Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
1st Reading: 2 Samuel 5:1-3
2nd Reading: Colossians 1:12-20
Responsorial: Psalm 122:1-5 Gospel: Luke 23:35-43
The Preeminence of Jesus Christ Our King
Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. (Luke 23:42)
At the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, you will see an immense mosaic entitled Christ in Majesty above the main altar. The mosaic portrays Jesus in towering strength, flexing a muscular right arm. Everything about this image says “kingly.” Even the inscription reads, “Christ Reigns, Christ Rules. Eternal Victor, Eternal King.”
This is the kind of image that probably comes to mind when we think of Jesus as a king—and rightly so! Jesus does indeed reign at the right hand of God the Father. Every knee is meant to bow before him, and “every tongue confess” his Lordship (Philippians 2:10-11). Even Jesus talks about his return in “glory,” accompanied by “all the angels” as he sits “upon his glorious throne” (Matthew 25:31).
All this is well and good, but look at the Gospel passage chosen for today’s celebration. Jesus is crucified like a common criminal. He is hanging between two thieves, while many of Israel’s religious leaders jeer at him. What a humiliating image! Why would the Church select such a surprising reading?
This is the great paradox of the Christian life. Jesus shows himself worthy of our obedience, not because he is proud and powerful, but because he is a servant. He shows himself to be lordly, not through powerful armies and a gleaming throne, but through the beautiful dignity of self-giving love. He is humble, interceding for those who mock him. He is merciful, forgiving even his torturers. He is generous, promising paradise to a repentant thief. He is Jesus, the Son of God, who did only what his Father told him to do.
Today, join Mary at the foot of the cross and behold your King. Gaze upon him as he offers up his life for you. Look at him, and let your heart rejoice.
“Jesus, eternal King, you are mighty and merciful. I surrender to you. Come, and reign in my heart.”
(Many thanks to The Word Among Us for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission. For more information on how to subscribe to their devotional magazine,
go to www.wau.org).
Questions for Reflection or Discussion:
1. In the first reading, the Lord calls David to be a shepherd of his people, Israel. The people in turn, “anointed him king of Israel.” Similarly, Jesus is our shepherd and king, but not one who forces our love and devotion. Jesus has earned it by what he has done for us.
• How frequently during the day do you focus on what Jesus did for you through his suffering, death, and resurrection?
• What steps can you take to focus on it more frequently?
2. The responsorial psalm speaks of rejoicing as we go to the “house of the Lord.” It goes on to say that it is in the house of the Lord that we “give thanks to the name of the Lord.”
• How joyful are you each week as you go to church to celebrate Mass?
• How would you describe your attitude and disposition at Mass?
• What are some steps you can take prior to Mass to make it a more joyful and thankful experience?
3. Paul’s letter to the Colossians tells us that in Christ, we have been made “fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.”
• How would you describe what you believe that “inheritance” is?
• In what ways does knowing that you possess such a great inheritance make a difference in the way you live each day?
4. Paul also speaks forcefully of Jesus’ role in reconciling us and making peace “by the blood of his cross.” The end of the Church year is a good time to take stock of your relationships with Christ and others.
• Are there any family members, friends, and others with whom you need reconciliation?
• What can you do to make reconciliation possible?
5. In the Gospel reading, Jesus reaction to the penitent thief on the cross reminds us that it is never too late to turn to Jesus and experience the salvation he won for us on the Cross.
• In what way does Jesus reaction to the thief on the cross who turned to him before his death give you hope for those in your family and others who are still far from the Lord?
• What role may the Lord be asking you to play in their coming back to the Lord and his Church?
6. The scenes in the Gospel reading were also vividly portrayed in the movie, “The Passion of the Christ.” Many saints have urged us to keep Christ’s passion clearly before our mind’s eye throughout our day.
• What can you do to make that happen, especially in light of the busyness of our days?
7. In the meditation, we hear these words: “Jesus shows himself worthy of our obedience, not because he is proud and powerful, but because he is a servant. He shows himself to be lordly, not through powerful armies and a gleaming throne, but through the beautiful dignity of self-giving love. He is humble, interceding for those who mock him. He is merciful, forgiving even his torturers. He is generous, promising paradise to a repentant thief. He is Jesus, the Son of God, who did only what his Father told him to do.”
• In what ways is Jesus calling us to follow in his footsteps?
• How do you imitate him by sowing his love and forgiveness to those around you?
• What steps can you take to allow Jesus’ kingship over you to be a greater reality in your life and in your relationship with others?
8. Take some time now to pray and surrender your life completely to the Lord. Ask him to be Lord of your life and to reign in your heart. Use the prayer below from the end of the meditation as a starting point.