|Where do you see yourself?|
Fresco from Church of St. Martin, Ludesch, Austria
Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King—C
Soon we will hail the humble arrival of a newborn king lying in a manger. On Sunday--the last of the liturgical year before we begin the season of Advent—we honor a crucified king.
God tends to turn everything on its ear, revealing himself in ways we can’t imagine and don’t expect. God embraces humanity by becoming one of us; the King of kings and Lord of lords is nailed to a cross; and he rules by redemption. That’s not the type of Messiah people were expecting.
Try placing yourself in today’s Gospel scene. Where do you see yourself? The rulers and soldiers surrounding Jesus call him “chosen one,” “Christ,” and “King of the Jews,” but only to mock him. “Save yourself,” they sneer. In other words, “If you’re God, prove it.”
One of the two criminals crucified with him wants to be saved, but demands salvation on his own terms and in bitter desperation. The other criminal, however, does something surprising. He acknowledges his crimes, and then in calm hopefulness addresses Christ the King by name: “Jesus [in Hebrew, 'God saves'], remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Facing death and all evidence to the contrary, a crucified criminal recognizes God’s saving presence and proclaims it from his own cross when Jesus had been abandoned by most of his followers. For this act of faith, Jesus promises: “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
This King offers peace by the blood of his cross. Why?
Because "He remembers us and he will bless us" (Psalm 115:12).