Enduring Mockery for the Kingdom

Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
•2 Sm 5:1-3
•Ps 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
•Col 1:12-20
•Lk 23:35-43

By Marc Massery

The reading from the Gospel for this Sunday recounts some of the most Godless moments in Scripture. As Jesus is hanging from the Cross, dying for the sins of the world, He’s assaulted by invectives.  

The sneering rulers say, "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.” The jeering soldiers say, "If you are King of the Jews, save yourself." Even the criminal hanging beside Him says, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us." (Lk 23:35-39). None of these men could reconcile a God who was all-powerful with a God who not only allowed pain, but accepted suffering and death Himself. 

Today, unbelievers continue to reject God for similar reasons. They want a world free from pain and suffering. Yet when they look upon the One who can lead them to perfect happiness, they reject Him. Some even mock Him. They turn away from the Cross, trying to find freedom from pain through the very thing that caused all the pain to begin with: sin. 

Of course, sin was only made possible to begin with because God loved us enough to give us free will. Free will gives us the chance to love like He loves. We merely chose wrongly and often continue to choose wrongly. 

Of course, the answer to our waywardness in this fallen world is Jesus Christ. He came and died so that if we embrace the suffering God allows, He can lead us to victory over sin and death. He can lead us to ultimate freedom. 

But first, we need to acknowledge our own sinfulness, like the good thief in the Gospel. The good thief hanging beside Christ accepted his own humiliation, suffering, and death because he knew that he was a sinner, a criminal, and that he deserved it. In his humility, he didn’t try to escape his pain. Therefore, he didn’t reject Jesus in His pain either. With a few of his final words, the good thief asked Christ to remember him in His Kingdom. 

Jesus responded to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23:43). 

This Sunday is the Solemnity of Christ the King, which was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as a response to the growing secularism in the world at the time. Unfortunately, almost 100 years later, our culture has only grown more secular. We live in a world that refuses to acknowledge its own sinfulness. Those who refuse to acknowledge their own sin see no need for Christ.  

In these faithless times, Christians are mocked and rejected, not unlike Christ on the Cross. In our pain and humiliation, we ought to consider St. Faustina’s words, “Humiliation is my daily food. I understand that the bride must herself share in everything that is the groom’s; and so His cloak of mockery must cover me, too. At those times when I suffer much, I try to remain silent. …” (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska 92). 

In this fallen world, suffering, mockery, and humiliation is our lot. This is the result of living in a fallen world. But as long as we acknowledge our sins and to turn to Christ, He will comfort us and ultimately lead us to Paradise. 

Photo by Michael Bourgault on Unsplash

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