There was an inscription over his head:
‘THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS’
2 Sm 5: 1-3
Col 1: 12-20
Luke 23: 35-45
Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of Christ the King. However, the Scripture readings for the day could lead to confusion for some of us. The first reading describes how the people of Israel came together and made David their king. It was to David, did the Lord make the promise: “Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me ; your throne shall stand firm forever” (2 Sm 7: 16). Even when their lands were occupied by foreign invaders; the people of Israel still hoped for the promised coming of the Messiah, a descendant of King David.
We believe that Jesus of Nazareth, of the line of King David; is the promised Messiah, the Christ of God, the Son of God. However, in the Gospel reading from Luke, we see Jesus not seated on a throne, but nailed to a cross, like a common criminal. Yet in this suffering, he was performing the greatest act a king can do; dying for his people. For by his death and resurrection; Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, freed us all from the power of sin and death. To Him, would come a glory that would surpass anything pomp and ceremony could bestow on a earthly king or queen.
Today, the Catholic Church is also ending the Jubilee Year of Mercy. It is fitting then, that today’s Gospel reading describes the last act of mercy Jesus would perform before his death. Despite enduring horrific suffering, he hears the plea of a repentant criminal, and promises him eternal peace. Thus, we are being challenged by Jesus; that no matter how much pain or suffering someone may have caused us, we must be ready to be merciful, to forgive and to heal. And no matter how hard life might be, at any given moment, we must be open to any opportunity, to give mercy to someone who needs it.