Christ the King - Year C
THEY ANOINTED DAVID AS KING
Why would a free, democratic society voluntarily choose to be ruled by a hereditary monarch? That is the crux of the feast of Christ the King. For an answer we have only to look to the nation of Israel in the 11th century B.C. The people of Israel were fiercely independent. They had wrested the land from its inhabitants through local battles, usually without the help of their fellow Israelites. Suddenly this changed when they asked for--demanded--a king. Their first ruler was Saul, a man whose short-comings could have turned them away from a monarch. They persisted, however, and asked David to succeed him.
Part of the answer lies in the unity brought about by a strong, central authority. With a hereditary monarchy, there also lay the probability that the royal heir would be trained in leadership from his youth. The qualities of the father might surely be passed on to the son. Though this might not always be the case, it was a partial guarantee of stability in a region that was highly unstable.
TODAY IN PARADISE
Flower gardens were almost nonexistent in ancient times. Arable land was used for growing food. Only the most wealthy could enjoy the luxury of purely ornamental planting. Typically this meant that only a king could afford such a space. In Persia (Iran) the royal garden was enclosed with a high wall, kept behind locked gates. It was secured for the private enjoyment of the ruler and those in his favor. The Persian word for this enclave was "pairi-daiza" or enclosed park. The English word is "paradise".
One of the two thieves crucified with Jesus recognizes the special nature of Jesus. Our Lord promises that he will soon be with him in paradise. It is an admission of kingship by Christ and a promise for all admitted sinners.
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