Guards surround the coffin of King Richard III as his remains lie in repose at Leicester Cathedral during the public viewing of his coffin in Leicester, England, March 23. CNS photo/Andy Rain, EPA

Easter invites us to choose the kingship of Christ

  • April 2, 2015

The drama of Holy Week is a story about a king. The crowd that welcomes Jesus on Sunday, waving their palm branches, acclaims Him: “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,
the king of Israel!”

On Friday, Pontius Pilate asks Jesus whether He is a king. The soldiers mock Him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” He is crucified with the declaration of His royal identity nailed to the cross above His head.

Last week in Leicester, the highest ecclesiastical authorities in England buried a king. His remains were visited by some 20,000 people as they lay in state in Leicester cathedral. Royal funerals happen on occasion, but this one was unusual, for King Richard III died in 1485. He was killed in battle in what we now call the War of the Roses between the dynastic houses of York and Lancaster. A Catholic king when England was entirely Catholic, he was buried at the Greyfriars priory at Leicester.

During the Reformation, Richard III’s successor on the throne, Henry VIII, abolished the monasteries, stealing their properties and destroying their buildings. The grave of Richard III was thus lost to history until three years ago, when it was discovered underneath a parking lot. The remains were recovered, authenticated and buried this week.

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