Gospel: (Luke 23: 35-43)
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 the 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, “…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.” Jesus replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
On this last Sunday of the liturgical year we celebrate Christ’s kingship. The notion of “king” can conjure up images of power, wealth and self-serving rule. But here we have a King who has no power and wealth; his throne is a cross and his rule is suffering and death. Would we be like the thief crucified with Jesus who wishes Jesus to abuse his power to save himself and them? Or would we be like the thief who recognizes his own sinfulness and Jesus’ goodness? Jesus demonstrates his kingship not by saving himself but by saving others. The reign of God is not in power but in mercy. The cross is where we least expect a king to be. Yet this is how God’s kingdom is established and where our discipleship begins. Jesus demonstrates his kingship not by power but by loving reassurance that Paradise awaits faithful disciples. (Living Liturgy, p. 252)
Devotion to Christ the King means loving those people whom, when he was a king on earth, Jesus liked to have close about him—the poor. Devotion to Christ the King means loving and being servants of the poor in the way and in the spirit with which Jesus served them when he was on earth. Devotion to Christ the King means opposing and rejecting violence in all its forms. Devotion to Christ the King means working for peace and reconciliation in our society, for his kingdom is one of love and justice and peace. (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p.569)
Discussion: (Share thoughts on the readings after a moment of silence)
How are we showing our devotion to Christ the King?
Christ our King, source of compassion,
-may we bring peace to all who have lost hope.
Christ our King, source of reconciliation,
–may we reject violence in all its forms .
Christ our King, source of peace,
-may we have the courage to work for justice.