In Homage to Christ the King
“The Man of Sorrows: the King of Love my Shepherd is.
The essence of a contrite heart is sorrow for our sins and empathy with the sinful un-reconciled plight of others close at hand and far and wide.
The Mass centres on Christ representationally “shedding His blood” in that Holy Sacrifice on the Altar to secure forgiveness for us sinners. Thus He offers His own lifeblood for us time and again and He is contrite for mankind. We must always remember His sacrifice in the words of the Mass, by example.
He is the Man of Sorrows not for Himself but because our sins have brought us down and thereby dismayed His Father in Heaven. He did readily undergo the journey to the crucifixion. (The 14 Stations of the Cross.) But He has an abiding sorrow that we are unrepentant and will not acknowledge our trespasses and forgive others who sin against us. Like His Father in Heaven He is disappointed and sorrowful we have failed to come up to the mark. Before He comes properly in Judgement to judge the living and the dead He must go through the contrite phase of suffering with all sinners in their intransigence. He cannot judge unless he sorrows at this great failing of mankind (implacability) but He Himself is the very opposite of that sentiment. He is generosity itself. He does not “crow” over us but “mourns” for our fallibility and what we might have been – our missed chances. His mourning for His lost sheep is His sorrow, intensely felt, for us.
Christ is a many faceted man and still is. He demonstrates true charity based on bearing all the sins of the world then, now and forever in His Crucifixion. In other words He encourages us to seek forgiveness for our sins. He is the High Priest and is not bodily visible but He is present in the consecrated Host. We are stimulated by the image of His body bent down by the cross on Calvary on Good Friday to say what can I do for Him when He has gone through His dreadful Passion for us. He pleads for us in Heaven. On earth He teaches us by the Gospel and the seven Sacraments. His style is to the point. He says: “Do as I say and not as I actually did in my Passion”. “Yet be inspired by my Passion”. He says “to offer yourself up for others and your friends”. “My passion” He says “is self-giving and humbly accepting the then greater power”. But it is the essence of the physical pain beyond our imaginings that creates our Redemption. We can convert in our hearts if we take this Passiontide story and Resurrection to our very souls. By His suffering on the Cross we admire Him so much we may face anything the world throws at us. The case goes on and on; for the victory Christ has won us on the Cross will never be undone.
Christ has not made Himself Conqueror, King and Ruler – this like all de Jure power comes from God the Father alone who has done this Honour for His only begotten Son. We acknowledge and pay homage to Christ the King because God the Father has properly made His son King in reward for His acutely painful solitary suffering in His Passion, 2000 years ago. O Wondrous Cross, O Rugged Cross to behold!
If we are truly contrite of heart we will do our utmost for those we love and know. The obvious way will not help us. We must go beyond the call of solely familial duty and reach out to all those in our circle. Charity is the name of the game and by our charity we pay Christ back for His sacrifice on the cross. Our sincerity and honesty are the bedrock of our charity yet not everything may be blurted out unintelligently. To remain quiet is sometimes necessary but we will always lay a trail to be followed by those closest to us. Paradoxically charity leads us beyond the simple familial confines to the wider pastures in our lives. Christ made a stand on the Cross for His Father and humanity. We must be prepared to think out our case and stand for what is right in our lives.
The crucifixion has no meaning if we do not make that stand eternal which will reverberate in our being. Do not timidly shun the apostle within you. What makes you an apostle? Renouncing yourself, picking up your Cross and following Christ in His words. It is renouncing yourself which matters most: - The first step i.e. respecting the stand and bastion occupied by others in our lives and making it count above us. We simply must not seek to interfere with their freedom of manoeuvre and decision making despite the tension in relationships.