Dear brothers and sisters,
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity Or Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King. This Solemnity marks the end of the liturgical year. But if we remember the gospel from last Sunday we notice that the end of the liturgical year speaks about the end of the world. Sometimes when we think about the end of the world immediately we imagine something catastrophic like in a movie. If we want have the right image about the end of the world we should listen carefully today's gospel.
What does today's gospel speak about? For the Solemnity Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King the Church chose the most humiliating moment during the live of Jesus. The moment when Jesus was crucified, humiliated, dishonoured, ridiculed. "He saved others, they said let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One". Even in this difficult moment, the moment of death, the leaders humiliated Jesus. How does Jesus respond? No, we haven't got the answer. We can find only one sentence of Jesus'. When one of the criminals hanging there says to Jesus: "Remember me when you come into your kingdom". In this particularly difficult moment, the moment of death, Jesus show us Who he is. Jesus' answer is: "I promise you, today you will be with me in paradise". At this point Jesus teaches us that the final moment of our life is a good time for conversion. In an instant when we can change our life. But we are free to choose, we can follow Jesus but this is not mandatory. One of the other criminals who was crucified with Jesus, hanging there, abused him. "Are you not the Christ? he said. 'Save yourself and us as well". Even at the moment of death he refused conversion.
This gospel account show us how we have to be prepare for our death. Sometimes I find that to speak about death and the end of the world is not very popular. There is silence on this topic not only in the church but in our life as well. We live for today and we don't think about the future. What will happen to us after our life ends? That is most important question in our faith. That is the question which we must confront today on the feast of the Solemnity Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King. If I recognized Jesus as King of my life even in the most difficult moment of my life, like moment of death, I can follow Jesus. Thousands of thousands of Christian who lived before us knew this and today we call them martyrs.
Why on this day of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King we speak about death and the end of the world? The answer is a paradox being so easy and so difficult at same time. For us, for Christians the end of the world and death is not the end, every Sunday when we profess our faith we repeat: "We look for the resurrection of the dead". Death is not the last moment in our life the last will be resurrection and everlasting life with Christ.
But sometimes we Christians profess our faith without thinking about what we are saying. We only repeat something familiar to us without being the conscious of what the text of the Credo is saying or don't believe anymore in the resurrection. But this situation is nothing new for example Saint Paul wrote to Corinthians: "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is empty, and or belief comes to nothing".
Today's solemnity is for us the opportunity to renew our faith. How do that? We have two ways for renewal of our faith: Adoration and Prayer. At this point we need go back in the beginning of today's gospel. The first sentence teaches us to venerate Jesus. "The people stayed there before the cross watching Jesus". Today we need to recognize Jesus on the Cross as our master and our King. That is our adoration and this adoration is the starting point for prayer. In today's gospel we can see the one criminal who prays and teaches how we can pray: "Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom".
These two ways are mandatory for us: adoration and prayer because they build our faith.