Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, November 25, 2007

2 Samuel 5: 1 - 3

Colossians 1: 12 - 20

Luke 23: 35 - 43

We share the same blood...

The feast of Christ the King honors the cosmic and eschatalogical character of Christs royalty. It marks the end of the liturgical year and already announces Advent with its perspective of the Lords coming in glory. What a paradox is put before us when we are asked to enter into the liturgy through a section on the Passion according to Luke! We are radically challenged concerning the identity of Christ, a king without power who allows himself to be put to death. We are also radically challenged concerning the values we take on in the following of Christ.

Jesus had been proclaimed the Christ by his disciples (9:20) and also king (19:38). The crowds had seen a great prophet in him. But, at the foot of the Cross, the religious authorities and the soldiers refused to see in Jesus the one sent by God, the Messiah. They mock him and insult him. Jesus does not answer. He refuses to face this ultimate trial by escaping the human condition. Since no human can escape difficulties, evil, and death by working miracles, Jesus will not do so to save himself. As at the beginning of his public life, in the stories of the temptation, he refused that his divine status help him avoid the human condition, so he chooses to face this final trial by remaining in solidarity to the end with all victims of evil and with the men who crucify him. He remains in solidarity unconditionally with all those who are the victims of evil.

Through their respective attitudes, the two thieves crucified with Jesus demonstrate the two positions that are possible: to ridicule what seems to be Jesus powerlessness or enter into the liberty of Jesus, knowing that one is forgiven and refusing to respond to the violence endured. The first echoes the mockeries of the leaders and is incapable of going beyond the desire for a spectacular and violent show of power; that was Satans purpose! The second begins by aknowledging the crimes that brought him the condemnation of human justice: we have what we deserve. He recognizes the innocence of Jesus; he even recognizes in him the Kingdom that is to come. This humility takes him to the gates of the Kingdom. The answer from Jesus is the affirmation of salvation today for this man who is and will remain with him.

Thus the Cross reveals the truth of God concerning violence: freely and out of love, Jesus makes evils grip the place of his self-giving. There he tells us: "We are of the same blood" But he tells us also that such an attitude is not beyond our capabilities: we also have to take a position when undergoing evil. It is the place where our solidarity with humanity is at stake.

—Sr. Sophie Ramond, R.A.