By Fr. Andrew Kelly
THIRTY-FOURTH SUNDAY ORDINAL TIME – NOV. 24, 2013 (CHRIST THE KING)
In Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 23:35-43) Jesus hangs stark-naked on a cross, his body beaten and mangled beyond recognition through brutal, violent torture. But through the eyes and ears of faith, Jesus never loses his identity. The divine thread of Jesus’ life just shines more and more glorious as death comes closer and closer.
Even the leaders’ and soldiers’ scoffing and mocking become acclamations of Jesus’ identity for faith-filled believers. As believers listen to the Gospel, believers begin to proclaim: “Yes this is Jesus, God’s Messiah! Yes this is Jesus, God’s Chosen One! Yes this is Jesus, the King of the Jews!”
Hanging with Jesus on the hill of carnage are two criminals. One has the eyes of faith, the other does not. One criminal sees the bloody, disfigured Jesus and joins the scoffing and mocking. The other, however, sees in Jesus’ contorted body the “shinning divine thread,” and cries out: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Even as Jesus dies, Easter light bursts forth as Jesus proclaims: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Thank God for Luke’s faith and artistry in portraying such bright light in the darkest of dark.
(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)
Scripture Readings for Nov. 24 to Dec.1
2 Sm 5:1-3
Dn 1:1-6, 8-20
Dn 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28