Christ the King
This is a Jamaican saying that comes from the imagery of a calf that gently sucks from its mother’s breast and not agitating the mother, the calf is able to get as much milk as it needs. Applying this analogy to Jesus, it speaks of Jesus’ giving up His dominion and embracing a gentle but assertive approach to his ministry allowing Him to influence the lives of a lot of people.
“Brother and sisters: Let us give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son. In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or power,
all things were created through him and for him” (Col. 1: 12 – 16).
Just over two thousand years ago a princely figure voluntarily gave up His divinity to humbly incarnate Himself as a human being to extend an invitation to a lowly people to participate in His kingdom-ship (see Philippians 2; 6). This approach was different from all known expansion and development of empires. What the history books tell us is that the dominant force exerts dominance through a process of invasion and succession. Unlike other marauding empires, Jesus did not invade our territory, He made himself a part of it. He did not exalt himself among us, instead, he became the son of a carpenter, a lowly servant. He did not demand grandeur instead He radiated love and compassion.
Jesus’ plan, as He incarnated himself, was not to be a transactional leader (my way or the highway) but rather to be a transformative leader (inspiring one to be a better version of themselves). He saw his disciples, not for only who they are but the potential for whom they would become. He saw the potential of the Samaritan woman at the well and we know how that turned out. Thus, Jesus, being the humble calf, is able to influence the lives of many.
His action transcends the trappings of royalty and ethnocentrism to emphasize the importance of service, acceptance, and appreciation for diversity. So much so that those who embraced a preconceived definition of Kinship were not able to accept Him. However, those qualities of the humble calf were not lost on Pontius Pilate as he conferred on Him the superficial title of ‘King of the Jews’. It seems that the action of Pilate may have been a recognition of his and the nay-sayers of Jesus' failure to recognize and embrace the true qualities of a Leader. Jesus’ humility and service did not lead to His death but rather exalted Him to His rightful place as King of the Universe.
As we celebrate Christ the King, let us be reminded of what Kingship meant to Jesus. Let us remember that Jesus by his example, is calling us to be the humble calf so that we can become a better version of ourselves. He is challenging us to adopt a transformative leadership style in our interaction with others so that we too, like Him, can inspire them to be a better version of themselves.
Author: Junior Hopwood is the Interim Chair and Assistant Professor of Sociology at Grambling State University in Louisiana. He is also, a member of St. Jude Catholic Church, where he is presently serving as a lector and a minister of the Eucharist. Dr. Hopwood is one of the directors of the Young Gifted Catholic Training Program sponsored by the Dominic Youth Movement in Grenade. As a Researcher, Dr. Hopwood is presently researching the Catholic Church’s failure to recognize the authenticity of Black spirituality and its roots in African Traditional Religion. Dr. Hopwood is a member of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium and is a member of the Editorial Committee. In the Summer of 2023, Dr. Hopwood will begin his tenure as an Instructor in the Institute of Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University, teaching “Issues in the Black Family”.