Have you ever been bullied, made fun of, insulted or picked on? Yes, it happens doesn’t it? We’ve all had the experience. It’s not a nice experience, but there is some comfort to know that we are in good company. Jesus was made fun of, insulted, spit upon… The soldiers crowned him with thorns and jeered at him, mocking his kingship. And as we heard in our gospel today, even on the cross he was reviled by one of the criminals.
How did Jesus handle insults? Did he return them? Did he show them a display of power to prove them wrong? No, he didn’t need to do that. Jesus could handle all the insults calmly because he knew they weren’t true. He knew who he was, beloved of the Father.
At his baptism a voice from heaven proclaimed, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus was the beloved Son of the Father. He knew that. And nothing anyone said could take that away.
Whenever we are bullied or insulted, there is no need to return insults. Those insults aimed at us are empty. We just need to remember who we are: By our baptism we are adopted, beloved sons and daughters of the Father.
Beloved sons and daughters… That means we are in line for an inheritance. St. Paul reminds us of this in our second reading. He states, “Let us give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.”
It helps if we can imagine ourselves at Calvary when Jesus was crucified. Imagine looking at the crucifixion from a distance when we hear Jesus call to us. Because we have followed him, he says, “Come forward for your inheritance.”
What? An inheritance? Yes, four things.
1) Among the seven statements of Jesus from the cross, he says, “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.” And to the good thief, San Dimas, “This day you will be with me in paradise.”
Even though we have sinned, we are among those whom Jesus forgives. St Paul said today, “in (Jesus) we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Forgiveness is part of our inheritance. To be with Jesus in paradise is part of our inheritance. Wow, what a loving gift!
2) Then from the cross, Jesus says to the Apostle John, and to us, “Behold your mother. Mother, behold your child.” Jesus gives us Mary as part of our inheritance. Wow, what a loving gift!
3) Then from the cross, Jesus says, “I thirst.”
He thirsts that all may be one. He thirsts for justice for all. He thirsts for the hungry to be fed, the thirsty be given drink, and for the poor be cared for. That’s what he states in the Beatitudes. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…” (Matthew 5:6)
Jesus thirsts to be known. Again, at the Last Supper Jesus prayed, “This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:13)
Part of our inheritance is our mission. We are sent forth to work for unity, to do justice and to make known the Lord Jesus. Our inheritance calls us to take action.
4) Finally, Jesus thirsts for all of us to join him in giving ourselves to the Father. On the cross, Jesus proclaimed, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit (Luke 23:46).” Jesus focus was to do his Father’s will. He wants it to be our focus, too. So we say, “into your hands, Father, we commend our spirit; we give ourselves to you.
On this feast of Christ the King, we are reminded that, just as Jesus was crucified on a cross of self-giving love, we too are called to the cross of self-giving. As St. Paul reminds us, “If we have died with Christ, we shall also live with him. If we endure, we shall also reign with him (2 Timothy 2:11-12).”
Four parts of our inheritance:
and reigning with him.
May Christ the King always reign over our hearts.