“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43)
Since the beginning of this liturgical year, we have been celebrating specific aspects of the life of Christ. At Advent, we prepared for the birth of Christ. At Christmas, we celebrated the incarnation of Christ amongst mankind. In Lent, we prepared to recall Christ’s saving action on the Cross of Calvary. At Easter, we celebrated the resurrection of Christ. During the period of Ordinary Time, we dwelt deeply on the teachings of Christ in the Gospels picking them one after another.
Having come to the end of this liturgical year, today’s Solemnity is the concluding statement of all our celebrations thus far: This Jesus that took flesh in the womb of Mary, lived amongst us, preached and worked several miracles, carried the cross, died and rose again on the third day, ascended to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit amongst us is the KING OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE.
In this part of the world, our celebration of the Christ the King is usually accompanied by processions around our streets with a whole lot of singing, marching, dancing, clapping and public veneration of Christ the King in the Blessed Sacrament. This aspect is beautifully illustrated by our Psalmist today: “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.” Today, we re-live the joyful welcoming of Jesus into the City of Jerusalem. As we proceed with today’s liturgy, there are some vital points to guide our reflections.
1. Christ is King. Yes, but is Christ Your King?
The rulers scoffed at Jesus, the soldiers mocked Him, the crowds jeered at Him, the same people who sang “Hosanna to the Son of David” shouted: “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” With face disfigured and blood dripping across His wounded body, Christ dragged His cross across the streets of Jerusalem to the point of crucifixion. The inscription on the cross was just a mockery. “How can this man be a king? … A king without an army? … He saved others, yet, he can’t save himself.”
The shocking reality is that even today, Christ is still being mocked, scoffed at and insulted painfully, by those of us who claim to be Christians. Today, we move around our streets shamelessly singing and dancing, rubbing ourselves on the ground in exultation of Christ, but what happens when we return home? Do we allow Christ to reign in our living rooms, in our business places, in our sense of fashion, in our daily interactions with others? When we do not get answers to our prayers, when the miracles we expect do not come, when life is tough, when we face persecution, do we still honour Christ as our King?
2. Christ is King. For Him, Nothing is Impossible.
While others were mocking Jesus, there were some who were not moved by the seeming “defeat” of Christ on the Cross. In fact, there was one man who had eyes to see that Christ is truly the King of the Universe, the second thief. Not only did he rebuke the other thief for mocking Jesus, but he also showed sincere contrition for his life of sin and turned to Jesus to plead: “Remember me when you come into your kingly power.” Jesus was so impressed by this man’s faith that He offered him an instant ticket to paradise. Jesus forgave his sins at once and answered His prayer. The thief wasn’t asking to come down from the cross as others, he was asking for something more precious; eternal life because he knew that his death was not the end. How is your prayer life? Do you ask with faith?
3. Christ is King: Therefore, we are Princes and Princesses.
In today’s second reading, St. Paul explains the implications of the Kingship of Christ. By our union with Christ the King, we are not ordinary persons, we are royalty; we have been delivered from the dominion of darkness, we walk in light, we receive forgiveness of our sins, we are members of the body where Christ is the Head. As Jesus would say: “Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Mark 3:35). Anyone from a royal family knows that there are certain rules which guides their behaviour. In Christ’s kingdom, there is only one rule: LOVE. As we see, Christ on the Cross does not hate even those who were killing Him; He loved everyone to the end. He forgave them and prayed for them. We disgrace Christ when we don’t live by this principle of Love.
4. Christ is King: His Kingdom is Forever.
Earthly Kingdoms come and go, but Christ is so powerful: His Kingdom remains forever. Check out the history of the world and tell me if there is any kingdom that considered itself a world-power which did not eventually fall? Our first reading today brings our mind to that of David. As great and glorious David was, his kingdom was only a foretaste (or preparation) of God’s kingdom that was to come in the person of Christ. All earthly power is fleeting, contingent and constantly under threat but the Kingdom of Christ is forever.
In conclusion, as we go out today to show the world our faith, many who do not understand would think we are idol worshippers. They would mock us, insult us and even try to obstruct us. Don’t be distracted. Focus only on Jesus. On the other hand, many would stand and stare, some would want to know what is happening. This is an opportunity for us to spread the faith. Whatever the case, know that what becomes of your life after today would testify for or against you by this procession.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, King of the Universe, set me free from slavery to sin that I may render your Majesty service and ceaselessly proclaim your praise. Amen.
Bible Study: 2nd Samuel 5:1-3, Psalm 122, Colossians 1:12-20 and Luke 23:35-43).