The 34th and Final Sunday of Ordinary Time: Christ the King at St Peter and St William Churches in Naples, FL

2 Samuel 5, 1-3 + Psalm 122 + Colossians 1, 12-20 + Luke 23, 35-43

November 20, 2016

Today tells us as much about the Kingdom as it does about the King, and I think it is important to focus on that Kingdom while reflecting upon this King we have come to honor and adore. This is a king who redefines what true authority in this world really is. This is a king who has refused all riches common to leaders of this world. This is king who uses the language of mercy and forgiveness rather than the language of commands and judgements. This is a king who has come to serve rather than be served. This is a king then who has established his reign through the power of love rather than the power of the sword. This is a new weapon that to this day attracts the attention, and is the only weapon that can bring peace. This is a king who sets people free rather than imprison or enslave enemies. This is, a king acknowledged by the mighty Pilot and the helpless dying criminal. This is a king whose realm is called, “Paradise.”

Paradise is something bigger than we might think. It is not about a place or some kind of blessed life hereafter. Paradise is the reality of a God who enters into the pain and heartache of human suffering. Paradise is a God who embraces a world immersed in the consequences of violence, homelessness, and despair. Paradise is for anyone who can be reached by love, because it describes a relationship not just of us with God. But even more wonderfully, it describes a relationship of God with us, and herein lies the cause of our joy today, and even some excitement.

The old story that tells of our fall from paradise is not just a story of Adam and Eve. It is the story of a God who goes looking for them calling out: “Where are you?” With that divine cry, the whole story of salvation begins to be told. Its final lines are spoken today with the proclamation of “paradise” to a sinful yet repentant sinner/thief who speaks for us all to the God whose son poured out his life so that we might have it.

Come to this altar today to be filled with what has been spilled. Come to this altar today to pledge allegiance to the new kingdom of mercy. Step into the new kingdom today or go deeper into it. Learn the language of mercy and forgiveness and speak it boldly. Learn the only way to make peace, and set people free by forgiveness and mercy. In as much as we do, we shall not have to wait any longer, suffer alone any more, or ever battle the darkness of doubt or fear. We who gather under this throne (crucifix) and eat at this table are one with God who, for all eternity, has waited and searched for us. This is where he will find us in paradise.

 

Father Tom Boyer