Gospel Reflection for Sunday the 20th of November 2022

Gospel Reflection for  Sunday the 20th of November 2022

Christ The King

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“Remember me when you come into your kingdom” the good thief tells Jesus in our Gospel today. This calling forth of the righteous motivates us to be diligent doers of God’s Will.

Jesus our King, in today’s gospel, is mocked and jeered at while he hangs on a cross. Jesus’ exercise of kingly power is not about controlling people or ensuring their wealth and comfort. Jesus exercises his kingship when he serves his people, not himself.

The unbelieving criminal in our gospel mocks Jesus as being powerless. The other criminal grasped where Jesus’ real power lay He saw Jesus a humble Saviour and what he saw moved him to confess his sins with humility and faith and to receive the promise of “Paradise”.

This is how Jesus exercises his power – by changing human hearts and minds, not by using brute force. Today we honour Jesus and we say to him with great love from our hearts: “Lord Jesus Christ, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

It is precisely on the cross that Jesus is lifted up and exalted as our king. Jesus gives us life because He gives us God. The good news of today’s Gospel is too much for some people. From the One who “is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” the so-called ‘Good Thief’ straight away receives forgiveness and the joy of entering the Kingdom of Heaven… Jesus from the throne of the cross welcomes every human being with infinite mercy. Our spirituality is to be of service to one another, to strengthen people on their way towards heaven. We are duty bound to sanctify souls and to help people leave behind their sinful habits that please the devil. The devil constantly tries to seduce us and we must be vigilant in standing up to Satan.

St Faustina in her diary wrote that there are two ways to God’s Kingdom ~ divine mercy or divine justice. Very few people, after death, will enter into heaven immediately. Purgation of the soul will be needed. This is the atonement for the sins that we were too lazy to confess or the good that we failed to do. When we die there are two judgements: the individual judgement and the final judgement at the end of time. When we die, may we be in a state of grace having growth in humility, grace and in sanctity of life.

St Catherine of Siena wrote that: “either in this life or in the life to come, the soul that seeks union with God must be purged by the fiery love of God.” You have a soul: please take good care of it. Jesus in Luke chapter 18 tells us to “pray continually and never lose heart.” The best things in life are always free and that the best things in life are not things!

The ceiling of our cathedral in Mullingar declares those beautiful, poetic and unforgettable Latin words: “Regnum meum non est de hoc mundo.” (“My kingdom is not of this world” – from John 18:36). If Christ is our true King, then we cannot serve two masters. Jesus’ kingdom is heaven itself. If God is in heaven and we are his children, then we are not home yet ~ for our true home is in heaven. The Our Father prayer vividly expresses this concrete reality for us. The Our Father prayer mentions heaven twice reminding us that our true home, after our pilgrimage of life, is to be united with Almighty God in heaven.

When we greeted the Holy Gospel – we greeted Christ with: “Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ”
– we invited God to be on our minds (always thinking about Christ),
– we invited God to be on our lips (always sharing God’s Word)
– and we invited God to be on our hearts (always loving God and His people).

Christ is our King. We are His stewards working in His vineyard. May we not be seduced by the pleasures of this world. May we prepare ourselves to enter into your heavenly Kingdom. May we guide the souls entrusted to our care towards your heavenly kingdom. May we all grow in grace, virtue and holiness, Amen.

-Fr Fergal Cummins CC