Sisters and Brothers! In the Bible there is a passage describing how the Jewish People asked the Prophet Samuel to give them a king so that they could be like other nations which had their own kings. It didn’t please God, but the Almighty ordered Samuel to anoint the first king whose name was Saul. He was followed by King David and King Salomon and many other kings right up to King Herod. Some of those kings were good some bad but a thousand years after people first asked for a king God fully answered that request by sending his only Son Jesus Christ. This Son, because of his humanity and divinity, was to welcome into his Kingdom all the nations of the world. Jewish people could turn to him as their King because he came from their nation, from the royal family of David. All the other nations however were not left out. They could and still can turn to him because as the Son of God who created the Universe, he is also the King of his Father’s dominion, the whole Universe.
When People of God asked for a king it was because they wanted to be like other nations. When God the Father gave his Son Jesus as King it was so we his followers, the beginning of his Kingdom, could make other nations like his Kingdom. Jesus has come so that all people and things could be restored in him. He has come so that people, you and I too, could be restored to the royal dignity of the sons and daughters of the Heavenly Father.
The Gospel we have been given this Sunday inspires us how to reclaim and live out that royal and godly dignity. However as we look closely into what Jesus told in this passage we discover that he didn’t teach us some royal etiquette. Jesus has invited us to live out our royalty as servants of others, particularly the most neglected people.
Jesus, the King of the Universe showed his immense power and authority two days after saying these words when he kneeled before his disciples and washed their feet. What an awesome king! Then he took to his throne… on the cross. What an awesome King! Next he was taken to his royal chamber, to the tomb. What an awesome King. Then on Easter Sunday morning he left that royal chamber and made his way to his disciples to include them into his great victory over sin and death. What an awesome King! When finally he took his seat in heaven at the right hand of his Father he could look over continents and oceans, in fact over galaxies of the Universe, He, the awesome King of the Universe. However his royal centre is not far away. It is high enough so everyone could see him but it is also close enough so that every single person could have access to him through faith, hope and love.
I began this homily with Queen Elizabeth I want to finish it with Queen Elizabeth too. However it is a different Queen Elizabeth. This one was a Hungarian Queen who lived in the thirteenth century. She is a saint. She exercised her royal status by serving the poor. Every morning and evening she was on the streets of her capital city to help the needy. She was so good at helping others that when she was dying she had nothing to own. She had given everything to the poor and she was only 24 when she died. Still Christian people have preserved the memory of that saintly Queen. She is usually pictured in the holy cards wearing her royal regalia and an apron because she took seriously the words of Jesus from today’s Gospel about seeing him in the hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick and imprisoned. In turn the hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick and imprisoned saw a saint in her, and rightly so.