuses to pay taxes, the person can get into all sorts of trouble, get thrown into jail or even loose citizenship. No government comes for free, except the government of Jesus Christ. Christ the King does not charge.
Fact is He came to pay the price. He paid the debt that we owned as humanity—and the debt was really high—the debt cost the price of the Passion and Death of Jesus. Yea, yea, yea—we know all that. And we’ve heard it a million times. “Christ died for me so that I could be saved. So what?” Folks with such an attitude have become the Christians of information and have forgotten all about transformation. Some are walking encyclopedias of the Catechism. But their personal relationship with the Lord stinks. We know the type: they pray when they need something; they criticize changes in the Church; on the few times that they do come to Church—they are the last ones in and the first ones out. Naturally I’m not talking about anyone here. The “just getting by Sunday Christian” that can’t be bothered with a conversion experience. Therein lies the challenge of the Gospel, especially on the Feast of Christ the King. Obviously Kingship involves a discernment of priorities. Who comes first in our life? With whom do we spend the majority of our time? If a high-ranking official were to visit our community—all sorts of preparations would be made. Look at the preparations that were made for the Holy Father’s visit to the United States. And certainly he deserves the attention given and much more. But notice that preparation we give to Christ. Some can’t even observe the one-hour fast before Holy Mass, or look over the Readings, or bother to pray before coming to Church.
Routine can be good but also work against spiritual growth. Getting into a rut can lead to taking someone for granted. Imagine telling a spouse, “Come here, it’s time to kiss you. It’s my obligation—today is a Holy Day of obligation, so come on, let me kiss you. I really don’t want to, and I have so many other things I’d rather be doing, but I want to show you how important you are to me, so pucker up, let be plant a big one on you.” How would we describe such a relationship? Would we say that such people really loved each other? Same can happen in religion. We can get caught in a routine of obligation.
Such nonsense means nothing when two people love each other. Jesus does not want us to feel obligated, but to fall in love with Him—different from a King that we would hold at a distance and only respect, but never embrace. Jesus turned the world upside down when, being God—not needing anything from anybody—washed the feet of the group of men who had more sins than any of us will ever commit—a king who came not to be served, but to serve. Still hasn’t sunk in because that’s not what happens in our world. Everybody wants power—to be successful—to get ahead. Jesus became to object of ridicule for all to laugh while He carried the cross. No, His kingdom was not of this world. His kingdom is still not of this world because we are not ready. The fighting continues. Discrimination is on the rise. The poor are still neglected. One day perhaps—one day when we are ready to listen to the truth—to listen to His voice. His voice will always be the voice of peace—not power—at least not power the way we think.
To the world Jesus was a looser. To us He is a winner—He is our King. In a world gone mad with violence we must choose. The way to true freedom is to follow the example of the servant King.