Lectionary Reflections: Thirty-fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time [c] November 20, 2016

Engaging Faith | Thu, Nov 17, 2016

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Education for Justice

The Solemnity of Jesus Christ the King

November 20, 2016


2 Samuel 5:1-3

Colossians 1:12-20

Luke 23:35-43



November 20: Feast of Christ the King and the end of the Year of Mercy

November 24: Thanksgiving in the United States

November 25: Buy-Nothing Day in the United States

November 25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

November 27: First Sunday of Advent 



… the reign of God is making headway — and for this I am grateful. Do continue to be Spirit-filled and challenging. 

— Sister Dorothy Kazel, O.S.U.

The kingship of Jesus Christ, according to the world's criteria, is paradoxical:  it is the triumph of love, accomplished in the mystery of the Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Son of God. This saving kingship is fully revealed in the sacrifice of the Cross, the supreme act of mercy in which the salvation and judgment of the world are simultaneously brought about.

— Pope John Paul II

Peace is not merely the absence of war. Nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance of a balance of power between enemies. Nor is it brought about by dictatorship. Instead, it is rightly and appropriately called "an enterprise of justice" (Is. 32:7). Peace results from that harmony built into human society by its divine founder, and actualized by men and women as they thirst after ever greater justice.

— Vatican II, The Church in the Modern World, 78

Christ crucified and risen, the Wisdom of God, manifests the truth that divine justice and renewing power leavens the world in a way different from the techniques of dominating violence.  The victory of shalom is won not by the sword of the warrior god, but by the awesome power of compassionate love, in and through solidarity with those who suffer. … Above all, the cross is raised as a challenge to the natural rightness of male dominating rule. The crucified Jesus embodies the exact opposite of the patriarchal ideal of the powerful man, and shows the steep price to be paid in the struggle for liberation.

— Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., She Who Is, 159-160

Being a Christian means renouncing ourselves, taking up the cross, and carrying it with Jesus. There is no other way.

— Pope Francis, 24 October 2013

The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.

— Pope Francis, Laudato Si, 13


Thoughts for Your Consideration

(1) In the gospel, many people (and especially the leaders) sneer at Jesus – a king on the cross – a human person with no apparent power – a failure. Their concept of “kingship” is that of power over others or domination and control.  However, the “kingship” of Jesus centers on relationship and community – service and solidarity – sacrifice and love. It is not “sad.” It is a victory and the key to real life and salvation.

(2) In the gospel dialogue, we are reminded that true “kingship” or true authority is reflected in mercy. Jesus, in the midst of the pain of injustice and violence and criticism, in his time of suffering and death, proclaims mercy to the criminal. This message is a fitting one for the end of the Year of Mercy.

(3) In the second reading, Paul speaks of a peace that comes through the “blood of the cross.”  In this time of war and terrorism and political uncertainty, it is important for us to hear the call of God to a peace that comes through the Way of Jesus crucified – a peace that comes from a God who shares our struggles and our suffering – a peace that comes with solidarity, especially solidarity with those who a in need, who are poor, who are refugees or homeless, who are “minorities.”

To read the rest of this reflection from John Bucki, S.J., as well as his reflection questions, faith in action links, prayers of intercession, and prayer meditations, become a member of Education for Justice:

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