The Image of the King

The Church has many ways of describing Jesus. Son. Lord. Savior. Shepherd. Rock. Bridegroom. I’m sure we all have one or more of these titles that calls to us more than the others. This past Sunday we celebrated Jesus as King of the Universe in the Solemnity of Christ the King. For me this title is one that particularly resonates on a deep level. It may be a matter of temperament, biology, or even upbringing. There’s no right or wrong in being drawn to Jesus more closely in one aspect versus another as long as we acknowledge the truth in them all.

St. Augustine once said that the New Testament was hidden in the Old Testament. One way this happens is by “types.” This is something in the Old Testament that prefigures or images a truth revealed in the New Testament. An example often given is that of the Israelites passing through the Red Sea is a type of the coming sacrament of baptism. David is this royal prefigurement of Christ the King. Christ’s incarnation and return are the full manifestation of the Davidic Kingdom. Christ’s kingship is typified not just in Scripture, but in ancient stories and in modern popular entertainment.

An entire litany could be composed of these images of the good king. Some are historical. Some semi-historical. Some are entirely fictional. Some are true kings and some are kingly. David. Richard Coeur de Lion. El Cid. Aragorn. Charlemagne. Alexander. Jan Sobieski. Arthur. Harry (or Henry V if you prefer). Leonidas. Most of those names are probably familiar. The question is why do they so memorable? I will only speak for myself. My guess would be that many men would agree with me, your mileage may vary.

Even we Americans as republican, democrat, and anti-monarchist as we are yearn to bend the knee to a King who offers us the chance to be better than we are. We yearn to be part of “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers”, to hear the call to arms to follow the one who can give meaning to our lives. One who can receive all of our love and loyalty and return it in untold measures. To mount our horses, lower our lances, and charge against the foe.  To fulfill what we should have been if it hadn’t been for that damned apple. To fight against impossible odds. To fight well and to the fullest extent and when all seems finished and we are totally spent, to look up and realize that the battle has been won. To have a lord worthy of all this and more.

It breaks my heart to admit this, but Narsil shall never be reforged and Arthur shall never return from the Isle of Avalon. The kings mentioned above are only types of the King. They are only images that show some truth about the true King. They are not that truth themselves. The truth is that:

He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

The kingdom is now and not yet. It was conceived during Christ’s Incarnation. Now it is still gestating and growing in the world. The invitation is to all of us to join the King and become subjects of that kingdom. Yet Satan prowls about the world seeking the ultimate abortion of that kingdom. Even if he cannot murder the kingdom he can tear parts of it’s members from it. Stay strong and rejoice for the day of the nativity of that kingdom is coming. Christmas Day is coming again.

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