CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE - XXXIV SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - CYCLE C - NOVEMBER 20, 2016
Next Sunday we will celebrate and honor Jesus as King of the Universe.
- The liturgical year began with the baptism of Jesus and ends with the celebration of Jesus Christ the King of the Universe.
- The young carpenter from Nazareth went to the Jordan river with the other men from his town to be baptized by John, and afterwards he begins a dangerous and unorthodox preaching according to the religious, civil and political authorities of his people.
- This young man hears the voice of the Father who after his baptism tells him "You are my beloved Son."
- This young man after his death and resurrection has been established Lord of the living and the dead. It has been revealed to us who he really is.
- He is the Son of the eternal Father, the Second Person of the Trinity, the creating Word of God, though whom all things were made
FIRST READING : 2 Sm 5:1-2
ü This passage narrates how David was established as king over Israel.
ü King David is highly exalted and praised in the Scriptures. He is presented as a friend of God, a holy man but also a sinner. A warrior against the neighboring peoples to defend his own kingdom, and at the same time the tender singer of the wonders of God. Although a sinner he is also considered to be a just man.
ü Of his appointment as king of Israel we find several texts in the Scripture: 1 Sm 16:1-13; 2Sm 5:1-3; 1Cr 11:1-3; Sal 78: 70-72.
ü A mutual covenant is made between David and the people.
ü Before closing the covenant, the agreement, they remind David that in the time of Saul he, David, was the one that won the victories.
ü David, who was taken from the flock of his father by Samuel to be anointed king over Israel, hears the elders of his people telling him that he has to be the shepherd of his people.
ü As a shepherd he will be also a leader. What a beautiful image of a chief who is a shepherd, like Jesus has been.
ü The leader or the chief according to the Scriptures is a shepherd, someone who takes care of his people, serves his people, does not overpower his people but he gives his life for his people
RESPONSORIAL PSALM 122:1-2.3-4.4-5
LET US GO REJOICING TO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD
I rejoiced because they said to me
We will go up to the house of the Lord
And now we have set foot
within your gates, Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity
To it the tribes go up
the tribes of the Lord
According to the decree for Israel
to give thanks to the name of the Lord
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David
ü This psalm sings the fascination of the pilgrim as he or she approaches the holy city of Jerusalem.
ü The city has the external beauty of its construction, its buildings, which captivates the heart of those who visit it.
ü And the city has also an inner beauty given by the peace and justice which is administered at its doors.
GOSPEL Lk 23:35-43
We read what happened between the criminals who were crucified with Jesus and Jesus.
The chief priests insult him, the soldiers make fun of him, of his life, his preaching
They tempt him, if you are who you say you are, save yourself.
If we remember a little what we read at the beginning of Lent, Jesus was tempted by the evil spirit. When Luke finishes narrating the temptations of Jesus he says that the devil left him for a future opportune time.
Now on this cross, to which he is nailed, now that he has lost his strength, that he is seen as a failure, now when he experiences the deepest abandonment from everyone even the Father, it is the moment for the devil to come back and tempt him again.
And he does it by means of the people who surround him at this dark hour, the darkest hour of human history.
One of the crucified men he has on each side tempts him, you can, why don't you do it? Why don't you save yourself and us?
This is the same temptation as the temptation of the bread in the desert , if you are the Son say to this stones ... why don't you use your power for your own good and ours ?
But the other man who is suffering the same condemnation rebukes his companion, and reminds him that they are punished because they did evil things but this man is innocent.
How true it is that even the worst criminals and sinners have the possibility to abandon the evil they do and come back to what is good, they have the possibility of conversion, they only have to be willing to.
This man does not understand quite well, how this young man from Nazareth can be a king, but he believes it. What did he see in that young man completely disfigured on the cross, that allowed him to discover in him the Lord of the kingdom he preaches.
How really true it is that God immediately welcomes us into his arms the moment we go back to him.
Today you will be with me in paradise. .
Happy thief, who faithful to his "trade", stole paradise, the heart of our Redeemer
I transcribe below something very beautiful that I have read in a commentary by Gianfranco Ravasi:
Luke in the event of the two criminals narrated only by him, makes the kingdom shine, the kingdom that is inaugurated by this crucified man in a Spring day in Jerusalem. The only words that Jesus could pronounce like a whisper have as its climax the symbolic word of Persian origin "paradise" which literally means "garden of delights" which is put in parallel with the word "kingdom" pronounced by the thief. The image is taken from the oriental world with its palaces surrounded by fascinating parks and rich fountains and exuberant vegetation, this image in the lips of Jesus transport us to the first page of the Scripture, the Garden of Eden, from where man was expelled and where he goes back now with the guidance of Jesus Christ. Man has found again peace and the fullness of life, harmony and happiness.
SECOND READING Col 1:12-20
v In this liturgy, being a solemnity, the three readings have the same theme, which is the kingship of Jesus Christ.
v The first paragraph is an invitation to give thanks to the Father for having granted us to participate in the inheritance of the saints.
v The Father has freed us from the power of darkness and has introduced us into the kingdom of his beloved son, in whom we have redemption of our sins.
v These words complement and explain what Luke has narrated about the Crucified Christ.
v The second paragraph describes who is this Son in whose kingdom we are introduced
Ø He is the visibility of the invisible God.
Ø He is the first born, the first in everything that exists
Ø For Him, through him and in Him all has been created.
Ø Everything finds its cohesion in him.
Ø He is the head of the Church
Ø He is the first raised from the dead
Ø The fullness of being resides in Him.
Ø And by Him everything finds reconciliation, making peace in his blood, that means in his life given out of love.
v This is a really beautiful description of the kingship of Christ, which Luke describes through the story of the thief, the companion of the dying Jesus. Jesus until the end of his life is found among those that are discriminated against, the little and poor and sinners.
v All that we will read this coming Sunday is an invitation to find again in the depth of our heart the answer to the question Jesus asks us: Who do you say that I am? Who am I for you?
POST-SYNODAL APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION AMORIS LÆTITIA
OF POPE FRANCIS
Love is patient 91. The first word used is makrothyméi. This does not simply have to do with “enduring all things”, because we find that idea expressed at the end of the seventh verse. Its meaning is clarified by the Greek translation of the Old Testament, where we read that God is “slow to anger” (Ex 34:6; Num 14:18). It refers, then, to the quality of one who does not act on impulse and avoids giving offense. We find this quality in the God of the Covenant, who calls us to imitate him also within the life of the family. Saint Paul’s texts using this word need to be read in the light of the Book of Wisdom (cf. 11:23; 12:2, 15-18), which extols God’s restraint, as leaving open the possibility of repentance, yet insists on his power, as revealed in his acts of mercy. God’s “patience”, shown in his mercy towards sinners, is a sign of his real power. (91)
Being patient does not mean letting ourselves be constantly mistreated, tolerating physical aggression or allowing other people to use us. We encounter problems whenever we think that relationships or people ought to be perfect, or when we put ourselves at the centre and expect things to turn out our way. Then everything makes us impatient, everything makes us react aggressively. Unless we cultivate patience, we will always find excuses for responding angrily. We will end up incapable of living together,
antisocial, unable to control our impulses, and our families will become battlegrounds. That is why the word of God tells us: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, with all malice” (Eph 4:31). Patience takes root when I recognize that other people also have a right to live in this world, just as they are. It does not matter if they hold me back, if they unsettle my plans, or annoy me by the way they act or think, or if they are not everything I want them to be. Love always has an aspect of deep compassion that leads to accepting the other person as part of this world, even when he or she acts differently than I would like. (92)
PAGOLA, José A. Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year C.
POPE FRANCIS, POST-SYNODAL APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION AMORIS LÆTITIA
RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según las Escrituras, Año C.
La Biblia de Nuestro Pueblo . Luis Alonso Schökel.