The one who reigns from a Cross of Love
This weekend’s solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, marks the crowning of the liturgical year, the Church’s year. We have retold ‘Our’ story. Our faith and hope. Soon we will begin again. The readings at Mass have as their common theme the centrality of Christ. Christ is at the centre; Christ IS the centre. Christ is the centre of creation; Christ is the centre of His people and Christ is the centre of all history.
The apostle Paul, in the second reading, offers us a profound vision of the centrality of Jesus. He presents Christ to us as the first-born of all creation: in Him, through Him and for Him all things were created. He is the centre of all things, He is the beginning: Jesus Christ, the Lord. God has given Him the fullness, the totality, so that in Him all things might be reconciled (cf. Col 1:12-20). He is not only the Lord of creation, He is the Lord of reconciliation. Besides being the centre of creation and the centre of reconciliation, Jesus is the centre of the people of God. Today, He is here in our midst. He is here right now in His Word, and He will be here on the altar, alive and present amid us, His people, in the Blessed Sacrament. We see this in the first reading which describes the time when the tribes of Israel came to look for David and anointed him king of Israel before the Lord (cf. 2 Sam 5:1-3). In searching for an ideal king, the people were seeking God Himself: a God who would be close to them, who would accompany them on their journey, who would be a brother to them. Jesus Christ, the descendant of King David, is really the “brother” around whom God’s people come together. It is He who cares for His people, for all of us, even at the price of His life. Finally, we hear that Christ Jesus is the centre of the history of humanity and also the centre of the history of every individual. The one who reigns from a Cross of LOVE. To Him we can bring the joys and the hopes, the sorrows and troubles which are part of our lives. When Jesus is the centre, light shines even amid the darkest times of our lives; He gives us hope, as He does to the good thief in today’s Gospel reading.
Whereas all the others treat Jesus with disdain – “If you are the Christ, the Messiah King, save yourself by coming down from the cross!” – the thief who went astray in his life but now repents, clings to the crucified Jesus and begs him: “Remember me, when you come into your kingdom” (Lk 23:42). Jesus promises Him: “Today you will be with me in paradise” (v. 43), in His kingdom. Jesus speaks only a word of forgiveness, not of condemnation; whenever anyone finds the courage to ask for this forgiveness, the Lord does not let such a petition go unheard. Today we can all think of our own history, our own journey. Each of us has his or her own history: our mistakes, our sins, our good times and our bleak times. We would do well, each one of us, to think about our own personal history, to look at Jesus and to keep telling Him, sincerely and quietly: “Remember me, Lord, now that you are in your kingdom! Jesus, remember me, because I want to be good, but I just don’t have the strength: I am a sinner, I am a sinner. But remember me, Jesus! You can remember me because you are at the centre, you are truly in your kingdom.
Jesus’ promise to the good thief gives us great hope: it tells us that God’s grace is always greater than the prayer which sought it. The Lord always grants more, He is so generous, He always gives more than what He has been asked: you ask Him to remember you, and He brings you INTO His kingdom! Praise be Christ, King of the Universe, our King, our Saviour, Lord, and brother. Let’s have courage to tell of our King and live for Him.
Fr David Jones OLW