By Fr. Serg Kabamalan, CJM
As we begin the Holy Week, we reflect on the kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is a king of a different mold. He did not quite fit the standards and expectations of the Jews. Clinging to their own notion of what a Messiah-King should be, they did not get it – not his words and deeds, not his presence. For them, he was an enigma who attracted and gave hope to the poor and the marginalized but was doubted and disdained by the elite and the powerful. While he was a trusted and a refutable teacher to the former, he was a fool and a rabble rouser for the latter as his presence threatened their influence and control over others. He was a pain in the neck that should be dismissed, immobilized,and obliterated at all cost. So, they hang the King up on the cross thinking it would save them all, and never thought that he was the only Savior they needed.
That Jesus suffered on the cross “unable to save himself” was taken as an affirmation and validity of this decision (cf. Mk 14:64-64, 15:29-32). It escaped them that Jesus’ passion was a defining moment as to the kind of kingship that he brings to the world. It is not about power and control. It is not about acquiring and maintaining recognition, privilege and prestige. All of these are of this worldthat will never satisfy the deepest of all human longings.
On the cross, Jesus offers an alternative that fits the loftiest of human ideals to a T. He responds to what is sacred in all of humanity seeing and going beyond the impunity, indifference, brutality, lies and deceit that masked their fears, and weakness in full display as he was rejected, reviled and condemned. He never took it against those who planned, connived and worked together to bring him to his violent end (cf. Mk 15:3-5). He accepted the ridicule and the jeering from those who still wanted to provoke him when he was already down and out (Mk 15:17-20, & 29-32). He still believed in the goodness present in everyone no matter if there was only a flicker of it remaining in the human soul, for his kingship is rooted in the eternal love shared by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In the Heart of the One & Triune God, love can never be extinguished. Here dwells thekingship that seeks and gathers the lost even at the cost of Jesus’ temporal life. Indeed, he was able to endure all the pain and suffering because he loves… because he is sustained by love… because he is love incarnate!
Jesus on the Cross, therefore, invites us to look at his passion and death from the vantage point of love. In like manner, he invites us to look at ourselves and at one another through the eyes of our loving King, and discover that all along God’s love situates us in the same Heart of the One and Triune God.
May we receive the grace of savoring the depth, height, width and length of being God’s beloved at the foot of the Cross. Henceforth, may all our actions spring forth from the loving gaze of the King on his throne!