"Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Mark 11:9

A literal translation of the Hebrew word Hosanna is ‘Save us.” The crowd that greeted Jesus with shouts of Hosanna sought deliverance from Roman domination. The people that shouted Hosanna misunderstood the nature of his kingship and in the end they joined with the Romans and participated in his crucifixion.

Jesus had no interest in political power and his agenda did not include the destruction of the Roman state as the Jews wished. He came to establish God’s kingdom which was to be built on love and obedience to God’s laws; in John’s Gospel he says “My kingdom is not of this world.” Jesus’ kingship is not related to political power. This might seem strange to many given the fact that when we think of kingship it is usually related to force and power.

The Feast of Christ the King which the Church celebrates today affirms the kingship of Christ over all creation. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. Unlike earthly kings, he is King by reason of his service to humanity and his willingness to die for the sins of humanity.  As a result of his service and death he has been given  a name which is above every other name and he sits at God’s right hand in heaven. St. Paul writes, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Jesus is our King. The kingship of Christ is political in the sense that in involves the defeat of the forces of evil and the establishment of God’s rule over all creation. The kingdom of God is not a place above the bright blue sky as is often described, it is a concept which speaks of and points to a time when God’s sovereign rule will be established over all creation and everything will be subject to Christ. But the kingdom will not be the result of military force and might; it will be built on man’s loving response to God’s invitation to share in the life of the kingdom as we submit our lives to Christ’s rule.

The kingship of Christ stands in opposition to our understanding of power and greatness. Modern man sees greatness within the context of power, money and what one possesses. Jesus’ greatness is seen in his service to humanity and his love for sinners. He is great because he accepts suffering and death and by so doing makes it possible for us to become citizens of God’s kingdom. He gives us a lesson and teaches that our greatness will be seen as we exercise love, mercy, forgiveness and compassion in our earthly relationships.

The Feast of Christ the King says Jesus is our King and we can cry to him ‘Hosanna’. But what do we want him to save us from? What would you want God to save you from today/this morning? Save me from the present economic crisis. Save me from death. Save me from unemployment. Save me from drugs. Save me from my sins. Save me from my anger and despair. Save me from my pains. Save me from my fears and doubts. Our cry of Hosanna is a cry to be saved from all that robs us of an authentic life. It is a cry to be healed of whatever is broken and prevents us from enjoying a full life. This plea must involve repentance and a willingness to follow Christ.

The Feast of Christ the King speaks to our world. This world is marred by sin which manifests in all kinds of evil.  We are tempted to lose hope and to question God’s power. This Feast of Our Lord reminds us that a time is coming when all creation will submit to God’s rule and evil will be no more. Sing we the King who is coming to reign.

Jesus was given the name Emmanuel. "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us). Jesus saves us by being with us. In our joys and sorrows he is present to save us. In the messiest times of our lives he is present to save us. This is the message of the Incarnation: God became man to save man from his fatal predicament.

Hosanna! Save us.

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