The Gospel of the Day – 2016.11.20
Christ the King
The Cross of the King
The people stayed there before the cross watching Jesus. As for the leaders, they jeered at him. ‘He saved others,’ they said ‘let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.’ The soldiers mocked him too, and when they approached to offer vinegar they said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’ Above him there was an inscription: ‘This is the King of the Jews.’
One of the criminals hanging there abused him. ‘Are you not the Christ?’ he said. ‘Save yourself and us as well.’ But the other spoke up and rebuked him. ‘Have you no fear of God at all?’ he said. ‘You got the same sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it: we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus,’ he said ‘remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ ‘Indeed, I promise you,’ he replied ‘today you will be with me in paradise.’
Justice, Goodness, and Salvation
A person cannot expect a reward in this life, for having lived a good life. One person may experience a long life, surrounded by family and friends, admired by their community, living out their days in peace, and abundance. While another person may be reviled by their community, abandoned by their friends, framed for criminal offences, and executed for crimes they did not commit.
There is no divine plan in what happens to us here in this life. God, the creator of the universe, God has made each of us free, and all of creation is free from coercion. The divine plan does not touch us in this world, it only promises to deliver us to another world when this one is done with us.
That is the way of things.
Believe in that promise. The things we enjoy, and the things we suffer here, they are temporary. We have no choice but to endure the things that come our way, or enjoy them, such as the case might be.
They are ephemeral.
A person may live their entire life outside of the bounds of good society and wisdom may still come to them at the end. Listen to the voice of wisdom when you hear it. Wisdom is wisdom regardless of the voice that speaks it. Truth is truth, and lies are lies. Attenuate yourself to the differences.
Do not make the mistake of believing that God saves one of the criminals who died next to Jesus, and condemned the other. Both men were are children of God, and beloved by the creator. A person is not saved because of their ability to recognize the divinity in Jesus, we are saved because God loves us and made us to be saved. The divine plan encompasses everyone.
34th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Christ the King