Saturday, November 24, 2007
SOLEMNITY, CHRIST THE KING
SOLEMNITY, CHRIST THE KING - C
2 SAMUEL 5:1-3
In those days, all the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and
said: "Here we are, your bone and your flesh. In days past, when
Saul was our king, it was you who led the Israelites out and brought
them back. And the LORD said to you, 'You shall shepherd my people
Israel and shall be commander of Israel.'" When all the elders of
Israel came to David in Hebron, King David made an agreement with
them there before the LORD, and they anointed him king of Israel.
Brothers and sisters: Let us give thanks to the Father, who has made
you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. He
delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the
kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the
forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the
firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in
heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones
or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created
through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all
things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. He is
the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he
himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness was pleased
to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making
peace by the blood of his cross through him, whether those on earth
or those in heaven.
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 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 crimes, 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."
Today we come to the end of the Church's liturgical year. One of the
fundamentals of our faith is summed up in the very title of today's
feast, Christ the King. We find Christ's kingship very explicitly
referred to in the liturgy of Palm Sunday. We find it also in the
feast of the Epiphany and again in the events of his Passion.
The Epiphany celebrates the arrival of the wise men from the east who
brought the infant Jesus lavish gifts. We traditionally think of
them as Kings, and certainly the presents they bring are full of the
symbolism of kingship: gold, frankincense and myrrh. On Palm Sunday
we recall how Jesus went up to Jerusalem to bring his ministry to a
climax riding on a donkey and hailed as King by a crowd of ordinary
people. In the Passion Narratives there are some very explicit
references to Christ's kingship. The soldiers put the purple cloak
and the crown of thorns on him in order to mock; but as so often with
those who mock, their actions betray much more than they ever
realize. Not only did they dress Jesus in royal robes, but incredibly
Pilate placed on his cross above his head the inscription 'Jesus of
Nazareth, King of the Jews'.
The irony of these things stagger us who realize the truth. All these
symbols tell us so much. They convey to people down through the ages
that Jesus was no ordinary King. He was the very King of Kings and
the Lord of All. But he is not the kind of King the world is used
to. He has no trappings of power, no wealth, no servants, no army,
no palace. He does not punish his enemies or worry about the right
of succession. And yet Jesus is all that you could ever want in a
King. He is a merciful King. He is a kind and generous King.
He is a King who steps down from his throne to share the life of his
subjects. And above all he is a King who was prepared to make the
ultimate sacrifice for our sake, laying down his life for us upon the
cross. None of this comes as any surprise to us who are familiar with
the Gospel, because we are used to things being turned upside down.
In the Kingdom of God, the poor are brought to the top of the table,
those who mourn rejoice, those who give away their last possessions
receive riches beyond compare and so on. If the Kingdom turns things
upside down, then we must have an upside down King. And that is
precisely what Christ is, an upside down King. He is a King who
carries the wounds of suffering; a King who knows persecution, a King
who had no home, a King who was ignored by the aristocracy and the
We have for our Gospel reading today the story of the crucifixion
itself. It is rather strange that the scene of the crucifixion is the
best access to an understanding of Jesus' kingship. When Jesus stands
shackled and beaten before the people, clad in a purple mantle of
contempt, crowned with thorns and holding a mock scepter of reed,
Pilate says: 'Here is your king,' and without being aware of it,
Pilate speaks the truth. Jesus confirms this truth: 'Yes, I am a
king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world.' Again
without knowing it, all those who mock him give the right answer when
they say: 'He saved others.' But when they add: 'He cannot save
himself,' they are utterly mistaken, for Jesus does not have to save
In royal freedom he has declared his solidarity with all people who
suffer, with all who are humiliated and beaten, with all who are
marginalized. It is to save these people that he came and that he
shows himself as the Son of God.
We know how Jesus' life ends but to the casual reader it would seem
as if Jesus has taken the gamble and lost. The world rejects him. Of
course, we know different. We know that only some reject him and that
even their rejection is turned to the advantage of the whole of
If this great feast of Christ the King is a recapitulation of the
fundamental beliefs about Jesus, we have, in the touching encounter
between the man we call the good thief and Jesus, a beautiful
expression of what we really want to say to him: 'Jesus, remember me
when you come into your kingdom.' It is a simple phrase, but
breathtaking in its beauty and ability to capture just what we want
to express ourselves.
If we were to make no other prayer to Jesus, we could not do better
that to make these words of the good thief our very own: 'Lord,
remember me when you come into your kingdom.' And what a wonderful
message of hope there is in the response of Jesus to the good
thief: 'Today you will be with me in paradise.' In uttering these
words, Jesus confirms his kingship.
The kingship of Jesus consists in forgiving sin and granting of
eternal life. Jesus testifies that his kingship is not of this world.
But it can begin in this world and it is capable of changing society
to its very foundations. This kingdom begins wherever people begin to
live according to the style of life of Jesus As today's Preface says,
it is a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a
kingdom of justice, love and peace.
All these we still badly need today. It is no mistake that the Church
chooses these words: 'Today you will be with me in paradise' to be
the very last words of the Gospel on the very last Sunday of the
year. These words which are the fulfillment of all we could ever
want, all we could ever hope for, ring in our ears. And we want to
cry out with the very same words of the people who welcomed Jesus
into Jerusalem: 'Hosanna in the highest, blessed is he who comes in
the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.'
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
... for the strength, healing and speedy recovery of:
- Damaso Guevara, Eligia Fernando, Sr. Belen Latorre, DC
- Dennis Labayen and Mario Delariarte
- Fr. Santos Mena, S.J.
... for the personal intentions of Pe Family
... Good health:
- Guevarra Family
- Fred and Nel de Leon and family
... In Thanksgiving: Jennette
... for the eternal repose of the soul of Tolentino Abu Sandoval.
Eternal rest grant unto him and may perpetual light shine upon him.
May he and all the dearly departed rest in peace.
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Flora Tong
- Birthday: Rosario D Pobre
- Birthday: Sr. Aurora Gucilla
- Birthday: Zenaida G. Bagabaldo
- Wedding Anniversary: Dino & Kelly Bate
- Wedding Anniversary: Glenn & Dottie Jao
... for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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