For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/112419.cfm
This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. This Feast was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925. Seeing the devastation caused by World War I, Pius established this Feast as a way to remind people that Christ is Lord of both heaven and earth. Initially this Feast was celebrated on the last Sunday in October, but when the Roman Catholic Church revised its liturgical calendar in 1969 it was moved to the last Sunday of the liturgical year. (The new liturgical year will begin on December 1st with the Fist Sunday of Advent.)
Our Gospel this Sunday is the scene of Jesus on the cross. He is ridiculed by the rulers and jeered at by the soldiers. We are told that the soldiers taunted him by saying “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself.” There were also two criminals crucified with Jesus. One of them reviled Jesus saying: “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” The other rebuked him, however, and asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom. In reply Jesus said to him: “Amen I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the second book of Samuel. It recounts the story of David being anointed as King of Israel. As Christians, we see the Kingship of David as pre-figuring the eternal Kingship of Christ.
Our second reading this Sunday contains a wonderful Christological hymn (a hymn to Christ). It is St. Paul’s pronouncement of Christ’s place in God’s plan of salvation. The hymn really needs to be read in its entirety to fully appreciate it, but it reminds us that: “He is the image of the invisible God ……………………. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- A friend of mine likes to say that the criminal who asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom was a thief to the end, in that he stole heaven. Hearing Jesus’ response to his fellow criminal why do you think the other criminal didn’t also ask to be remembered when Jesus came into his Kingdom?
- Jesus’ exchange with the “good thief” gives me a profound sense of hope that the gift of eternal life will be offered to all who are open to that gift. What do we need to do to be open to that gift?
- What does it mean to call Christ our King?