From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
November 20 – Our Lord, Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
“Let us give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” It is good to be reminded of where we have been, and to where we hope to go. God has brought us from darkness to the light. He has given us the very essence of the light itself – his Son, Jesus Christ. He is above and beyond all things, he is all powerful, all loving and all merciful. It is to him that we belong, and it is through him that we have redemption. He is our king!
We are reminded that our King is a different kind of king. Jesus has been a model, a teacher, a brother and a friend. But He is most importantly our King, our Lord and our Savior. St. Paul’s letter calls us to give thanks because God has made us inheritors of the kingdom of heaven through His mercy and sacrifice. Jesus is a king who dies for his servants rather than one who has his servants die for him. He does not display his power but rather his mercy. He does not ask to be served but rather offers himself in service. He has no expectation of repayment, although he pays the ultimate price. His interest is not in saving himself but rather saving each of us! He is all powerful, but he shows us a different kind of power from the cross. He humbles himself accepting the ridicule and sneers of the rulers and soldiers; accepting the humiliation of the cross. His power is not exerted by force, but rather by inviting us to become one with him in all things on earth and in heaven. He offers himself to us in a relationship of mercy, charity and hope that he invites us to share in relationship with others. By accepting the cross, Jesus enters into solidarity with the poorest of the poor. No man is beneath the reach of his love and mercy.
Each of us will one day find ourselves confronted with the cross. We will be given the choice of accepting the life of Christ or rejecting it. Do we seek the power of wealth, of influence, of force or do we choose the power of relationship, of mercy and of love? One recognizes the importance of self and the other recognizes the importance of others. The gospel poses the question to us – “who do you identify with?” Are we like Dismis, the good thief, connecting our suffering to Jesus – turning to him and seeking his mercy? Or are we like the bad thief, the rulers and the soldiers mocking him, questioning him, condemning him as they say “Save yourself!”
Jesus Christ is our King! Our call is to give him the keys to our lives by imitating him in all we do. To humble ourselves as he was humbled. To love as he loved. To suffer as he suffered and sacrifice as he sacrificed. To forgive as he forgave. To serve as he served. To live the truth that he has given us – the truth of Jesus Christ! When we do this, we join the good thief praying “Jesus remember me, when you come into your kingdom.”
As Vincentians, we seek a unity with Jesus through our ministry to the poor and vulnerable, recognizing that it is in relationship forged through humility, faith and compassion that Jesus is most readily found. Like Jesus, we need to display mercy and not power. We need to offer ourselves in service. We need to have no expectation of thanks or repayment for that which we do. For our service is offered in thanksgiving for what Jesus has done for us. How do I seek to bring the mercy and compassion of Jesus to all I encounter? How am I willing to sacrifice for others? How do I seek God’s will in all decisions, and offer my service in humility and gratitude?
Lord Jesus, you are the King of kings! You gave yourself that I might have salvation. Give me the grace to offer mercy as you did. Instill in me the charity of heart and action that others might see your presence in all I do. Allow my service to be an offering of gratitude and praise for your great glory. “Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.” We pray all of this in your name. Amen