OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE
“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.