Gold for a King

Christ was born God and man.  But we must remember too that he was born a king—indeed the King of kings—so it was fitting that three kings should be present at his Nativity to kneel before him and do him homage, presenting him their three gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  We can see these gifts as the crowns of Christ the King, for they are the reason for the large number of images and statues that depict Christ the King wearing a triple tiara, with the crown of gold symbolizing his royalty, the myrrh being the crown of thorns of his human Passion and Death, and the frankincense the symbol of his divinity and crown of glory.

The gold presented to the Christ Child at the Epiphany was not in the form of a crown, and yet it represented the true royalty of this newborn King.  Christ’s mission was spiritual, not political or military, and he constantly avoided any attempt to make him King.  Nevertheless, he is a king, he does have a kingdom, and it is up to us to give him due homage and crown him.  The Child of Bethlehem is a king, even by virtue of his human ancestry.  He is a descendant of King David and was born in Bethlehem because it was ‘Royal David’s City.’  “And Joseph also went up… into Judaea, unto the city of Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David), to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife.”  Both biologically through his Mother and legally through his foster father St. Joseph, our Lord Jesus Christ is the direct descendant of David, and as such is born “King of Israel.” 

Many of our images and statues of the Christ Child show him wearing a crown of gold—we have only to think of the example of the Infant of Prague.  We need to devise ways of reshaping the wise man’s birthday gift of gold into the form of a crown and placing it with veneration on the head of Christ our King.

It is the duty of the faithful to follow the example of the first of the wise men at Bethlehem and offer our own gold tributes, supporting the Holy Apostolic Mass as best we can.  But the gold we give to God is not always in the form of precious metal.  We should offer not only financial support, but also do our best to help make our churches and sanctuaries truly fit for a king.  Like the wise men, we travel to church, our new Bethlehem, our House of Bread, seeking the Christ Child that we may worship.  Our church, although perhaps a humble stable made of bricks and mortar, is in reality a royal house, a palace, that is built from the golden bricks of our generosity and the precious mortar of our personal sacrifices.  Our efforts to maintain the House of God is sometimes the only gold we can afford.  Nevertheless, the widow’s mite of dusting the pews and polishing the candlesticks is as precious in the sight of God as the most expensive gifts from the Church’s wealthiest donors.  It is her priceless offering to her Lord of Lords, her contribution to the royal diadem.  We should support the Church as best we can with whatever we have to offer.

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