Reflection: Solemnity of Christ the King

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Tuesday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – 2Sam.5:1-3; Ps.121; 2nd Reading – Col.1:12-20; Gospel – Lk.23:35-43]

“… INTO YOUR KINGDOM”

Although we are told that there were many people in today’s gospel scene, it appears that while some of them seem to be inactive (i.e. the people who were watching Jesus and therefore witnesses of what was going on), we are also told that at least three different groups of people were actively making fun of Jesus while he was hanging on the Cross i.e.:

  • the leaders” who jeered at him…

  • the soldiers” who mocked him… and

  • one of the criminals” who abused him…

Luke, the gospel writer, presented them together in the “making fun” of Jesus, but at the same time we know they also hated each other: the leaders hated the soldiers for serving the foreign rulers, the leaders hated the criminals for not living according to the law of God; the soldiers hated the leaders for causing all the troubles in Judea, the soldiers hated the criminals because quite often the soldiers themselves became the target of these criminals: the criminals hated both the leaders and the soldiers because their presence hampered their criminal activities! Still, despite their hatred for each other, they are quite united in jeering, mocking and abusing Jesus!

Furthermore, it seems that these three groups of people know Jesus quite well because they make use of words and titles that Jesus gained while he was still with them. The leaders say that Jesus is ‘a saviour’ and ‘the Christ of God, the Chosen One.’ The soldiers call him ‘the king of the Jews.’ The criminal calls him ‘Christ’ and ‘saviour.’ They know him through what he did, but they question their understanding of who he really is!

In contrast, we have the totally different attitude of the other criminal – he is the only person who was ready to take Jesus’ defence, rebukes his criminal colleague and has the courage to speak up and stand for Jesus. Like the others who were making fun of Jesus, he also knows Jesus quite well but unlike the others he recognises his innocence – and he calls him ‘a man who has done nothing wrong’; he also recognises that Jesus ‘has his own kingdom’ – thus making of Jesus a God, not as one of the many gods but the mighty God whom this criminal is ready to follow… forever. So while the other criminal wanted to continue his life in this world (which at a certain time has to have an end) this second criminal wanted to continue his life in the other world (with Jesus).

We are celebrating Jesus as the King of the Universe. What kind of kingdom are we looking for in him? Is it a passing kingdom which means that we have not understood anything of Christ?  Or is it a kingdom that has no end, which means that we accept Christ and his teaching even if we do not yet fully understand him?

“Lord, you are the King of the Universe, but sometimes I am not ready to make of you the king of my heart. Help me to become a full total subject of your heavenly kingdom!”

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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