November 20, 2022: Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Gospel: Luke 23:35-43
The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, “He save 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 crime, 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.”
I know I am not alone when I say I have trouble celebrating the feast of Christ the King. No doubt this is because of the images kingship usually presents: Being in a position of power, lording it over others, showing one’s might, being in control, waging war on the weak and helpless.
However, in celebrating the feast, it helps me to realize that Jesus’ kingship was just the opposite of what we humans tend to think about rulers. Jesus lays aside authority and invites the first to consider being last; he never seeks praise or the limelight; Jesus bends down to lift others up from their burdens, their worries, their disappointments.
This week, let’s try to interact with people in the kingly way of Jesus, perhaps even asking ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” That questions still has merit, I believe.