(Adults, you could begin by reading the scripture to your child. Alternatively, you could read the first paragraph of the reflection, turn to scripture, and then continue with the reflection.)
This Sunday is a special feast day called Christ the King. "Christ" is a title given to Jesus that means "one who is anointed"—one who is chosen by God for something special. The reading for this Sunday talks about Jesus dying on the cross. Is this the "something special" he is chosen for? Is this our King?
The reading begins:
And the people stood by, watching...
Who are these people? Perhaps they are us. What do we see? What do we hear?
The leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, his chosen one!”
We see the leaders scoffing. We hear them say, "Prove it. Prove you are the Christ."
The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”
We see the soldiers mocking. We hear them say, "Prove it. Prove you are the King."
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!
We see this criminal deriding. We hear him say, "Prove it. Prove you are the chosen one from God."
Prove it, prove it, prove it.
All of these people see death as the end.
All of them see death as failure.
All of them look with their eyes, but not with their heart.
None of them sees clearly.
Only one person does not say "prove it."
Only one person sees that death is not a failure.
Only one person, who himself is also dying, sees clearly.
He sees himself clearly. He knows that he is a sinner. He says,
we are getting what we deserve for our deeds
He sees Jesus clearly, too. He knows that Jesus is so good. He says,
but this man has done nothing wrong
This one person alone sees death clearly. He knows that death is not the end for Jesus. He says,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
This one person alone knows that Jesus is King.
He sees clearly with his heart.
He has faith.
He asks Jesus to remember him after death, in his new life. Remembering creates a sort of bond between them. Remembering continues their relationship. Remembering glues them together. The man wants to be sure that the relationship—the bond—sticks them together, even after he dies. We call this relationship "covenant."
Does Jesus want to continue a relationship with this sinner?
Does he want a bond with this person even after he dies?
Does he want to have a covenant with him?
Of course he does.
Jesus remembers him. He says,
“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Today. What a comfort to the man who is dying! Jesus shows him mercy, and gives him hope—the promise of the Kingdom.
What about us, the people watching all of this?
Does Jesus want to continue a relationship with us?
Does he want a bond with us even after he dies?
Does he want to have a covenant with us?
Of course he does.
Jesus remembers us.
How do we remember him?
We have faith. We ask the Holy Spirit to help us see clearly with our heart—not like the leaders and the soldiers and the one criminal. We ask to see ourselves clearly and to see the King clearly—just like the good criminal.
And when we come to receive the Eucharist, what do we do?
We bow to the King.
We hold out our hands to receive Jesus in the bread that is holy, making a throne for the King.
We know that Jesus is the King.
The King remembers us and we remember him.
We are stuck together like glue.