The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe, Solemnity of Christ the King-C, 24 November 2019
2 Samuel 5:1-3 ><}}}*> Colossians 1:12-20 ><}}}*> Luke 23:35-43
The Cross is the throne of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. It is also a lesson in itself, the most profound Jesus has given us that continues to unfold and unravel the “depth and breath” of God’s love for each of us.
Through his Cross, Jesus did not only enter humanity but also allowed humanity to enter him by putting into his heart its very symbolism which is death we all deny and are afraid of. By dying on the Cross, Jesus turned it into a blessing to now become the symbol of life.
Let’s make an illustration.
Yes, it is Bruce Willis from a scene in one of his popular series, “Die Hard” which I continue to watch whenever possible.
What I like most with Bruce Willis in all of his movies is his being so “human” – very vulnerable physically, emotionally and even psychologically. His roles never hide his being a frail human being despite his muscular strength and tactical acumen. Bruce never hides his weaknesses that he can get shot and wounded, dumped and divorced or cheated by his wife like in “The Last Boy Scout”, making him more believable than the other action stars.
And that’s our point here: Jesus never hid his humanity from us. The all-powerful God on whose everything was created according to St. Paul in the second reading became human like us in every aspect except sin.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth… He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.Colossians 1:15-19
In becoming human like us, Jesus entered our humanity. He who is the Son of God became an infant and child so weak, entrusting himself to us humans.
And when he had grown into a man, he experienced leaving home and family to fulfill his mission like almost everybody. He had friends, some eventually became faithful while another had betrayed him.
Jesus went to almost every gathering like weddings and banquets, met everybody from the “who’s who” to the nobody like sinners and marginalized. He was manly enough to relate with every kind of people, be they children or women, rich and poor alike.
He had wept at the death of a good friend and the impending destruction of his beloved city of Jerusalem, felt hunger and thirst, got angry and was surprised in some occasions.
Jesus is truly human that we can also identify with him but in his dying on the cross, we were able to enter him to become like him when on his Resurrection, he took away the curse of death and turned it into pure grace in him.
A very unique characteristic of Jesus as a human is his being a radical in its truest essence and meaning. From the Latin word “radix” that means roots, Jesus brought us back to our very roots, to our grounding of being who is God himself.
Too often, we think of radical people as rebels and revolutionaries leading movements and many changes in the society. They are the “game changers” because they radically change things to show us the more essential.
But in reality, radicals do not change things: they restore things to its original state and being. They get into the roots or “radix” of things to bring out its true meanings by doing away with the unimportant accidentals that have taken over the realities.
That is why Jesus is a radical: by dying on the Cross, he firmly reestablished his throne as King of the Universe because that is where evil ended and death is conquered.
It is on the Cross his throne where every new life begins because it is our very rootedness and “grounding of being” as beloved children of God in him.
Most of all, it is on the Cross his throne, our root and grounding from which comes our sole focus and attention in life – God in Christ Jesus.
The rulers sneered at Jesus… even the soldiers jeered at him. Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”Luke 23:35, 36, 39-43
We have a beautiful expression in Filipino about a person described as “malalim” or deep. A radical is the truly deep person because he is rooted and grounded in his being who is God!
Anyone who truly recognizes Jesus Christ becomes a radical person too, a person of depth because he is rooted in God like the other thief hanging on the cross with Jesus.
See how the rulers or the elite like the priests and elders of Israel who sneered at Jesus: the more they poked fun on him as “the Christ of God”, the more they indict themselves of the grave crime of putting Jesus to death. Eventually at the death of Jesus, the Temple curtain would be torn from top to bottom to signal the end of temple worship and the start of worshipping God in “truth and spirit” in Christ.
The soldiers jeered Jesus too because they “know not what they were doing” because they were all pagans. But again, upon Christ’s death, we find one soldier there at the scene declaring “truly this is the Son of God.”
In any case, some members of Israel’s rulers and Roman soldiers eventually followed Jesus after the Resurrection to show us how the Cross is indeed the throne of Christ the King: it is also a door that opens anyone to conversion, to accept his reign and kingdom!
Most of all, the “good thief”, usually referred to as Dimas, shows us how at the cross any one can become radical like the Lord. While agonizing with Jesus on the cross, Dimas must have examined his life and got into his very core, his roots and realized that basic truth inside him was right there suffering also with him — Jesus whose name means “Yahweh saves”.
What is so surprising with his request from Jesus “to remember him he gets into his kingdom” is the fact that in the Old Testament, it is God who always remembers his people, remembers his promise, remembers his covenant.
Man always forgets God and his covenant that we always turn away from him to live in sin. But at the cross, the throne of Jesus our King, he enables us to remember our roots, our being children of God, our being loved and forgiven that we finally find our way back home.
And that home is God in eternity: “Today you shall be with me in Paradise.”
Every time we are at the cross, when we are getting through so many pains and sufferings, failures and disappointments, even darkness and sin, get into your roots – Jesus Christ – and you will never get lost.
Long before we got into all these crosses in life, remember Jesus was there first for us to suffer and die on his Cross. And that is why he is our King for he rose again so we can become like him in eternity. Amen.