C Cycle – Feast of Christ the King 19
Lk. 23:35 – 43
The Jews of Jesus’s time believed God would send the promised Messiah to free them from their oppressors. This promised redeemer would restore the Kingdom of Israel to its former glory as experienced under King David and Solomon. They were anxiously awaiting this new king, from the line of David and he would rule forever. We know how littler they understood the plan of God to free them. God’s promise was to restore us, to reconcile us to Himself by the forgiveness of sin, restore us not a nation.
In many ways we are like the Jew’s of Jesus’ time because we like them fail to grasp what Jesus Christ accomplished for us. Like the Jew’s of Jesus time we fail to understand the life we are being offered by God in the Kingdom of God on earth. The truth is we who have been offered life by God are still not sure how redemption works. In one way we are still tainted by the sin of Adam. We sin and just like Adam and Eve we are afraid of God, so we cover our sin and hide from God (Gen. 3:10).
This concept of our hiding from God is not something I made up, but it is a definitive statement from our Church to us. The church in the Catholic Catechism # 397 tells us “trust in God died in our hearts because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve”. It goes on to say, “the result is we do not trust God’s goodness.” Think about that for a minute, if we do not trust God and His promises to us, then our faith is built upon our ability to please or appease Him.
If we are afraid of God and do not trust in His promises how can we believe God when he invites us to “come to Him.” If we are doubtful about God’s eagerness to forgive and forget our guilt, then our image of God is nothing close to the God who loves us and desires nothing but good for us. When Jesus said “he came to show us the Father, has it changed our image of God?
It begs the question, what do we know about Jesus and do we believe all we profess. We know Jesus is the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, through whom all things were made. We know He became human flesh, incarnate of the Holy Spirit and born of Mary. We know He is the foundation of the Church. We know He was sent by God to redeem us from our sins, that he was crucified, died and was buried, only to rise on the third day. We know He appeared to the disciples and His followers and that He ascended to the Father and promised to send the Holy Spirit to change our hearts. These things are dogma and are easily proclaimed by us, but do we believe those things in our hearts.
Jesus said He came to show us the Father, to reveal to us God’s love and His desire for intimacy with us. Come to Me, open your hearts to Me, follow Me, listen to me, thirst for me. How do we rid ourselves of this lack of trust and allow Jesus to reveal God to us?
How do we discover the God Moses encountered on Mt. Sinai, the God Peter discovered on the shores of Galilee, the God King David sang about? The answer as are all things – we need to begin a journey to discover God in the scriptures. Seek and you will find Jesus tells us. Moses asked God to show him His glory (Ex. 33:18). God in response tells Moses “I will pass before you and you will see my glory.”
As God passed by Moses, He reveals exactly who He is – merciful, gracious, slow to anger, rich in kindness and fidelity, forgiving wickedness and sin and declaring the guilty guiltless.
This is the God Jesus said to us He came to reveal to us. Merciful, gracious, slow to anger, rich in kindness and fidelity, forgiving wickedness and sin and declaring the guilty guiltless. We are offered something we do not deserve and something we can never earn – restoration and forgiveness.
One of the things we Catholics easily admit about Jesus is He is the foundation of our church. If you are like most of us, you do not pay attention to the foundation of your home once it is poured. Yet it is the most important aspects of construction. But once it is poured and the structure is built upon it, our attention is all focused on the exterior and interior of the home. We maintain it, fix what breaks, update it from time to time and put all our efforts into growing our investment.
Today the church reminds us to spend more time on the foundation by discovering Christ who died so we could be freed of sin. Advent begins next week, and we know it is a time to prepare to encounter Christ. I invite you to read the Gospel of John. Read it hot study it. Read it to discover Jesus Christ and to have your own encounter with Jesus as did the prodigal, the Samaritan woman and the woman caught in adultery. That is the only way to begin to begin to trust God’s mercy and rely on the promises of God to change our hearts.
At the end of his gospel John tells us the reason for writing his gospel was so that we might believe in Jesus Christ and through believing in Him have eternal life.