Between the Two
Between the Two

Between the Two

The Solemnity of Christ the King. Fr David Rocks preaches on the turn of the year.

In celebrating the Solemnity of Christ the King in this year of 2022, we do so between two very poignant and historic moments in the life of our country: the Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II a few short weeks ago; and the Coronation of His Majesty The King in just a few months’ time. Few will have failed to be moved by the symbolic removal of the orb and sceptre from Queen Elizabeth’s coffin in the final moments of her obsequies, to be placed on the altar, with the crown placed between the two. At his Coronation, the orb and sceptre will be presented to The King as symbols of his authority, spiritual and temporal. The crown, placed on his head, between the two, he will wear for the remainder of his days, by the grace of God. The passing of times and seasons is a constant reminder to us that death and decay gives way to life and freshness in abundance: somehow or other, we stand between the two.

Coming to the end of another liturgical year, we stand this week between the two. We have told the whole story once again, albeit using slightly different words, and we are about to do the same thing again. Naturally, and in accordance with pious custom, our minds turn towards remembering those who have passed, as in these darker and colder days we await the far-off spring. Perhaps something different has struck us during our journey along this familiar path this past year? Perhaps, we are somehow inoculated or distant from it (or parts of it)? Maybe we feel some of it doesn’t apply to us? The joy of repentance, and the dangers of temptation: we seem perpetually stuck between the two. We need rescuing – we need a Saviour.

They crucified a king with two thieves: between the two. As he journeyed to the place of crucifixion, some jeered, there were tears, but also indifference. What do we see when this scene is our contemplation? What do we do? One of the thieves is in despair – resigned and given up. His fate seems set, is there any point in doing otherwise than wallowing in his misfortune and submitting to an ignominious death? The other takes a risk: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”. And there, between the two, he shares God’s salvation with all the nations. “Truly I say to you, this day you will be with Me in Paradise.”

The episode of the Crucifixion is right at the centre of the history of human salvation. It is the boundary of the darkness of sin and death and the fulness of life – between the two. At this moment we see the two aspects of His Kingship: spiritual and temporal. For if we are to proclaim Him to the nations we must receive him in our hearts. Between ignorance and wisdom, between decay and glory, He is there and he is crowned. He must remain King until all is subject to Him, for none can have life apart from Him.

On this Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, we name Him as our King and proclaim Him to the nations. Caught up in a desire to share His reign and to live forever, all too often as individuals. and as a race, we fall into the temptation to crown ourselves, our possessions, our ideologies. This feast day gives us the opportunity to prepare to journey the familiar path again, perhaps with slightly different words – but with radically different attitudes? Who knows what might change in the world if somehow we can navigate between the two…

Readings: 2 Samuel 5:1-3 | Colossians 1:12-20 | Luke 23:35-43

Image: Crucifix in the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence photographed by Fr Lawrence Lew OP

fr David Edward Rocks OP live at the Priory of the Holy Spirit, Oxford, and is Chaplain to the Oratory School.

Comments (1)

  • Fr. Steven Frenier OFM Conv

    Wonderful homilies for Christ the King. Many thanks for sharing it.


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