The ways of God are very different from the ways of man. Just like in today’s Gospel, as it is the Solemnity of Christ the King; instead of talking about royalty, majesty and power, St. Luke talks about the suffering of our Lord. It was a poor, painful, and pitiful death. Far from being the King that Jesus Christ truly is!
Come to think about it, God wants us to know the way to Heaven. The message of humility, unselfish love, and patient suffering are again brought to our attention. The Gospel aptly presents the possible responses we make in times of crisis. We can either mock and abuse Him, as the other thief, the crowd and the soldiers were doing. Our attitude can also be like the good thief, who believed that Jesus really did nothing wrong. He was firm in his faith that our Lord is indeed King although His Kingdom is not an earthly one. As such, He has the power to intervene for his intentions in the afterlife.
Our response to human suffering is something that we have to watch out. During these difficult circumstances, there is a choice to turn to Jesus as a sign of eternal hope. There is also an option to reject Him. Sometimes after a death of a loved one, a terminal illness or a disaster, the first response after the shock can be anger about what happened. We tend to blame God or other people. Especially when we are serving Him faithfully, experiencing suffering seems unjust and unfair. So we blame Jesus for what is happening to us. Just like the other thief.
In this last Sunday of the Liturgical Year, we are taught about the importance of knowing and thinking God’s way. We must embrace His example of forgiveness and powerlessness. Christ teaches us that being truly human is when we renounce ourselves in love. We can never experience true happiness if we don’t fall in love. Falling in love is natural and simple, but it is also extraordinarily beautiful. In truly loving others, we learn to forget about ourselves, and our own dreams and aspirations. It gives us the ability to share everything we own, and to give oneself in genuine love, just like what Jesus did.
The perfect model of love.
Our true King and Savior is the one who has been mocked, rejected and crucified, but in spite of it all, responds in love and who alone is the greatest love of all.
‘For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross [through him], whether those on earth or those in heaven.’ (Col. 1: 19-20)