A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC
July 29, 2016
November 23, 2019
“Jesus, Remember Me, When You Come Into Your Kingdom” Luke23.42
November 19, 2016
I have been at many funerals as these words were sung softly in a beautiful melody, over and over and over again as a family shared their final farewell to a loved one before the closing of the casket. It is a solemn and sacred moment; it is sacramental. The tone of song is soothing and it becomes a mantra of hope in the promise of being one with God for eternity. Today our Church closes the Liturgical Year and the Year of Mercy as we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. In the first reading of Luke’s Gospel this week I wondered to myself why the Church would choose Scripture that so vividly reminds us that Jesus was left to die, hanging on a cross with common criminals. I thought we might hear more about the need to give glory and praise to the Christ the King.
How wise the Church who teaches us the reality of a king who gave his own life, becoming a servant for all, that we might be saved. In Jesus the King, the gates of heaven were opened, reconciling us with God the Father that we might live eternally in his love. This king was not looking for recognition or expecting to be treated to the best the world could offer. No, he was offering all of God’s people the gift of forgiveness, mercy and unconditional love. No king before or since has given himself so fully that his people might live!
I also find intriguing the conversation between the two criminals who hung beside Jesus. One taunting him saying;
“Are you the Christ? Then save yourself and us.” The other saying, “Have you no fear of God? We deserve our punishment, yet this man has not committed any crime.” He then speaks those sacred words: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” With those words that criminal acknowledged Jesus and Jesus did not hesitate for a moment in his reply: “Amen, I say to you; today you will be with me in Paradise.” That criminal did not have to beg. He did not have to attempt to justify his sinful actions. He needed only recognize Jesus for who he was: The Son of God!
We need to do the same. We need to be willing to challenge others and stand firm in our belief that our eternal life depends upon knowing Jesus, for in knowing Jesus we will be shown mercy and love and forgiveness. Jesus in his kingship provides those gifts freely. When we acknowledge him, he will answer with love when we say, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”