As we end the liturgical year, we prepare for the gospel’s final portrayal of Jesus—as Christ the king—and for a new year with Luke as our guide. Mark’s Jesus, as described in preceding weeks, is anything but a traditional king. Rather, this king weeps with those who mourn and seeks out those bound by the cords of death, calling them to the new life of resurrection. He condemns a religious system that leaves poor widows destitute, and saves his most passionate criticism for those who not only exploit the vulnerable, but do so in God’s name. When the disciples behold the new temple in awe, Jesus assures them that it will be leveled by God’s new reign, confirming that his kingdom is different. It is built not on structures of power, dominance, and exploitation, but on love and concern for the least of these.
This final portrayal of Jesus comes as he prepares for his throne, the cross, where he will accept the forces of violence and death in body and spirit so that their power over us will end. Christ emerges victorious, resurrected—our true and only king! We are ready to start the sacred journey of Advent, when this ruler of all is born as a helpless child.
Redeemer, counselor, Emmanuel, God-with-us, God comes to us anew: “Stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near!” Rejoice!
Michaela Bruzzese, a Sojourners contributing writer, lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9; Psalm 24; Revelation 21:1-6; John 11:32-44