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Here is a thought that caught my eye.  Fr. Jude Siciliano, OP writes…

People should experience in us the loving presence of a new kind of ruler – one from humble origins, who proclaimed the Reign of God, washed feet, died to manifest God’s love for us, rose from the dead and breathed his Spirit on us, so we could live his life as citizens of the Kingdom/Reign of God.

I came across the above thought on his website. Called ”First Impressions”, it serves as a popular resource for preachers looking for thought starters.

For a while, I struggled with adapting his words. Let me just present his insights in the form of a guest contribution to Vincentian Mindwalk.

Pilate sneered at the seeming-powerless, peasant preacher from Nazareth before him. He thought he was the judge and jury over Jesus’s fate.

Jesus challenges Pilate’s and our notion of rule.

Yes, he is a king, but he would not use power to coerce people to follow him and live under his kingship. Instead, people would follow Jesus because they would be attracted to the truth of who he is, “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Our baptismal challenge to imitate our king

While the world’s rulers draw the lines of their power on a map, Jesus draws his on the human heart.  

Jesus’ kingdom, his world, is with us now. We have, through our baptism and the gift of the Spirit, been given the vision to see the presence of the kingdom and its life-giving possibilities. It is a world of community, equality, respect and dialogue.

In the kingdom, under Jesus’ rule, each person’s gifts are recognized. The poor and neglected are empowered and no one is left out. Justice is given to each, regardless of their political influence, race, gender, or economic status.

We have welcomed King Jesus and his reign into our hearts and so our lives should constantly reflect the source and rule of the one we follow.

We have a part to play in bringing about Jesus’ Kingdom where peace, justice, truth, and love are concrete signs that Jesus reigns in this world. When the world’s earthly rulers and institutions dominate by force, violence and economic exploitation, the source of Jesus’ power comes from a very different and holier source.

Jesus’ rule calls us to a manifest “counterculture.” We can live his teachings of love, not by mere force of will, but by the power of his reign and the indwelling gift of the Spirit – the King’s Spirit.

We are reminded on this feast that today is not just some theological, or ritual celebration. Our feast immerses us in the political world as well. We live in the world as citizens of Jesus’ realm. Will we accept that citizenship? How? By implementing the vision Christ has revealed to us through his life, death, and resurrection.

Baptism as our citizenship papers

Citizens usually have papers, or documents, that attest they are citizens of the land. What do we have to prove we are citizens of Christ’s reign?

We have the gift of the Holy Spirit who enables us to give witness by our lives that we are followers of Jesus, citizens under his rule. In other words, our lives are more than ample proof of where and in whom our allegiance lies – who rules our hearts and our minds.

The challenges of being the image and likeness of Christ the King

Click below for an audio version of the Vincentian Mindwalk

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