The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, Cycle C

Author: Fr. Patrick Butler, LC



The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King
Cycle C
Readings: 2 Samuel 5:1-3; Psalm 122; Colossians 1:12-20; Luke 23:35-43
Author: Fr. Patrick Butler, LC

THEME OF THE READINGS
Jesus Christ is King and Lord of the cosmos - of creation and salvation. He is the fulfillment of the promise of perpetual rule to the house of David. However, his Kingship differs from that of David. He rules triumphant from the cross, where he is regarded with disdain by those who sought a temporal and political messiah or king. His Kingdom can be recognized only by those who believe that he is the Son of God.

DOCTRINAL MESSAGE
The principal message of the liturgy this week can be found in all three Readings. The First Reading recalls the anointing of David as King of Israel. For the people of Israel, the King represented God and was a mediator for the people. David was first chosen not by the elders, but by God himself, who saw in the heart of David a man after His own heart. He is the prefigurement of the future Messiah, fulfilled in Christ – the true and only mediator between God and man, the faithful Son who perfectly fulfills the will of the Father, whose Kingdom will never fail.

The Gospel debuts with Jesus´ adversaries, rulers themselves, mocking him and challenging him to a show of power if he is indeed the messiah. Saving himself from death would be a sign of power. The inscription above the cross states plainly, "This is the King of the Jews," without further commentary. One of the two criminals crucified with Jesus cries out in a bitter, unbelieving tone, rebelling against impending death, that Jesus should extend his act of saving himself from death to the two criminals with him.

None of these personages understands Jesus´ Kingship and the nature of his Kingdom. Only the other criminal, who recognizes his own sinfulness and Jesus´ innocence, has the eyes to see the Kingdom that Christ´s death establishes. He asks to be remembered and, since his words are tantamount to a confession of sinfulness and a public profession of faith, Jesus assures him that he will be remembered. In fact, he will join Christ in the eternal Kingdom, in Paradise.

St. Paul puts in more doctrinal terms - but no less beautiful - the truth of the Kingdom. In the first place he declares, "He [the Father] 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." This is the reality that the "good thief" discovered. Secondly, St. Paul goes on to write the New Testament hymn that proclaims the plenitude, the fullness, of Christ both in the order of creation and in the order of salvation. This hymn concludes by restating that "…in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,/ and through him to reconcile all things for him,/ making peace by the blood of the cross/ through him whether those on earth or those in heaven."

In conclusion, Jesus´ Kingship is essentially fulfilled in eternity, but it is begun in time. After all, he established his Kingdom on the cross, by freeing sinners and bringing them to Paradise. Christians also work to further Christ´s Kingdom on earth, recognizing all the while that its fulfillment will be in eternity.

PASTORAL APPLICATIONS
This liturgy gives a wonderful opportunity to center our attention on the person and the mystery of Jesus Christ. We often have a poor Christology, which is the knowledge of the dimensions of the person of our Lord.

This solemnity gives an opportunity to focus on Christ as savior - as my savior. He rules as King by giving his life for me. My heart should be no less moved than that of the "good thief," who experienced this reality in an existential way.


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