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by Ottavio De Bertolis

"Let the children of Zion rejoice in their king" (Ps 149, 2): thus the Church, new Zion, exhorts her children to rejoice in Jesus, true king of glory. The king, in fact, according to the biblical conception, so different from the Western one, is not someone who is "above" to dominate, but one who is placed "under" the people, to take charge of them, lift them up and guide them: only in this sense God places him "above", on his shoulders, as the shepherd does with the sheep. This is why the expression “king” is equivalent to the name “shepherd”, and so the terms “good shepherd” and “good king” are equivalent. he is king because he rules, that is, he supports, and he is a shepherd because he guides: you can think of how many times we find in Scripture that He supports in trials, guides his flock and gathers the dispersed, heals the wounded sheep and takes care of the strong ones, and not you will never finish. 

A particularly beautiful image is that of the Apocalypse, in which the risen Christ is presented holding the seven stars, symbol of the Churches, and therefore of each of us, in his right hand, like a precious stone, a pearl that He found and he keeps close to himself before his Father (see Rev 1, 16). it is He who holds our existence in his hands, even if it may seem not, especially in the darkest moments of trial, physical or spiritual, and for this reason the Psalm says: «The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice, let all the islands rejoice. Clouds and darkness surround him, justice and justice are the basis of his throne" (Ps 97, 1-2). Clouds and darkness envelop him: the lordship of God over our lives sometimes seems hidden, obscured by many clouds, by a thick fog that envelops Him, as may be illnesses, ours or those of our loved ones, the spiritual or psychological trials to which we are exposed, sin, our own or that of others upon us, and finally death. The Psalmist wants to remind us that He alone is the King, the true Lord, and the others are all just self-styled "lords", they say they are, they present themselves as omnipotent, but the real power belongs to the Lord. And it is his love for him, strong as death and tenacious as the underworld (see Ps 117, 2), stronger and more resistant than all the evils of this world. Thus the Lord Jesus received a Name that is "above every other name" (Phil 2, 9), that is, "above every principality and power" (Eph 1, 21), that is, every human power and even diabolical. For this reason, as we said before, the children of the Church can rejoice in Him: and they can only do so because they are humble, that is, poor in everything other than Him. We therefore rejoice in Him because, even if He is hidden, "justice and right they are the basis of his throne": his throne is the cross, and He is "justice to all who believe in Him" ​​(Rom 10, 4), or they look at the one who was pierced, and there they learn to recognize the love of God, and to believe in Him. 

As you know, his "kingdom is not of this world" (Jn 18:36), that is, it is not made, established and maintained with the material with which kingdoms down here are built. The powers of men in this world are based on strength, and build balances of power; they are maintained by fear and enforced by violence. The kingdom of Jesus was constituted by his humility, with which he "humbled himself by becoming obedient even to death, even death on the cross" (Phil 2:8): Jesus renounced what was due to him, he did not consider a treasure to jealously defend its dignity, and has become smaller, not bigger; therefore those who work for this kingdom cannot choose different paths or means that He did not use, becoming servants as He did. For this reason, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, in his Spiritual Exercises, suggests that we ask Him, our true and supreme king, for the grace to choose and desire for us what He has chosen and desired for himself: humility, poverty , meekness, meekness, that is, everything that the world despises and rejects. However, all this cannot be achieved except in prayer: it is only the contemplation of the cross and the mystery that is enclosed within it that makes us capable, almost by osmosis, of putting on Him. Thus Paul states that «all of us, with uncovered faces, reflecting the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, we are transformed into that same image" (2 Cor 3, 18): He becomes the center of our heart, that is, of our deepest feelings, of our desires, of our aspirations, not for a sort of duty, not for a moral or religious law to be observed, but for the breath of the Spirit, the love that He gives us and pours into our hearts, making them capable of loving. Only in this way will we be signs of Him in this world of ours.

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