The Feast of Christ the King
May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts
Today the last Sunday of the year the Church celebrates we celebrate the feast of Christ the King…
Christ the King who laid down his life for each one of us.
Christ the King whose simplicity of life teaches us what’s really important.
Christ the King who generously and wantonly gives mercy to anyone who asks it.
If we read the Gospel carefully there were two types of people in the crowd at the crucifixion.
There are those who are silent and those who were virulent in their attacks on Jesus.
The second group was mostly the religious leaders of his time and they taunted and ridiculed the Jesus mercilessly.
They looked on his crucifixion as a complete victory and they looked on Jesus as a fraud and a failure.
For a while it seemed like he would be a threat to them.
For a while they were concerned about the number of people following him.
Now as he hung on the cross their position of power and prestige were secure.
There were others in the crowd
They had the courage not to go along with the majority
They stood at the foot of the cross in silence and in prayer.
What does the passage say to us?
What are we supposed to learn from it?
I propose to you three thoughts.
The first is this
We should never try and fit the message of Christ into our culture or world view.
That was the tragedy of the religious leaders of his time.
Jesus didn’t fit their mold or expectations so they dismissed him.
As followers of Christ it is our job, rather our sacred mission, to bring our world to Christ not water down or change the Gospel so that it is more acceptable to the world.
This is a mistake that many people make.
So often people say to me “come on father get with the times… nobody believes that anymore”
People who think this way seem to think that the truths of the Gospel are dependent on cultures and times and fads and even majority rule.
It’s as if they feel that we should vote on what we believe or not.
In season and out of season at any cost we must remain faithful to the Gospel of Christ the King.
Nations come and go, cultures change, what people think changes like the wind, but the Truths of the Gospel remain the same.
The second point which we need to consider is this.
This Gospel should cause us all to ask ourselves if Jesus were crucified today where would be in the crowd which side would we be on ?
Would we join with the vocal abusive majority or would we have the courage to stand in reverent silence.
Do we have the courage to stand up for the truth or do we follow the crowd?
Finally the Gospel today challenges us to hope
To hope in all circumstance
To hope without ever giving into despair
There could not be a more drastic circumstance than dying on a cross
There is no question that the both of the thieves were guilty as charged.
They were only facing justice.
They deserved what they got.
Yet one was saved and one was not.
One gave up on himself and the other took one last chance
Despite a life of horrendously wrong choices
Despite a life of hurting others
Despite a life of selfish self-seeking and arrogantly putting his wants and needs before others
The repentant thief found allowed himself to hope in God’s mercy
He allowed himself to be loved by God.
And because he dared to hope and ask forgiveness
The repentant their heard these words
“Today you will be with me in paradise”
Let us follow the example of Christ the King
Let us be faithful to the Gospel in season and out of season
Let us be willing to stand up for the truth
Let us be men and women who proclaim God’s loving mercy
Let us be merciful to each other….