Thoughts of Aidan Troy [Passionist]
Royal Families differ in their exercising of power. This week at an OECD Conference on building opportunities for children, Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands delivered a truly inspiring paper on a children’s foundation she has founded. There was no show of security; she took time to mingle with participants and listen to stories and concerns. Other Royal families exercise power in their realms in a different and highly visible way.
In the Bible, power of Kings and Queens is absolute. There word holds the power over subjects of life and death. The scene in the Gospel today is about the power of Jesus, who never used His power to his own advantage. The temptations by the Devil in the desert were a power battle. Jesus could have won it hands down but did not fall into the trap of Satan. I wish I could say the same about my times of being tempted. Lord, have mercy on me.
Jesus has power which is real and effective but is very different from the power of Monarchs. How does it differ? The Feast of Christ the King is a journey of discovery of the power of Jesus. Knowing that Jesus is meek and mild, must not lead us into the trap of thinking He is weak and fragile.
What is Jesus’ way of exercising power? Reflecting along these lines may help:
- His Kingship is Divine
- His rule is good news for each individual, family and community
- Jesus, the ruler of our hearts, calls us to conversion. That is why an Advent Retreat is offered on Saturday next
- Jesus’ power holds a mirror to the church, universal and local, to let us see what way power is being used or abused
- His power calls us to a way of living based on His way of power and letting go of the ‘might is right’ model of power.
- Prayer hastens the Kingship of Jesus growing in our midst. At the end of time when the Church will be no more, the Kingdom of Heaven will be our true home.
St Joseph’s being a Passionist parish, we are perhaps better prepared to witness the way that Jesus exercises His power. His power is made perfect in weakness, paradoxical though this sounds. St Paul of the Cross, who founded the Passionists 300 years ago, saw in the mystery of the Cross the key to the value of human suffering. The Cross does not remove suffering but does away with suffering’s absurdity. This link between the Crucified Christ and ‘crucified’ suffering people changes the horizon of a cruel world.
Jesus hangs on the Cross:
- How lonely it must have been – how lonely some of us are; the loneliness of migrants with no place to go; the sick with no power to leave their bed; child being bullied but afraid to talk. These are Jesus lonely today.
- How degrading for Jesus to die as a criminal among criminals in front of Mary and the disciples. How degrading for girls sold into prostitution, children who never get to school because they must work in factories making our clothes and sewing our shoes.
- You can’t get comfortable on a Cross. What excruciating pain for the Crucified Christ and people who are ‘crucified’ – long-term sick, day and night pain is there. Innocence and being not guilty of any sin to cause this, does not reduce the pain and agony. Ask Jesus, who was also Innocent.
- Add your own ‘crucified’ who are living the Calvary Vocation. How close these people are to the Heart of the Crucified Jesus!
“Lord, may the crucified ‘good’ thief, now in Paradise, intercede for me that I may humbly acknowledge that I am a sinner in need of your mercy. May I recognise your power to save and rescue me. When I meet you in death may I hear your words, ‘today, you will be with me in Paradise’. May Mary who stood by you as the horror of the Cross unfolded, intercede for me and may St Joseph be my patron.” Amen.