Fr. Paul D. Scalia: The Hidden King

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*Image: Head of Christ Crowned with Thorns by Lucas Cranach the Elder, c. 1510 [private collection]

By Fr. Paul D. Scalia, The Catholic Thing, Nov. 22, 2020

Fr. Paul Scalia is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Va, where he serves as Episcopal Vicar for Clergy. His new book is That Nothing May Be Lost: Reflections on Catholic Doctrine and Devotion.


Fr. Paul D. ScaliaThere is a certain irony in today’s Solemnity of Christ the King. An irony that touches on the subtlety of His Kingship and the purpose of it.

In short, we celebrate today the very title that our Lord Himself avoided. When the crowds went to make Him King, He withdrew from them. (Jn 6:15) When Pontius Pilate asked Him directly, He gave the elusive response, “You say that I am a king;” (Jn 18:37. Although today we proclaim Him King of the universe, in His earthly life He desired to conceal His Kingship, to be merely “the Son of Man.”

Now, the story of a hidden king has always delighted us. There is something in the tale of an obscure, humble man whose veins run with royal blood that inspires and gives hope. We see this figure perhaps first in King David, who is the least in his family and yet divinely chosen, anointed, and elevated to the throne of Israel. There is Arthur, the unknown king who alone can draw the sword from the stone. Tolkien’s Aragorn hides his royal lineage until the time for him to reclaim the crown of Gondor. And so on.  ….

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