November 20, 2022, Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
2 Samuel 5:1-3 Colossians 1:12-20 Luke 23:35-43
Theologians remind us that whenever we use a metaphor for God or for Jesus we are faced with limits. Every metaphor that reveals some attribute is limited in many more ways. And thus it is with today’s metaphor, king. In this country we have no experience of a monarch. Such a metaphor, however may be even less helpful for people with actual experience of royalty .
The recent death of Queen Elizabeth occasioned an outpouring of photographs and news commentary about the queen. We saw pictures of her wrapped in ermine and seated on a throne. We saw a comparison of the many precious crowns from which she had to choose. Pomp and ceremony surrounded her public appearances. None of this helps us understand the kingship of Jesus Christ.
Today's gospel shows us Jesus on a cross not a throne. This king is wearing a crown of thorns. This king is dying the public death of a criminal. Clearly this is a king like none other.
So what are we to make of the title the church gives us on this feast day, The Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe?
Clearly the trappings we so often see in earthly authority figures mean nothing to Jesus. The self-dealing, self -promoting, self -absorption we see often in public figures jockeying for approval, is no part of this King.
His is a kingship of emptying out, of service. And the loyalty he attracts is a commitment to the Reign of God, a reign of justice and peace. And no one is excluded. He proves this when he promises salvation to the criminal on the cross next to his.
Living the gospel
“Today you will be with me in paradise.” Jesus speaks these words to the criminal dying next to him. We do not know what he has been accused of
but he admits to having been condemned justly. Here, at the very end of his life, he reaches toward conversion. And, according to Jesus it's not too late.
When we are tempted to make judgments about others it is good to remember this last conversation on Calvary. And leave the judging to the King of the Universe.
by: Pat Schnee