Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 29 November |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos

A lamentation over the death of a King

Tod Worner - published on 04/15/17

[Pilate said,] “You have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover. Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”

They cried out again, “Not this one but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.

(John 18:39-40)

It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon, And [Pilate] said to the Jews, “Behold, your king!”

They cried out, “Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!”

Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?”

The chief priests answered, “We have no king by Caesar.”

(John 19:14-15)

Imagine.

Just imagine that God in human form stood before you. Truth itself. Love personified. The essence of Eternity and the epitome of Justice and Mercy. Beaten, broken, but unbowed, God staggered on his two bloody feet. And you are asked two questions by the powers that be. 

Shall I free him?

Shall I kill him?

And what do you say?

You not only emphatically refuse his release but you demand the pardon of a violent revolutionary instead. And if that weren’t enough, you insist that God be viciously executed as you falsely claim allegiance to Caesar, your people’s oppressive dictator. In other words, you hand the Savior of the world over to sadists and executioners, while arranging the liberation of an enemy of Caesar while simultaneously pledging undying fealty to Caesar.

Imagine.

And so…while the chief conspirators loudly declared their hollow loyalty to a despot king, the True King died. That is what happened today. And tonight, what remains on this dark eve of Good Friday and deep into tomorrow, is the crushing reality…the mournful, unfinished cry, “The King is dead!”. For we know, despite our professions to the contrary, Caesar isn’t our true king and Barabbas isn’t our ally.

In certain royal circles, the disconsolate cry, “The King is dead!” is followed by the hopeful corrective “Long live the King!” for the health and prosperity of the next ruler. But today, on Good Friday, there is no successor, there is no other king. For God walked among us, healed us, taught us and loved us without condition. The King warmly consorted with his people – his children. And now, inexplicably, the King is dead. The King is dead.

And we killed him.

And so, for a time – for a short and dark while – let us mourn. Let us feel the oppressive heaviness of loss and the empty blackness of Christ’s death. Let us sit still and do as Shakespeare’s King Richard II entreated,

No matter where; of comfort no man speak:
Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;
Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth,
Let’s choose executors and talk of wills:
And yet not so, for what can we bequeath
Save our deposed bodies to the ground?…

For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings.

 The King is dead.


Photo credit: Michelangelo’s Pieta (Wikimedia Commons)

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to t...
FIRST CENTURY HOUSE AT THE SISTERS OF NAZARETH SITE
John Burger
British archaeologist confident he has found ...
PRAY
Cerith Gardiner
12 Things we can be grateful for this Thanksg...
EARTHQUAKE
Bret Thoman, OFS
Two earthquakes couldn't stop these Italian n...
CATHEDRAL OF THE SACRED HEART
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
6 Questions to determine if your heart is har...
VATICAN POPE GOOD FRIDAY COLOSSEUM
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Learn to pray with the early Church and to di...
See More