Bishop Richard J. Sklba
Archdiocese of Milwaukee

The Lord be with you.

And with your spirit.

A reading this morning from the 23rd chapter of the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

Glory to you O Lord.

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said. "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God." Even the soldiers jeered at him and they approached to offer him wine, they called out saying "If you're the king of the Jews, save yourself." Above him there was an inscription that read, "This is the king of the Jews." 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." Jesus replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise."

Sisters and brothers, the Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

Here in the United States we have never thought very much about royalty, about kings and queens, maybe except in children's stories and fairy tales. Otherwise, it just doesn't cross our consciousness. We do have some great heroes over the history of our nation; we have people who've given their lives for others, we have individuals who saved the nation at a pivotal moment in history and we have people who are venerated as great heroes. Jesus is all of that and more. We venerate him as perfectly human and perfectly divine and on this feast of Christ the King we celebrate not the moment when he is solemnly enthroned in Heaven at the side of his father forever and any kind of splendor or glory, but on this feast of Christ the King we choose to celebrate that moment when he reaches out his arms on the cross and embraces the whole world, beginning with the person we call the good thief, who represents all of us. He reaches out with a love that establishes peace and justice forever and everywhere he doesn't rule with armies or with weapons, he rules with love that transforms and welcomes, reminds us that we don't have to be good for him to love us, he'll love us into goodness if we just allow him to do so and that’s really the feast of Christ the King, king of everything and everyone.

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