Year C: 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel: Luke 22: 35-43
Our final reading from Luke - and one that does not seem to fit with the title of today’s feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King.
The Gospel takes us to Calvary and to three crosses open which three “criminals” are hung - left to die. This was a death reserved for the lowest of the low - and yet, it is recorded here as evidence of the kingship of Christ.
Those who pass jeer at the One who claimed to save others - but who cannot now save Himself.
One of the criminals crucified alongside Him abuses Him - demanding that He prove Himself.
The other criminal (sometimes known as Dismas) speaks up and affirms Jesus’ innocence - that He is dying an undeserved death. and then, in the last moments of his own life, Dismas makes an act of faith that even Jesus’ own disciples could not match. He asks that this crucified man should remember him when He comes into His Kingdom - and Jesus promises that he will join Him in paradise.
What did Dismas see that no-one else could see?
Mary, His mother saw her son dying.
Mary Magdalene saw her dearest friend dying.
John saw His Master dying and would come to understand the scene before him - but only after years of reflection - and in the knowledge of the resurrection.
The soldiers and passers-by saw a crucified criminal getting what he deserved.
The other disciples - if they were there at all - were too devastated to know what they thought.
So, it is left to one person - a condemned man to look at Jesus and see that the Kingdom He spoke of is real and that it is open to all who call on Jesus to remember them.
Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom
What does it mean for me?