Scripture: Lectionary 163. Sunday, Nov.24: Feast of Christ the King. II Samuel 5:1-13. Psalm 122: 1:1-2, 3-4, 4-5. Colossians 1:12-20. Luke 23:35-43
n this Sunday Jesus is proclaimed King of the universe and of all creation. We celebrate the feast of Christ the King in order to bring to mind this mystery of our redemption through Jesus’ death on the cross. The liturgical year thus brings us to realize that Jesus came to rule creation through an absolute gift of self in love; a love that redeems and leads us into the kingdom.
The three year cycle of the Sundays on which we celebrate this feast present Jesus as shepherd king in Matthew, to Jesus king of truth in John, to Jesus the compassionate one who rules from the cross in Luke.
In the reading from Paul’s letter to the Colossians we hear that we are brought “into the kingdom of his beloved Son.” This is called a thanksgiving in his letters and it often gives the reader the purpose or the main points of the writing. Here it is looking at Jesus as the lord or king over all creation. Paul writes this in the perspective of his faith which is faith based on the resurrection of Jesus. This thanksgiving prayer is often used at the evening prayer of the Church. In it we have the components and attributes of Jesus’ kingship over the celestial powers of angels and the forces of the universe. Paul tells us, “He (Jesus) rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of his beloved Son. Through him we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins.”He makes peace through the supreme gift of his life upon the cross.
This brings us to the Gospel where we have Luke’s narrative of the compassionate king who dies upon the cross forgiving the thief who asked Jesus to remember him when Jesus comes into his kingdom. We learn that the kingship of Jesus is so different from our secular concept of who a king is and does. All that is associated with power and control are given up by our Lord as he dies on the cross and as he showed us what the kingdom of God is all about during his active ministry of words and deeds.
During this last week of the liturgical year we may wish to spend some time rereading this gospel selection from Luke in order to prepare ourselves for the great season of Advent where we once again remember the events and persons involved in the ongoing history of salvation. May we learn how to be humble, non-controlling of others, and self-giving in our service and generosity toward one another. The compassionate Jesus will help us to do this if we are in union with him through our prayers. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.