Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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Continue to extend Jesus’ mercy to others
Based on 2 Sm 5:1-3; Col 1:12-20; Lk 23:35-43
This Sunday is the last Sunday of the church’s liturgical year – the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Strangely enough, we celebrate the feast by looking at Jesus hanging on the cross like a common criminal between two thieves.
It is only in Luke’s Gospel that we hear one of the thieves defend Jesus. He is told he will be in paradise that very day. Today’s Gospel ends on Jesus’ words to him – Jesus’ continued outreach to the poor and broken.
Remember at the beginning of Luke’s Gospel, the lowly shepherds were beckoned to adore the baby Jesus? Typically in Luke’s Gospel, from beginning to end, Jesus always reaches out in love to the poor, to those who are lost and to those who most need him.
In loving obedience to the will of God the Father, Jesus lived his life for us, not for himself. What looked like Jesus’ final hours – humiliated, savagely beaten and eventually put to death – was really the beginning of all eternity for Jesus’ believers.
By rising from the dead and overcoming death, Jesus showed everyone he is the King of all creation. He conquered sin and all its power and consequences. Jesus brought new and everlasting life in heaven for all who believe and follow him.
Jesus had said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” His kingdom is in the hearts of all people who love God and neighbor. It’s the beginning of heaven here on earth. It is now – stretching the limits of time into eternity. As we follow Jesus’ great commandment to love God and neighbor by acts of love, kindness, compassion and forgiveness, God’s kingdom grows here on earth.
While this Sunday is the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, it doesn’t mean the end of our practicing the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. Every word we speak, every action we take should continue to extend Jesus’ love and mercy to others.
Lord Jesus, eternal, mighty and merciful King, come and be the King of our hearts!