Jesus shows mercy and love to those most in need

NOVEMBER 24, 2019 OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE SOLEMNITY (Lec. 162)

1)  2 Samuel 5:13                 

2)  Colossians 1:12 – 20

 3) Luke 23:35-43 Gospel related: CCC 440, 1021, 2266, 2616

FOCUS:    Unmatched in power and majesty, Jesus shows mercy and love to those most in need.

Even in our time, when democracy and equality are held in high regard, kings connote the idea of majesty, power and absolute authority. Fairy tales, cartoons and modern television specials about aristocrats of old seem to draw out our fascination with earlier times, when kings ruled their nations and received unquestioned loyalty.

We see some of that splendor in today’s second reading as we celebrate the Feast of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Indeed, the majesty of kings and queens of old is magnified several degrees as we contemplate Jesus, the image of the invisible God, who was present at creation, through whom all things were created, and who is filled with divinity. When we think of how vast our universe is – and we’re learning more and more of its unbelievable size – we can only begin to fathom the majesty of Jesus, King of that Universe.

Yet the other readings move us to reflect on another aspect of kingship – service to the people and mercy to those in need. In the first reading, as the Israelites anoint David as King of Israel, they recognize not only his success in battle but his call by God to shepherd his people. The Israelites welcome David as king because of his care for them – the same care he gave to the sheep in his father’s flock before God called him to kingship.

Jesus shows an even greater depth of care for his people. Enthroned on the cross – his only earthly throne to date – Jesus dies for love of God’s people, to bring salvation and everlasting life to them. Even more, a short time before his agonizing death, he turns to the dying thief crucified next to him with merciful words of assurance: Today you will be with me in Paradise. Jesus shows us his identity as a serene, humble and loving King and God in his last moments on earth – the kind of King that we as Christians can joyfully give our own lives to. Jesus’ majesty as the eternal God and King is matched by his love – a love that drove him to a horrible death for our salvation. 

What does this incredible King call us to? How can we serve Jesus, whose power and glory as God are matched only by the depth of his love? As Christians, we are baptized into his service – each called to serve Jesus and his kingdom in a unique way, according to our particular gifts, temperament and life circumstances. As King and as shepherd of our souls, Jesus calls us step by step into his service. He reveals our call, our role in his kingdom, from one moment to the next – if we take the time to pray and listen to his voice.