n a sermon on the Apostles Creed, St. Thomas Aquinas said that the nearer things are to God, the more beautiful and better they are. We’ve probably all experienced that. Majestic scenery can uplift our spirits and lead our thoughts to God. Yet there is another way to experience God as well: Jon Sobrino, SJ, a theo-logian I studied, often refers to the crucified Jesus as God sub specie contrarii(Latin for under opposite species, or form). Looking at the bloody corpse on the cross is anything but beau-tiful. Today’s gospel passage for the Solemnity of Christ the King is indeed God sub specie contrarii, and its implications are challenging—especially when paired with the reading from Colossians, where we hear that “Christ is the image of the in-visible God”.If I am to find Christ, my King and my Lord, in that flagellated, spent body, and if thatis the image of God, then where else might my God be hiding? St. Teresa of Kolkata talked about serving Christ in the “distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor”. But we don’t have to go all the way to Calcutta/Kolkata to find him. In the judgement scene from the gospel according to Matthew, Jesus reminds us that he is the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned. He is my friend Sean on the west coast who battles the demons of addiction and suf-fers from PTSD, rejected by his family because he is gay. He is all those people who frequent Street Help and the Downtown Mission. He is the people who have started coming to our com-munity meal service on Monday evenings. We need look no further to find our King.One of my priest friends in the States enjoys watching the Net-flix series Crown, now beginning its third season. In it we see “behind the scenes”, some documented and some imagined, in the royal family in England. In one upcoming episode, Queen Elizabeth gets really upset because people don’t see her as be-ing like anyone else. Her prime minister responds, “They don’t want you to be normal. We don’t know what we want, other than we want you to be ideal. Anideal.” We come to this beau-tiful church building (hopefully with heat by the time you read this) because we want to be uplifted, to have our minds drawn to the heavenly ideal, to experience God. Yet the reality is that if we haven’t recognized Christ in those we serve, those who need us, we won’t find Christ in here either. I pray that Christ our King may open the eyes of our hearts to recognize him “out there”, so that we may also find him “in here”.
Categories: Pastor's Desk