The story of the crucifixion, proclaimed on the Feast of Christ the King, reminds us that the Reign of Jesus isn’t a reign of glory and power, but of service, love, and complete self-giving in order to rescue human beings from evil, sin and death. Used to proclaiming the ‘victory of the Cross’, we run the risk of forgetting that the Crucified One has nothing to do with a false triumphalism that empties of meaning the most sublime gesture of God’s humble service toward us all. The Cross isn’t a kind of trophy that we can proudly show to others, but the symbol of crucified Love that invites us to follow God’s example.
Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God in parables, in every one of which a mystery lies hidden. For example, to Jews the mustard seed was the smallest of all seeds, the most insignificant of all things. Yet out of it comes a huge tree. God’s kingdom comes in a hidden way, even in spite of seeming failure. But, as with the mustard seed, this small beginning holds the promise of a magnificent ending. “I think that what we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is waiting for us,” St. Paul wrote (Rom 8:18). At first sight there seems to be a contradiction between the present and the future in Jesus’ references to the kingdom. The kingdom is here and now, we are told and yet we are asked to look forward and in the Our Father pray, “Thy kingdom come.” Jesus gives the answer to this. “The kingdom of God does not come in such a way as to be seen. No one will say, “Look here it is,” or, “There it is,” because the kingdom of God is within you”(Lk 17:20-21)