How will you be remembered? A better question: how will you want to be remembered? Today we think of end times as we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King—the end of our liturgical cycle “C” and the beginning of cycle “A” for our Scripture readings. We end this long run of Ordinary Time and will enter the new and next season of Advent. During this past month of November we have remembered all of our Saints and all of the Souls who have passed away in the last year—and we have remembered those long gone from us, too. In the Gospel today as we hear the “good” thief ask Jesus to remember him it got me to wondering if Jesus would remember me—and say to me when the time comes: “Amen…today you will be with me in paradise.”
I am convinced that probably most of us would like to do some great thing with our lives. But we labor under the illusion that the doing of authentically great things is reserved for a chosen few: heroes, Olympians, martyrs, Saints--not really for you and me. Yet what if the greatest thing to do is just to honor God with a life that seeks to do His will in all the little things—like spending our lives in love and care? (maybe it’s not such a small thing…) We may not climb the highest mountain, but we may work to stay on the uneven path that life has marked out for us. We may not die for our faith, but we could strive to stay true to it in all we say and do during our lifetime.
We are called not to simply pay homage to our King, but to do as He did: to take up our crosses, living each day in self-sacrifice because we know that only through the cross is God’s reign at hand. Jesus is the model of the Servant-King; and our faith calls us to this same image. That is how we will be recognized and remembered by Christ.
Like the “good” thief, we also must ask for mercy for our sins. In God’s kingdom, even the guilty can find welcome, no matter what their crimes, lifestyle or deeds. (We have seen our Pope Francis model Jesus in this behavior—we are called to that action, also.) Jesus, hanging on the cross, extended comfort to the repentant thief. He extends comfort to us, too, as we also hang on our own crosses of our choices, shortcomings and sins, of our responsibilities, burdens and obligations.
And, like the two thieves, we have a choice: we can be like the “bad” thief turning away from salvation offered and stick with our destructive ways (to ourselves and others); or we can be like the “good” thief and embrace the new life offered by Jesus. The question is: which thief are you? This is an everyday and constant question that as believers must be asked.
In God’s kingdom we look forward to joy; and yet we can claim this joy-filled kingdom at once, today. As We Remember Him, we will be remembered and recognized by Jesus in all we say and do, in the here and now.
Just a Note: Save the Date: Our Advent Pageant: “Cradle, Cross and Crown will take place on Sunday, December 11 at 4:00pm in Church. This is a fund and food raiser for Christmas giving after emptying our Food Pantry for the Thanksgiving holidays. Please come and join us as we celebrate the season and feed those less fortunate.