24/11/2019 - The Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ the King

Welcome: Today we hear how Jesus is laughed at while on the cross and how two thieves have different things to say to him while they also are on the cross. O Lord Jesus Christ, our King and Savior, may we never forget your love for each one of us.

The homily

Each year the last Sunday of November is not just the conclusion of the liturgical year but also a summary of our lives as Christians. On this day we are called upon to acknowledge and honor and proclaim Christ as the King of the Universe by enthroning him in our hearts and allowing him to take control of our lives.

Today's gospel on the crucifixion of Jesus reminds us that our King is not an imperial king who coerces people to obey his directives but rather a shepherd king who leads us humbly and is always filled with compassion and mercy for us. He is reigning, not from a throne but from a cross. He is a suffering King who is despised and rejected, ridiculed and challenged by people.

When we accept Jesus as the king of our lives, then as loyal subjects we need to surrender our lives to his rule. What is his rule? His rule consists in seeking the lost, offering salvation to those who call out to him and listen to his voice.

On the day of Jesus' crucifixion on Calvary, someone was listening to Jesus. One of the criminals sees something what others do not see in Jesus. He sees Jesus as his King. Therefore he prays, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

What kind of kingdom does the Crucified Jesus have? Perhaps the criminal heard Jesus praying to his Father for the forgiveness for those who crucify Him, "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do." So the criminal asks Jesus to remember him too. In other words he wanted Jesus to forgive him as well as give him the grace to forgive those who crucify him. Jesus replies, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." As Jesus opens the door of heaven to the criminal who has confessed his sins and sought for mercy, Jesus also opens the gate of heaven to us. If we truly repent for our sins, Jesus is always willing to forgive us as he does for the repentant criminal.

Let us pray in the words of Saint Paul to the Colossians (3:15), "May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts, because it is for this that we are called together in one body and always be thankful."