Elementor #674

November 24—King of the Universe

After the first reading from the Second Book of Samuel (5:1-3) telling of King David’s anointing and Colossians (1:12-20) thanking the Father for delivering us from darkness and transferring us to the Kingdom of his Son, who is the image of the invisible God and firstborn of all creation, the Gospel of Luke (23:35-43), the story of the Good Thief, is read.

This is one of my favorite readings from the Bible. The reason this Gospel is chosen for the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year, the feast day of Christ the King, is that in it Christ mentions his kingdom, a living, viable kingdom, in which the Good Thief will become a member that day!

Why is this “one of my favorites”? Because it was while Jesus was at death’s door, after having already suffered hunger, thirst, the torture of beatings, scourges, insults, being spit upon, and finally being nailed to a cross, that he also received one of his greatest consolations.

Not only was the crowd of soldiers bullying and insulting him, but even one of the dying criminals was jeering at him. But then Jesus hears someone standing up for him. The second of the two criminals told the first that the two of them deserve to die for their crimes, but Jesus hadn’t done anything criminal. He stood up for Jesus, but that wasn’t the best part; that came next.

When all hope was lost, and it was obvious that Jesus was about to die, this “good” criminal asks the craziest, most hopeful question: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” I believe this man had more faith than anyone previously mentioned in the Bible!

He was asking for a spot in the kingdom of a man who was bloodied and naked, fastened to a cross by large iron nails. He wasn’t going anywhere, except to the world of the dead. But this criminal understood Jesus’ teaching of his kingdom.

Perhaps Jesus spoke with him while awaiting trial. Either way, this "bad guy" understood what no one else could imagine. He put his hope and trust in Jesus when there was no hope for Jesus.

Now that is FAITH!

The Good Thief’s name was Dismas.

Pray for me, Dismas, when I struggle in my faith!