From the Mass readings for today the word that jumps out for me is King. It is mentioned six times.
Relating to Jesus as king, especially in the context of today’s reading, requires an informed faith. The secular image of kingship is pomp, wealth, as well as military and political power.
Jesus did not portray the status of king. When He first appeared as king, he was accompanied by poor people waving tree branches while He sat on a donkey!
The Kingdom of Jesus is not a worldly kingdom. “My kingdom does not belong to this world”. (Jn 18:34)
Nevertheless, the story is of great importance; it is mentioned in all four gospels, and it fulfils a great prophecy – Zechariah 9:9 ‘Behold your King comes to you triumphant and victorious. He is humble and riding on an ass.’
The donkey symbolises a king who is gentle and righteous, and brings peace.
So, as believers, how are we to live in His kingdom? The message is one of faith and salvation. An attitude of faith and openness is needed so that we can live out the truth of who we are as children of God.
When I am struggling with my faith I think of Teresa of Avila – God is in the everyday things. That’s when I know I am in God’s kingdom. I am like the thief on the cross “Remember me when you come into your kingdom”.
God’s kingdom is one of compassion and love. A world in which we strive to love and respect each other regardless of faith, colour or gender, as well as having respect for the Earth. In our modern world we live out our faith differently to past generations. We can honour and praise God through art, poetry, song and dance as well as prayer, self-care and care for each other. All we need is a spirit of gratitude and faith.
As Christians, the seed of faith is sewn at Baptism; sometimes it takes many years for it to die and begin to bear fruit just like the thief on the cross. We believe that God in His love is always waiting for the prodigal son.
God does not use His authority to force people to be His mindless followers. Instead, we are encouraged to let go of our blind faith and develop a mature faith with an informed mind. As part of our religious belief, we are encouraged to study, read and partake in religious ceremony so that we can grow and be transformed by the Spirit of God and live true authentic Christian lives in God’s Kingdom.