Thursday, April 1, 2010

King of kings

The Crucifixion (1515) - Grünewald

One of the joys of Holy Week is having the opportunity to compare and contrast what Our Lord reveals is true leadership with what the world (Gr. κόσμος) considers leadership.

In mimetic theory terms, Girard calls the former "external mediation" and the latter "internal mediation." The former is revealed by One Who, by definition, comes from without the hall of mirrors of human mimesis, social interaction, terms of acceptable discourse, and, well, to be blunt, the two-sided political penny of fear-of-the-crowd and courting/fooling the crowd.

In His encounter with Satan in the wilderness just after His baptism in the Jordan by John, Our Lord is given three golden opportunities to grasp what the "prince of this world" (Jn 12,31) has in his keeping to grant: (a) making bread from a stone, (b) forcing the hand of divine intervention by throwing Himself off a pinnacle of the Temple, and (c) receiving political power extraordinaire over all the kingdoms of the world - clearly, Satan's to give Him.

What mere politician would not say "Done!" to at the very least the last one (c) as the expedient thing to do for "the greater good?" That's what politics is all about, after all.

But Our Lord, the "external Mediator" Who bears the light of God to a dark world of sin will have none of it.* He was, as the Evangelist St. John says,
...true light, which enlightens everyone ... coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth.
Remember, as we enter the holiest time of the holiest season of the Christian calendar, what the cosmos, the world, does to gain political power, and its motives. Remember what Our Lord did on the Cross and why. Remember that mere politics are not sufficient to save the world, or, gentle reader, your eternal soul.

Kneel at the foot of the Holy Cross again. And pledge your fealty to the King of mere kings, despots, prime ministers, and presidents. He and He alone deserves your ultimate loyalty, not mere mortal "internal mediators." Particularly the ones who are so good at politics, the pocket-coin of the "prince of this world."

You are made imago dei for the eternal weight of glory. Worship and adore God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, blessed Trinity.

Vexilla Regis prodeunt:
Fulget crucis mysterium,
Quo carne carnis Conditor
Suspensus est patibulo.

The royal banners forward go,
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where he in flesh, our flesh who made,
Our sentence bore, our ransom paid.
*Jesus summoned them and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." - Mtt 20,25-28

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