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In Jesus we gain our freedom and the forgiveness of all our sins

By Fr Patrick McCafferty

For many Christians, the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year is celebrated as the Feast of Christ the King.

This year, we hear proclaimed St Luke's account of the penitent thief's exchange with the crucified Lord: "Jesus, remember me in your Kingdom"; "Truly, this day, you will be with me in Paradise (Cf. Luke 23:35-43)."

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the almighty lord of heaven and earth. "All things in heaven and on earth: everything visible and everything invisible, Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers - all things were created through Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16)."

Yet, we do not find him among the high and mighty of the world - he who will sit in judgement over all of them.

He reigns from the cross. He takes his place among criminals and with the most despised.

He enters into the deepest, darkest places of human anguish and pain, to establish his kingdom of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love and peace. Where there is the most profound absence of hope and meaning, he becomes the presence of utter and infinite love.

He instantly transforms the last ignominious moments of a robber's life of crime into an eternal future in paradise.

The good thief, a broken man, recognises the true kingship of Jesus - that is not "of this world (Jn 18:36)" - but is established rather to bring about the healing and saving reign of God, triumphing over all that is fallen and wounded, in creation and in humanity itself. Through Jesus Christ, "we give thanks to the Father who has made it possible for us to join the saints and with them to inherit the light".

Jesus has taken us out of the power of darkness. In him, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.

All perfection is found in him and he reconciles all things, in heaven and on earth, "making peace by the Blood of His Cross (Cf. Colossians 1:12-20)."

Let us not fail in our service of the king of kings. For, "what kind of love would not feel the need to speak of the Beloved, to point Him out, to make Him known? … There is nothing more precious which we can give to others (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium - The Joy of the Gospel 264)."

Belfast Telegraph


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