- “The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.”
Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”” ~ Luke 23:35-43
According to our liturgical calendar today is the last Sunday in Ordinary Time as we begin our approach to Advent and the Christ Mass. During this C Cycle of our liturgical year, the Sunday Gospel readings have been drawn from The Gospel of Luke and have taken us on a journey though the life of our Lord and Redeemer and those who had followed Him.
It is something to consider that the life of Jesus of Nazareth began with a King (Herod) trying to kill Him because he felt that the coming of the Messiah threatened his kingship. Then throughout His ministry He has to reject the efforts of His followers to make Him their earthly ‘King’. Then before His crucifixion He enters Jerusalem on a donkey, looking very much unlike any earthly king. Then His life here on earth concludes with Pontius Pilate placing a crown of thorns on this head, a purple cloak about His body, and affixing a placard above His head on the Cross that read “King of the Jews”. And then, shortly after He ascended into Heaven, Stephen “saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55-56).
It seems as if the message that the Holy Spirit is communicating through the sacred Gospel writings is that ‘Yes’ Jesus the Christ is your King, but He is not the king that you expected, desired, or tried to make on your own. This message draws us back today’s First Reading from 2 Samuel 5:1-3 when the tribes of Israel reminded David that it was God, not them, who chose him to be their King.
Salvation is really that simple. It is simple as accepting in love that Christ Jesus is the King of every aspect of our life, and as the tribes of Israel turned to David for leadership, guidance, protection, and justice as their king, so do we turn to our King Jesus for those things and more.
Salvation is not hard for God. Salvation it is as simple as a criminal being crucified telling (not asking) Jesus, “remember me when you come into your kingdom,” and Jesus telling him “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Notice how Jesus did not tell this man that he would be with Him in paradise after one thousand years in purgatory, or after His Second Coming. On the contrary, Jesus told this repentant criminal that he would be with Him in paradise on this day. It is true, incredible things like this happen whenever we accept Jesus for who He is – who our Father in Heaven gave Him to us to be.
Indeed, the gruesome fact here is Jesus is already King – there is nothing that we can do to crown Him King, nor is anything that we can do to dethrone Him. He is King forever and eternal. That is reality. All that we can do now – all that was given to us by God to do now is to either accept or reject what reality is. And it is wise to remember that the rejection of reality (what is real) is what makes one’s life a lie. That is, if you believe that Jesus is your King then act like it. Don’t pretend that He is only your King on Sundays, or when you are in trouble, or only the King over your finances, but King not over your relationships, job, and body, for, that would be living a lie. Either Christ Jesus is King over all of your life or He is King over none of your life.
Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before you. We are yours, and yours we wish to be; but to be more surely united with you, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to your Most Sacred Heart.Many indeed have never known you; many, too, despising your precepts, have rejected you. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to your Sacred Heart.
Be King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken you, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned you; grant that they may quickly return to their Father’s house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.
Be King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and the unity of faith,
so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.
Grant, O Lord, to your Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give tranquility of order to all nations; make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor for ever. Amen.
Scripture texts in this blog are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.