One Minute Reflection – 24 November – The Solemnity of Christ the King, Year C – Gospel: Luke 23:35–43
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” … Luke 23:42
REFLECTION – “Today paradise, closed for thousands of years, is opened to us. On this day, at this very hour, God brings the brigand into it. Thus He fulfils two wonders – He opens up paradise to us and causes a thief to enter in. Today God has given us back our former homeland, today He has brought us into the city of our ancestors, today He has opened up a home to be shared by all humanity. “This day,” He says, “you will be with me in paradise.” What are You saying, Lord? You are crucified, nailed down and do You promise paradise? Yes, He says, so that through the Cross You may learn my power…
Because it isn’t by raising a dead man, commanding the sea and wind, or casting out demons that He is able to change the thief’s sinful soul but by being crucified, pinned down by nails, covered with insults, spitting, mockery and torture, so that you might see the two sides of His sovereign power. He shook all creation, split the rocks (Mt 27:51) and drew to Himself the brigand’s soul, hard as stone, to cover it with honour…
Obviously, no king would ever allow a brigand or other of his subjects to be seated at his side when making his entry into his city. Yet Christ did so, when entering His holy homeland. He brings a brigand into it along with Him. In so doing… He does no dishonour to it by a brigand’s presence, for it is a glory for paradise, that it has a master, able to make a brigand worthy of the joys to be tasted there.
In the same way, when He brings publicans and prostitutes into the Kingdom of heaven (Mt 21:31)…, it is for the sake of the glory of that holy place. Because He shows it, that the Lord of the heavenly Kingdom is so great, that He can restore all their dignity, to prostitutes and publicans, even to their being worthy of this honour and this gift. We admire a doctor all the more when we see him heal people suffering from illnesses said to be incurable. So it is only right to admire Christ… when He restores publicans and prostitutes to such a state of spiritual health, that they become worthy of heaven.” … St John Chrysostom (345 407) Bishop of Constantinople, Father & Doctor of the Church – Homily 1 on the cross and the brigand, for Good Friday, 2
PRAYER – Lord God, You gave the peoples of the world as the inheritance of Your only Son, You crowned Him as King of Zion, Your holy city and gave Him Your Church to be His Bride. As He proclaims the law of Your eternal kingdom, may we serve Him faithfully and so share His royal power forever. We make our prayer, through Him and with Him and in Him, our King and our Redeemer, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.