I have to say, I enjoyed growing up in the 80s and 90s! I still remember going to the movie theater with my family and friends to see great movies that our culture continues to try to recapture today. One movie in particular that I remember seeing was the Lion King. The music and cinematography were absolutely beautiful. As I was leaving the theater, one of the songs in particular was stuck in my head: “I Can’t Wait to be King.” The lyrics went on, “No one say ‘do this’, no one say ‘be there’, no one say ‘stop that’, no one say ‘see here’…” It’s quite a catchy song with an adolescent concept of freedom. The main character began the movie by thinking that kingship was all about having it my way. However, as the movie progresses and the main character comes of age, it becomes clear that kingship is best wielded at the service and love of others.
Based on my time forming future priests in the seminary, I can say that this misunderstanding often arises in many young seminarians today who may sing, “I can’t wait to be pastor! No one say do this, no one say be there… free to do it all my way!” However, that too would be a misunderstanding of what it means to be a pastor. Lucky for myself, the Church is very clear about how pastors are to lead their parishes. The scriptures used in the celebration of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, are a perfect example.
Our first reading brings it all together: kingship and shepherding (pastoring) belong together!
“And the LORD said to you,
‘You shall shepherd my people Israel
and shall be commander of Israel.'”
The great King David in the Old Testament, prior to being Israel’s great king, was first a shepherd willing to lay down his life for his flock. David was only made king when he first served and fought for his people. Jesus, who is the ultimate David, is both King and Shepherd. Christ makes it clear in His ministry, with the heart of a good shepherd, that He desires not only to serve and love his people, but even to suffer and die for them. What a beautiful King and Shepherd we have in Christ. Please pray that Fr. James and I may have the same heart of Christ the King and that we may continue to entrust our very lives to our Lord and King!