The “Duck Test”

Many will recognize the saying, “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.” Sometimes it is referred to as “the duck test”.

Today, political figures say someone who wears one label but acts like a member of another party… Rinos and Dinos]

Jesus had his own way of saying it. “By their fruits, you will know them”.

I wondered how the “duck test” might apply to followers of Christ the King.

 Christ the King – Not your ordinary King

Christ the King Identifies with Everyone

Christ the King identifies with each one of us no matter how badly disfigured.

As king, he deeply cares for

  • All who are hungry, thirsty, sick, lonely, a foreigner, in prison, and a stranger.
  • Both rich and poor.
  • The discouraged loved one who cannot find a job to support the people he loves.
  • The lost family member, old or young, who need to hear the Good News as Jesus preached it, free of any ideology on the left or the right
  • The co-worker who just lost a spouse… or worse, a child;
  • Someone who was diagnosed with cancer.

He is in our struggles and needs.

How this kind of king cares…

He Serves all

To understand Christ as King, we must remember what he did at his last meal. He washed the feet of disciples, something a lowly servant did for his master. He became their servant.

Then he pointedly asked them. Do you understand what I have done? I, your Lord and Master (King), have washed your feet.

I want you to wash one another’s feet in love. Lest we miss the point, he even added, “Do this in memory of me!”

Some of His ways are paradoxical.

We cannot reduce “care” merely to meaning “that which comforts and consoles.” It can be that, but not always!

Sometimes, the “caring” thing to do is to rebuke or warn.

Think of the times his care took the form or correction of disciples.

Sometimes, his care manifests itself in the unwelcome package of challenges that lead to growth.

He deeply respects the freedom of all

Jesus is a King who respects our freedom to decide whether or not to have Him as our King and to live the virtues of His kingdom.

Anyone who chooses, consciously or not, not to live these characteristics creates a separate space outside this kingdom, filled with isolation and fierce competition.

 He is a King who does not force His kingship and laws. Rather, he offers his example to all and allows each of us to decide which space we choose.

Identifying followers of Christ the King

Invoking the “duck test” principle, we seem to have a way to determine who accepts Christ as King.

Followers of Christ the King are those who understand that in this kingdom, we freely serve each other because we see in each person, no matter what scars, a participation in being Christ.

Some members of this kingdom stand out. We call them saints and blessed. In our Vincentian heritage Saints Vincent and Louise are among those whose lives clearly embody these characteristics. By their fruits, we know them.

Pope Francis constantly reminds us that we are called to be the “saints next door.” In our lives, people see images of Christ the King

Do we, individually and collectively, look and act like people who serve one another because we recognize we are the body of Christ?

This post drew on a homily by Msgr Charles Pope