November 24, 2019, Christ the King Sunday. A reflection on Luke 23:33-43.
The Sunday before the First Sunday of Advent and the Last Sunday of the Season of Pentecost or the Ordinary Time has been dedicated by the Church as the Sunday of the Reign of Christ the King. It marks the triumph of God of God in the end of time. That God, the king triumphed over evils and reigns in the heavenly kingdom where there is peace among God’s people and no more sigh and suffering. This feast commonly known as the Christ the King Sunday also marks the triumph of the people of God in the here and now. Christians all over the world celebrate this feast day with the anticipation of the Lord’s reign similar to the waiting and the anticipating mode that the next season, the Advent season will be guiding us to the birth of the messiah, the savior, the King.
Our Gospel reading is about the final moment of the crucifixion of Jesus. Particularly, the dialogue of Jesus and Dimas, the repentant sinner. After rebuking the mockery of the other thief who was hanged along them on that mountain of skull he asked Jesus, (23:42) and said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus then replied, (23:43) “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” In this dialogue, we find Dimas’ recognition of Jesus’ Kingship which Jesus also affirmed it to be.
How about us, who is our king? How about you, who is your king?
It has been approximated that 85% of the Filipinos are Christians but who is the king of the majority of these Christian Filipinos? Is he the king that we celebrate this Sunday? Or is it the king of the land? No doubt, we Filipino Christians say our king is Jesus Christ, the savior, the king. But what we do speaks so much truth about what we say.
In the Lord’s Prayer, thought by Jesus, which we pray almost every day it says, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” And what is the will of God? Jesus says, “I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
But what have we done? We have tolerated the evil ways to prevail in our society. We applauded and praised the king of the land for the country’s anti-drug war which already claimed the lives of 27,000 mostly poor people. We turned a blind eye in the everyday killings and are even convinced that these killings solve the drug menace in the country. In the countryside, the poor farmers and the lumads were also driven away from their lands to give way to the transnational foreign corporations’ destructive mining and plantations to supply the needs of the first world countries, not ours. And when the poor farmers and lumads fight for their rights and life they are branded to be rebels, vilified, legally charged with trumped-up cases, killed. Then we praised the king of the land even when what often comes from his mouth is KILL, KILL AND KILL.
The truth is that we oftentimes chose to be in our comforts and justify the peace that comes from pacifying instead of siding with the victims. We have become moderators by calming down the burning desire of the people for justice and deceive them as we also deceived ourselves that all of these odds are God-given to test our faith and that if we keep ourselves strong by being passive and be trampled upon by the rulers of this world, we will be rewarded in heaven. WRONG. Very wrong! This passivism is actually preventing the very will of God for abundant life – the reason for his coming.
By always nodding to what the leaders of the land say and do is actually denying the reign of Christ the King.
Until next week for the First Sunday of Advent.