19 November 2016

THE POWER TO FORGIVE AND TRANSFORM

CHRIST THE UNIVERSAL KING
2 samuel 5:1-3; colossians 1:12-20; luke 23:35-43

in the notre dame cathedral, the archbishop of paris shared this story:
thirty years earlier, three young tourists—rough, rude and cynical—came into the cathedral. two dared the third to make up a confession. this young man went into the confessional, and arrogantly made his confession. the confessor said: «for your penance, stand before the crucifix, look into the face of the crucified christ and say, ‘all this you did for me, and i don’t give a damn!’» 
the young man went out and bragged that he had completed the dare; but the other two insisted he finish the dare by doing the penance. 
so he re-entered the cathedral, stood before the crucifix, and began: «all this you did for me and i… i… i don’t… i don’t give…» he couldn’t continue.
at this point, the archbishop leaned over the pulpit and said: «that young man stands before you to preach today» (cf. burton f. blair, «amid his pain he said…»).
this is the power that our king has: the power to forgive and transform through love and the cross. on the cross, stripped of everything—clothes, strength, dignity—jesus retains 
- his kingly power to forgive: he forgives his persecutors and executioners, and the repentant thief.
- the power to change hearts: he transforms the repentant thief, the centurion, and the people through love.
paul’s hymn to the colossians (second reading) emphasizes that in jesus, all things hold together; in him, we have redemption; through him and his cross, all things are reconciled. 

in a world which gives importance to territory, power, wealth, rhetoric, pomp and show…, jesus is a king
 whose kingdom has no boundaries and goes beyond nationality/clans; 
 whose crown is compassion; 
 whose throne is the crib and the cross; 
 whose authority is that of humble and loving service; 
 whose only law is love;
 whose speech is silence;
 whose citizens are the poor, the lost, the marginalized;
 whose life and death was among sinners.

is jesus really my king? if so, do i accept him and his way/values? do i allow him to transform me with the power of his love and cross?