34th Sunday in Ordinary time - Lk 23, 35-43
Power for the service.
Dear brothers and sisters, a new teacher told his student, who laughed at her and said some disrespecting words, about the power: “ It is ability to direct or influence another’s behaviour or a courses of events".
That’s what she has. She can remove him from the class and fail him. Or she can send him to the dean for violating the student code of conduct. These are all things that can alter the course of his life.
As human being, we would love to have this powerful ability to direct our influence someone’s behaviour. Everyone looking for this power, direct and influence others to be a little king in her/his world.
Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…or media in general have this power: they determine the fate of politicians and political causes, they influence governments and their electorates. They can make you famous today and be crucified the following. Jesus was crucified in almost the same situation.
We celebrate today the Solemnity of Christ the King, Pope Pius XI added it to the calendar in 1925. Pope Paul VI gave the official title as Our Jesus Christ, King of the Universe in 1969. That time, some countries were struggling against the anti-Catholic ideas of communism and fascism. Some other democratic countries were simply losing interest in religion and giving over their lives to the pursuit of pleasure. Yet, Pius remained hopeful, writing that “When once men recognize, both in private and public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well ordered discipline, peace and harmony.”
As we know, we lost the harmony with God, with other and nature because of sin. Saint Paul said in the second reading, Jesus came to give us the redemption and the forgiveness of sins to restore this harmony. “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself”.John 12:32. Or in today Gospel, he said to the criminal "You will be with me in paradise". We will be again son of God.
We would love to use the power to put someone under our control. Jesus, in contrary, use the power to set us free, to set an example of what and how to be a Christian, a disciple, by laying down his life for others, and doing the will of God.
The challenges that Pius XI faced in society at that time are not different from the challenges our society faces today. Secularism, loss of interest in God is there. At the end of this liturgical year, we can reflect on our lives and see the priorities that occupy most of our efforts and time in our daily lives. For some people, secularism grows even stronger today because of our attachment to a world of media, internet, and smartphones. These distractions sometimes occupy time and effort that we could spend in spiritual growth.
It is necessary to celebrate this feast of Christ the King to place Christ crucified at the centre of our lives. He died for our sins and weaknesses so that we may be freed from the poison of sin and spiritual death. Only in this way, we may attain the true freedom of the children of God.
Today is also the Youth Day, we are all young spiritually speaking. We need the grace of God. We need to be directed and influenced by the Holy Spirit so that we can direct and influence people around us, in other words “bear witness” to the Kingdom of God by our lives of prayer and service.