FEAST OF CHRIST
THE KING WAS CRUCIFIED- HOW SHOULD WE
First Reading (2 Sam 5: 1-3):
David was anointed King of Israel
Second Reading (Col 1: 12-20):Christ is Head of all humanity
Gospel (Lk 23: 35-43): Jesus was nailed to the cross
“ If you are not the envy of another person, you are only a mediocre
“Drinking wine and talking about what a hero is: ‘the heroes of the
present day number but two, you, Sir, and myself.’(2)
“And the people stood by, watching: but
the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself
if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked
him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying.’If you are the
King of the Jews, save yourself.” (Lk 23: 35-37)
Today is the feast of Christ the King. However, all the words used
in the Readings of today describe a person who suffered and died, a
‘criminal’ who was nailed to the cross, a ‘sinner.’ Even the criminal
who was nailed to the left of Jesus insulted him disrespectfully saying,
“Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself
and us.” (Lk 23:29)”
Perhaps the criminal on the left still had a glimmer of hope. He thought,
since we three were crucified together, we are in the ‘same boat;’ and
if we are in the same boat we can help each other to together reach
the opposite shore of freedom and happiness. He may have heard many
things about this mysterious man, not only that his preaching attracted
people, but that he had performed deeds that astonished the people.
For example, he had fed five thousand people with five loaves and two
fish, he had caused the blind to see and the dumb to speak, cleansed
lepers and expelled demons, raised the dead to life. He had walked on
the billowing waves and calmed the storm at sea. The crowds admired
him, people in power feared him. He was indeed an extraordinary person!
The criminal on the left thought he could dare to hope. If this man
really is the Messiah, could he not save himself and them too?
So he waited and waited. He waited to be taken down from the cross
and to be freed. But the moments went by and the crowds continued to
ridicule and shout at him. Meanwhile the one who called himself the
Messiah seemed to grow weaker and weaker. It seemed he would die soon,
like a lamp running out of oil. He could not save himself, and of course
he could not save others either. He had been fooled, it was all a big
From hope to despair, from despair to anger, he could endure it no
longer. He thought, the one who called himself the Messiah is a big
liar. His preaching was nonsense, his miracles were all an illusion,
tricks that all magicians knew how to do. He certainly is not the Messiah
nor the Savior our ancestors have waited for these thousands of years.
He cannot save himself nor anyone else. It has all been one massive
But the mocking words of the criminal on the left led the criminal
on the right to speak more fairly, “We
indeed have been condemned justly for we are getting what we deserve
for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.”
(Lk 23:41). Though Christ would die soon, he truly was a king, Lord
of the universe. He was a king who had the bearing of a king, his spirit
could not be overshadowed by the present suffering and failure. Heavenly
strength and spirit would be revealed in the disintegration of his body
or even in his death. The criminal on the right intuitively recognized
Jesus' identity. He was drawn to Jesus by Jesus' disposition and personality.
So with great fervor he said to Jesus .”Jesus,
remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Lk 23:
The faith of the criminal on the right was indeed great. He was expressing
faith in a person who was about to die, who had failed, who had no hope
for the future other than hope itself. It was truly a deep faith expressed
in the words, “though I do not see, yet
I believe.” We can really say that the criminal on the
right put himself and all that he possessed entirely into the hands
of Jesus. Jesus immediately answered him and rewarded him with eternal
life, “Truly I tell you, this day you
will be with me in Paradise.” (Lk 23: 43)
Leaders of the masses, the criminal on the left, the one on the right,
no matter who they are, all ‘perceived’ or ‘got in touch’ with Jesus
from a different perspective. Each assessed Jesus in a different way,
even contradicting each other. This fulfilled the prophecy of Simeon
made many years before, “This child is
destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign
that will be opposed.” (Lk 2: 34).
Some say, “If you are not the envy of another person, you are only a
mediocre man.” (1) On
the other hand, persons who have many talents may become a potential
threat to others and arouse peoples’ jealousy.
In the “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” there is a story about “drinking
wine and talking about heroes”. When Cao Cao said to Liu Bei, “The heroes
of the present day number but two – you, sir, and myself,”
(2) Liu Bei was so frightened he turned pale. In his
panic his chopsticks slipped from his fingers and dropped to the floor.
He knew that Cao Cao, a master of political intrigue, was a ruthless
person. He certainly would not allow another hero to coexist with him.
If that were true, how could our ‘King of Heaven’ be tolerated by the
The prophets of old had to shed their blood. King David could not have
a place before King Saul. How then could he who was the Prophet of prophets,
the King of kings, have a different fate?
If the destiny of Christ the King was like that, should not we who
are servants of Christ the King fare the same? “Servants
are not greater than their master. If they persecute me, they will persecute
you.” (Jn 15: 20). This then is the kind of disposition
we who serve Christ the King today must have.
We faithful who want to joyfully celebrate the feast of Christ the
King today must be prepared to walk courageously the path of Christ
the King, which is a path of the Cross.