“Suppose then a King who loved a humble maiden.”

Soren Kierkegaard  

Friday, 24 September 2021

Mark 9:30–37

Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish Philosopher, once wrote a parable about a King who loved a humble maiden. He loved her, and he desired that she loved him in return. But, he didn’t want her to love him because he was a King – because he was powerful or wealthy. He wanted her to really love him for who he was. So, as the parable goes, the King renounced his throne and became humble himself. He lived and worked alongside her in the hope that she would truly fall in love with him. 

We might criticise the King in Kierkegaard’s parable. How could he renounce everything because of love? Regardless of what we think of his decision, we can recognise that this is what God has done for us. God wanted humanity to love him truly and deeply. But he didn’t want us to love him out of duty or undue influence. So he sent his Son to be one of us. Jesus became human to show us the human face of God. 

This gives us an opportunity to pause and to reflect:

Do we love God truly and deeply?

Do we love him freely, or do we love him because we feel pressurised to – perhaps out of a sense of duty?

If we identify a sense of duty in our love of God, does Kierkegaard’s parable of the King change our perspective of God a little?  

Loving God,

You wanted to draw near to us by sending your Son into the world to become human. You desired our free and loving response. Open our hearts to receive the love you have given to us. Help us to love you in the way that you love us.


Rev. Grant Tungay SJ

Fr Grant Tungay SJ is a lawyer by training, he left a career in law to join the Jesuits. He specialised in human rights law and has done volunteer work at the SA Human Rights Commission and also worked as an intern for the Centre of Applied Legal Studies at WITS. He worked at the Jesuit Institute South Africa for a few years in the area of social justice and is interested in the overlap between law, social justice and spirituality.

See more from Grant Tungay SJ
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