Today we celebrate the final weekend of Ordinary Time; Christ the King. As the scriptures today tell us, Christ has already won the battle, and His victory is secure. To celebrate this Feast at the end of Ordinary Time is an inspiring reminder of the end goal, where His victory will be complete and all things will be subject to His sovereinty for all eternity.
Luke’s Gospel reminds us of the nature of Christ’s throne, the cross. We hear the one criminal pose the ultimate Truth of Christ, without truly believing in Him: Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us. This criminal unintentionally proclaims the truth of Christ. He is the Christ! He has come to save us! Yet, this man is only concerned for himself. He is interested in temporal rescue from his present situation. Christ has come for something far greater, with consequences well beyond this world.
The second criminal understands this: Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. This is the proclamation of true believers. In some sense, this request should be called to mind by us each day. This kingdom of Jesus is accomplished from the cross. This Kingdom is not forced upon any of us. It is a Kingdom established through love, mercy, and peace and the proclamation of Truth. It is a Kingdom entered through the same means, by faith.
St. Paul gives us a beautiful hymn of the Truth of Jesus’ Kingship in the first Chapter of his letter to the Colossians. The Father has allowed us to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light…transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son…through the forgiveness of our sins…Jesus is the image of the invisible God…in Him were created all things…all things were created through Him and for Him…in Him all things hold together…He is head of the body, the Church…
We could write books on any one of these thoughts, but let’s look at the statement that Jesus is head of the body, the Church…a good statement regarding His Kingship. We are the Church – the Body of Christ. Do we truly live in this fashion? Since the Church embodies Christ, when the Church speaks, it is Christ who speaks. Have we developed this sensitivity and understanding? Do we receive Church teaching as coming from Christ?
Granted, there can be abuses, but, when we are living our life to the best of our ability in faith, see how this reality “trickles down”. With Christ as our “head”, it is Christ who established the Church. So, Christ present in the Church and its members speaks to us through the members; the bishop, the priest, the teacher, the catechist, the parent (domestic Church). Is Christ the head of our household?
There is an urgency about this “theology” today in the face of growing secularism, which would seek to remove God, Christ, and His Church from the public forum. The desired effect of doing so is to remove the moral conscience from the public realm. Thus, everyone is “free” to live and do as he or she chooses. This is the modern idea of “freedom”. However, true freedom comes only from living according to the plan of the Creator. As we noted earlier in St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, it is Christ who holds all things together. So, logically speaking, if we disassociate publicly from Christ, we can expect things to “fall apart”.
Today, we are called to “give Christ” reign over us. The truth is, He already holds this sovereinty, but we must acknowledge this Kingship, and cooperate with Christ. I’ll close with another passage from St. Paul; the very passage from which comes my episcopal motto. Let us profess the truth in love and grow to the full maturity of Christ the head. Through him the whole body grows, and with the proper functioning of the members joined firmly together by each supporting ligament, builds itself up in love.