'Jesus, remember me.' Sunday Reflections, Christ the King, Year C
Christ in Majesty
Italian Mosaic Artist [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel Luke 23:35-43 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition, Canada)
And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at Jesus, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’
Pedro de Campaña [Web Gallery of Art]
About nine years ago Dominican friar in Dublin told me about one of his confreres who was to celebrate Mass one morning in a nearby Sisters' convent. Since it was only a short walk he decided to wear his habit. (It was the Dominican habit that first caught my imagination about the priesthood when I was six or seven, though later on I never considered joining the Dominicans.) Along the way the friar met a Sister from another convent who chided him for being so 'old-fashioned' or 'pre-Vatican 2' or words to that effect. A little further on a young man stopped him. This was the conversation that followed:
You're a priest, right?
Well I'm getting married tomorrow and I need to go to confession.
So Father heard the young man's confession on the street and went on his 'pre-Vatican 2' way to celebrate Mass.
Today's Gospel shows us Jesus hanging on the Cross under a sign that said in Greek, Hebrew and Latin 'King of the Jews'. And the Kingdom he came to establish broke through in the conversation between him and one of the two thieves crucified with him.
The brief conversation that St Luke records shows us what the Sacrament of Confession is all about. This young man acknowledged his sinful ways and accepted the punishment he received. He recognised the innocence of Jesus and saw in him something that spoke profoundly to him of God's love and mercy. It is very unlikely that he could see that Jesus was indeed God who became Man. But he saw in him a man of God and saw in some way the true nature of the Kingdom that Jesus had established.
Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.
Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.
Christ in Agony on the Cross
A crucifix in one hand, a rosary in the other, Blessed Miguel's last words before being shot were '¡Viva Cristo Rey!’ 'Long live Christ the King!'
Jesus Christ our King who died in agony on the Cross now reigns gloriously in heaven.
Chrystus Wodzem, Chrystus Królem, Chrystus, Chrystus Władcą nam
Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands
A setting of the Latin in Polish by Polish composer Henryk Jan Botor