We conclude the liturgical year today with the Solemnity of Christ the King. On the surface, we might wonder what this has to do with our lives. Why does it matter that Christ is King? Do we need a king? If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that we do need someone to follow, a king who will rule our hearts, minds, and lives with goodness. Left to our own devices, following our own tendencies, we are bound to fall short of God’s great call to grow and live in holiness. Christ will shepherd us, not from a position of power or authority, although both are his as well, but rather from the throne of the cross, the throne of humility, compassion, and peace.
Part of the challenge of living as a child of God is not being able to see God, to know what God is like. Believing in God requires faith, the willingness to enter into a mystery that is timeless and yet timely—as true today as it has been throughout the ages. Placing our faith in Jesus does not require us to put rational thought behind. Rather, in Jesus, we see God, the creator of all that is, including our intellect, the ability to understand our experience, and more. Jesus makes God visible, he is the image of the invisible God, the sign of God's determination that we not be separated from God, the one who shows us creation’s ultimate purpose. When we wonder what God is like, what God desires, or how God acts, we need only look to Christ, who pours out his life in God's compassionate love.
The repentant thief in today’s Gospel gives us a lasting image of Christ's undying love and forgiveness. As Jesus is dying on the cross, the thief declares his belief in Jesus, the King. Jesus recognizes his faith and makes his own declaration: “today you will be with me in Paradise.” As we come to the end of the liturgical year and prepare to enter into Advent, it is good for us to ask ourselves if we, too, are ready to declare our belief that Jesus is the Christ, the image of the unseen God, the one who was and is and is to come. As we reaffirm our faith, let us place our hearts, minds, and lives in the hands of the King who reigns now and will reign into eternity.BACK TO LIST