Feast of Christ the King

11-20-2016From the PastorFr. Michael Straley

"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." The two thieves that were crucified next to Jesus show two very different ways of understanding who Jesus was. The first thief insulted Jesus, prodded him, mocked him. He didn't believe that Jesus had any power whatsoever. Like the sneering crowds, he thought that it was a joke to label Jesus as the "King of the Jews."

But the second thief, known in tradition as "the good thief," had a different perception. He understood that Jesus did in fact have power because, as Jesus had told Pilate only hours earlier, his kingdom "is not of this world." The good thief understood that the kingdom of God awaits those who believe in the Lord. And when this man made that final act of faith on his own cross, Jesus promised him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Today as we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King, we are challenged to have as much faith as the good thief. We are challenged to believe that Jesus is in fact the "King of the Universe," even when it may not appear that way to those who stand by sneering. Jesus did not choose to hop down off the cross and make everything cheery. Instead he fulfilled his mission for an end result that was infinitely better than simply saving himself and those two thieves; by dying on the cross, he saved us all! So we too need to trust that just because Jesus doesn't always answer our prayers exactly how we want or expect, and just because we find ourselves carrying a cross from time to time, it does not mean he isn't in charge! On the contrary, we need to trust, as the good thief did, that Jesus' mission is to bring all of us to join him in his heavenly kingdom.

Jesús fue crucificado entre dos ladrones y uno de ellos conocido en la religiosidad popular como el buen ladrón reconoce en el Señor su reino y que él es Rey. Él sabe que es un pecador pero que Jesús es inocente y todos sabemos la forma tan rápida, inmediata, momentánea que se gana el paraíso. "'Señor, cuando llegues a tu Reino, acuérdate de mí'. Jesús le respondió: 'Yo te aseguro que hoy estarás conmigo en el paraíso'" (Lc 23, 42).

Para nuestro aprendizaje catequético de este domingo es bueno saber que el personaje central de todo la historia de la salvación es Jesús, el cual hoy celebramos con alegría su fiesta de Cristo Rey. Marcamos el final. El próximo domingo daremos comienzo al principio, al Adviento, a lo nuevo de otro año litúrgico.

La fiesta de Cristo Rey fue instaurada por el Papa Pío XI el 11 de diciembre de 1925. El papa quiso motivar a los católicos a reconocer públicamente que el Rey de Reyes universal es Cristo Rey. Ahora, el Papa Francisco nos enseña que "Jesús no es un rey al estilo de este mundo: para Él reinar no es mandar, sino obedecer al Padre, entregarse a Él, para que se cumpla su designio de amor y de salvación" (homilía, el 23 de noviembre de 2014). Para los hispanos mexicanos en los Estados Unidos, esta solemnidad tiene una connotación muy especial, ya que muchos de nuestros sacerdotes y laicos incluido un niño José Luis Sánchez del Río dieron la vida por defender su fe. Sus últimas palabras fueron ¡Viva Cristo Rey y Santa María de Guadalupe! (La fecha de su canonización para el Beato José Sánchez del Río será 16 de octubre de 2016).

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