Thirty-fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time • Year C

Edward J. Enright, O.S.A.
Merrimack College
North Andover, Massachusetts

Mal 3:19-20a
Ps 98:5-6,7-8,9
2 Thess 3:7-12
Lk 21:5-19

As the Church Year comes to an end, the focus is on the future and the fulfillment of the promises God has made to humanity during the course of our history. These promises are summed up in Jesus Christ the King. His kingship, as we know, is far different from any type of kingship humankind has experienced.

The nature of Christ’s kingship tells us a lot about who God is for us, and we come to know the nature of that kingship through God’s word found in the Bible as interpreted by the Magisterium of the Church.

In the reading from the second Book of Samuel, the nature of Christ’s kingship is revealed sacramentally in the exercise of David’s kingship as shepherd and commander. Shepherd here probably does not need any further explanation, but commander as applied to Christ does, for he is not a military commander but one who makes demands on each of us to follow him in creating an environment of peace and justice here on earth that points to God’s perfect and complete control of history at the end of time.

The letter to the Colossians continues to open out the nature of Christ’s kingship in some of the richest language of the New Testament. His intimacy with his Father makes it possible for us to claim in faith that every dimension of creation is organically interconnected with one another because Jesus is the means by which the Father created the universe of nature and humanity, and the world that transcends the sensual.

He is the personal principle that integrates every dimension of reality. We human beings are privileged to be intimately involved with God by our creation in his image and likeness through Christ, and with the natural world for which we were given ecological charge by God in Christ as the servants of his world.

The same New Testament letter and the Gospel passage from St. Luke first advise us of what our dark side has done, but also what Christ the King has done for humanity out of love. Our dark side dislocated us from God’s creation both human and natural, by the ways we have each often alienated ourselves from one another and from the world that God gave us to manage in his name. But through the blood of the cross our King has made possible the reconciliation that the author of Colossians writes about, and Jesus himself spoke into existence for the fellow crucified with Jesus who recognized Jesus’ true nature, and asked for repentance and inclusion in that complete and perfect Kingdom Jesus brought about by the cruel and, unfortunately, too often, usual punishment, that he refused to reject.

Christ & the Repentant Thief

Our God revealed to us in Christ the King is a ruler who rules by love, caretaking, shepherding, creating and re-creating, and reconciling, but also demanding; demanding of us to live in his image and likeness and to steward the creation with which he has gifted us.

Let us now continue in this Eucharistic celebration to give thanks and praise to the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit for the King we have been given, in whom we live in faith, hope, and love.