"I would like yours to continue singing with me to praise God for being our king and to invite us to be part of his kingdom despite our sinfulness: "Jesus remember me, when you come into your kingdom. Jesus remember me, when you come into your kingdom."
The Church closes the end of her liturgical year today, the year of faith by celebrating the feast of Christ the King, what does it all mean to us?
It means we are a people of faith. We are on our faith journey toward our heavenly kingdom, our true home. our King, Christ Jesus asks us to remain faithful to him all the days of our life, especially at the end of our earthly life.
One might ask how can I remain faithful to Christ?
Today Scripture summarizes how we can remain faithful to God.
Let us put ourselves in the scene of the three crosses on the mount of Calvary. What do we see? We see three men suffering on their cross. The one suffered the most is the middle one and that is Jesus Christ, our Lord and king.
His pain is the worst because the Roman soldiers tortured him and scourged him from the moment he was arrested to the moment he was hang upon the cross. However, he suffered another pain that is worse than his physical pain. That is the pain of being betrayed and abandoned by his followers and disciples and also the pain of the whole humanity rejecting his love.
We profess Jesus Christ as our Lord and King. Yes, He is truly our Lord and King. However, his kingly way is not what we expect from an earthly king who rules over their people, making people die for the king. Christ's way is the way of love. We are born to live, but he was born to die for us. So that we can have an eternal life.
The 2 thieves were also hung upon the cross representing our human choice of faith in God. They are both sinners. They both suffer pain on the cross, but the one on the left has no remorse nor repentant for his sin while the one on the right acknowledges his sin and feels sorry for what he has done.
Moreover, the one on the right accepts Christ as his king when he said to Jesus: "Remember me when you come into your kingdom!" This means that he accepts Christ as his Lord and King. It means that Christ dies for his sin as well. His sin has been forgiven. That's why Christ promises him that: "Today, you will be with me in paradise"
There're 2 lessons for us to learn. The first one is that being a human it means we will suffer in our life. Sometimes we suffer for our own sins and sometimes we suffer for other's sins. But, if we have faith in God our suffer will turn into joy and triumphth because God suffers with us as evidently as Christ suffers on the cross with the 2 thieves. But, if we don't have faith in God, our suffering remains suffering and suffering with no hope.
The second lesson is that Christ wants us to imitate him in the way of love. He wants us to love our husband and our wife just the way Christ loves us. It means we have to be ready to die for the one we love. Are we ready to do that? Christ reminds us that "For whoever wishes to save his/her life will lose it, but whoever loses his/her life for my sake will find it." (Mt 16:25)
That is how we can remain faithful with him. My dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Christ shows us a model of love for our family. For young people, when you obey your father and mother, you're being faithful to Christ because Christ is obedient to the Father, even accepting death on the cross. For husband and wife, let us love one another because Christ said: "By this sign, everyone comes to recognize you're my disciples, that you love one another as I have loved you." And we know how Christ loves us.
Since we profess Christ is our Lord and King, our life should be mastered by Christ and Christ alone. Christ's way of love should influence and affect every aspect of our life because we believe that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. Let us sing together again to praise God because he is our king and we belong to his kingdom: "Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom, Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom."
Pt Hoàng Thương