These readings offer thinly veiled critiques of monarchy, particularly suitable in an era where women are treated like chattel subjects dependent upon the whims of a despotic theocratic ruling class. Samuel is, surprisingly to many readers, anti-monarchy. He lists all that a king will take from the people and how they will find themselves enslaved by their own monarch.
Lacking other models, the psalmist conjures a template for a righteous monarch. It is presented as Solomon’s own prayer for a wise and just rule. It can be read in light of David’s excesses as a sincere prayer to do better. However, monarchy is a despotic venture. Solomon will not do better.
The epistle demonstrates the hostility of monarchy – empire here – to potential competitors, here the Church. Again, presaging our current era: there is no freedom to believe differently than those who hold power over your life.
And in the gospel, the One who could claim every kingdom, every monarchy, every empire, said, “you can keep that crown.” Perhaps because they would not hear him, Jesus demonstrated that there was no throne on this earth fit for his Majesty by walking away on the water, the sea that stormed and raged and from time to time swept their loved ones away.