THE CRUCIFIED KING
Solemnity of Christ the King (Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time), Year C (20/11/2022)
2 Samuel 5: 1-3; Psalm 122: 1-2.4-5; Colossians 1: 12-20; Luke 23: 35-43
By Fr. Samuel Odeh
Today we are called to reflect on our styles of leadership and our use of power. It may be in our roles as parents or guardians, administrators or leaders among our peers, the questions remain the same: how do we perceive leadership? How do we use power? In our first reading, we see David, after defeating all his enemies, anointed king over all the tribes of Israel because they believed what the Lord had said about David: “You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.” King David led like a shepherd. David’s kingdom was great and powerful and became a symbol of the prophets for the kingdom of peace and justice that God promised he would one day establish on this earth.
The Gospel reading states in part the Christian vision of the king and kingdom that God promised. Jesus is called the Son of David in the Gospels. For us Christians, Jesus is the king God promised who will bring justice and peace to this world. The only difficulty is that Jesus is a king who reigns from a cross. Many of us will find it difficult to accept this kind of king because of the ways he chooses to win in the Gospel. He chooses the side of losers, identifies with sinners, is in solidarity with the poor, the foreigner, the widow, the tax collector. Our faith tells us that the crucified Jesus is King and savior of all peoples. For Jesus, victory is through the cross. How can we modern day disciples of Christ be winners like Jesus and not in the ways of the world that rejects Jesus? Am I winner in the Lord Jesus? He was proclaimed a king by a thief who was crucified along with him. “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingly power”. While others were making a mockery of Jesus, this “good thief” recognized Jesus as the Messiah and King. Christ granted him salvation: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise”. Unlike the kings of this world who rule with violence, the power of Jesus Christ from the cross is a victory in love and forgiveness. Are we like Christ in his loving and forgiving use of power or are we ruthless and vicious in its use? As our second reading tells us, God has transferred us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Christ. In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Also we are told that Jesus made peace by the blood of his cross. Anywhere we lead, we are to bear our crosses and make peace through our crosses. If Jesus ministered salvation to a repentant thief who was dying while he himself was bleeding on the cross, then we who believe in Jesus should also care for others in the way he did, even when we ourselves are the victims of injustice. Without eyes of faith it is difficult for disciples today to accept a crucified Jesus as our King. Let us pray today for eyes of faith that will enable us to see Jesus, the crucified One, as King and Savior of all.