Fr Albert’s Reflection – 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time

The celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, brings to an end the Liturgical year. We are presented with the kingship of Jesus which is revealed to us in a very surprising way. “The Christ of God, the Chosen One, the King” (Lk 23:35,37) appears without power or glory: his throne is the cross; his crown is made of thorns; he has no sceptre but his hands are pierced with nails; he has no treasure, but is sold for thirty pieces of silver. Saint Paul tells us in the Second Reading, that in Jesus we find redemption and forgiveness. The grandeur of Christ’s kingdom is not power as defined by this world, but the love of God, a love capable of encountering and healing all things. This love alone overcame and continues to overcome our worst enemies: sin, fear and death. However, it would mean very little, if we believed that Jesus was King of the universe but did not make him Lord of our lives. Today’s gospel presents us with an encounter between Jesus and a THIEF, who begs the Lord: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (v. 42). This person, simply looking at Jesus, believed in his kingdom. Though crucified because of his errors, sins and troubles – this man still turned to Jesus. He asked to be remembered, and he experienced God’s mercy: “Today you will be with me in paradise” (v. 43). Throughout his ministry Jesus shared his forgiveness; he dies breathing it. He died as he lived, reaching out to the distressed on either side of him. In the midst of his agony, he still had time for others. This is the gospel image of royalty – the king and the criminal who go together into paradise. This is the King we celebrate and whose values we try to live. May His kingdom come.