Today marks the end of the Liturgical Calendar, and what a better way to commemorate this by honoring Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe.
The Gospel reading brings us to St. Luke (Lk. 23: 35-43), at the scene of the crucifixion. While Jesus was hanging at the cross, the people and the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an
inscription that read,
“This is the King of the Jews.”
Imagine the humiliation that Jesus had
to undergo. Even one of the criminals challenged the Lord by saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” Yet the
other criminal said to the other in reply, “Have
you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.”
What happened in the biblical times is still happening now. The mockery that the Savior underwent in the Cross is repeated over and over again by people who also claim to be His followers. It is the greatest humility that the King had to endure in order to save us all. He went through all the sufferings we can ever imagine under the Roman soldiers; Rome as an empire became powerful because of the strength of its army. It was one of the most powerful armies at that time. It was advanced, the best trained, had the best weapons and the best armor at its zenith. And the Lord suffered at the hands of these soldiers!
Yet Jesus offered forgiveness and didn’t point everything to himself. While Pilate thought of Jesus as a political or military ruler, Christ said, “My kingdom does not belong to this world” (Jn. 18, 36). Pilate missed the point, that Christ’s kingdom does not depend on worldly power, might, and strength. This is a heavenly and spiritual kingdom that depends on faith, prayer, and its fruit: good works. Even on the way to His gruesome death, Jesus was concerned of others as he told the many women who mourned and lamented him, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, (Lk. 23: 27-28).
The insight of the good thief is a viable alternative presented to us, other than the sounding echoes of the big hypocritical crowd present at that time. Here, was a lone voice heard over the noise of the shouts and mockery in the hills of Golgotha. His deep humility is something worth reflecting,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
The Savior showed the highest level of humility in suffering during His Passion, Death and Resurrection. He showed us that the way to greatness is not through arrogance, pride and power, but in humility, faith and living a life of prayer and submission to the will of the Father.
“He humbled himself,becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (Phil. 2: 8)
It isn’t the way that the world knows, but is something deeper and more meaningful. That is why,
“…God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2: 9-11)
Today let us humble ourselves before the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe.
To Him be all the Honor, Glory, Power and Strength, now and forever! Amen.
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!” (Mk. 11: 9, 10)