THIRTY-FOURTH SUNDAY (CHRIST THE KING) – CYCLE C
BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ 2 SAMUEL 5:1-3 FIRST READING
(“You shall shepherd my people Israel…”)
- Who came to David and what did they say to him? 2 Samuel 5:1
- Where was David? If you can locate this place on a bible map, give location. 2 Samuel 5:1
- Who led the Israelites out and brought them back? 2 Samuel 5:2
- Who did the tribes of Israel say spoke to David and what did he say to him? 2 Samuel 5:2, Ezekiel 34:23-24
Personal – Who, then, do you think appoints those to shepherd the people? Are you following the One whom God has appointed King of kings for all times?
- To whom was David speaking? 2 Samuel 24:17
Personal – How does God speak to you and how do you speak to him as David did?
- What will happen to the shepherd God has appointed that does not listen and submit to the words of God? Zechariah 11:17 and Jeremiah 25:34-36
- Who is our Great Shepherd? Read and write out the following scriptures:
John 10:6-7, 11
- Who was made king of Israel? With whom did the king make an agreement before and who anointed him? 2 Samuel 5:3
Personal – What do you see as the difference between a good shepherd, a good king, and a bad king? What are you?
THIRD DAY READ COLOSSIANS 1:12-20 SECOND READING
(“Through him we have redemption, the forgiveness for our sins.”)
- For what are we to give thanks to the Father? Colossians 1:12
- What does it mean “the saints in light” and who is the light? John 8:12
- Who rescued us and from whom did he rescue us? Colossians 1:13
- Who is the power of darkness? Acts 26:18
- When he rescued us, where did he bring us? Colossians 1:13
- What do we receive through Jesus? Colossians 1:14, 1 Peter 2:9
Personal – Have you been redeemed? Have you asked the Lord to cleanse you and make you whole? Reread verse 14. This is a promise from God. Write out this verse and meditate on it.
- Who is the image of our God we cannot see and who is the first-born of all creatures? Colossians 1:15
- Read and write out:
Personal – How do you see God the Father? How has Jesus revealed him to you personally? Is he holding a rod ready to punish you or is he gentle, kind and forgiving? As you see Jesus, you see the Father.
- What was created in him and where was it created? Colossians 1:16, 1 Corinthians 8:6
- For what reason was all created? Colossians 1:16
- How does everything continue its being? Colossians 1:17
- Who began the church and who is the head of it? Ephesians 1:22, Revelation 1:5, Colossians 1:18
- Onto whom did Christ pass this headship? Matthew 16:18
- How have we been reconciled with the Father? Colossians 1:19-20
Personal – Have you allowed Jesus to wash you with his blood and bring you to peace with the Father? What changes can you see in your life since you have done this?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 23:35-43 GOSPEL
(“This is the King of the Jews”)
- Who stood there watching? Who was jeering at Jesus, and what were they saying? Luke 23:35
- Was there anyone else making fun of Jesus? What did they offer him, and what were they telling him to do?
Personal – Why do you think Jesus did not come down off the cross and save himself from this agonizing death? Luke 22:42
- Was it the Father’s will that Jesus, his only begotten Son, die on the cross and why?
Read and write out:
1 Timothy 2:4
- If Jesus was obedient to the Father and hung on the cross and suffered from the weight of our sins in order to save us, what must we do? John 1:12, Revelation 3:20
- How are we to follow Jesus’ example? Matthew 16:24-25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24
- Was it through any effort of our own that we have been saved? Titus 3:4-5
- What was the inscription written over Jesus’ head? Luke 23:38
Personal – How have you made Jesus your King of Kings and Lord of Lords? 1 Timothy 1:17, Revelation 17:14, Revelation 19:16
- What did the one criminal say to Jesus in Luke 23:39?
- About whom was he concerned? Luke 23:39
- What did the other criminal do and say? Luke 23:40-41
Personal – In what way are you like either one of the criminals? Who was denying himself and how do you deny yourself?
- What did he say to Jesus in verse 42 of Luke 23 and what was Jesus’ reply?
- Read Matthew 25:33-34, 41. How can this be compared to Luke 23:39-40?
Personal – Are you the one on the left or the right? In what ways have you denied yourself this week for your spouse, children, friends, neighbor, business associates, or school friends?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 122:1-5
(“Give thanks to the name of the Lord.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 122:1-5.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
2 SAMUEL 5:1-3
David was finally anointed king over all Israel, and this was a fulfillment of God’s promise. He first was anointed king in private by Samuel (1 Samuel 16:13). David was just a teenager then and spent many years in the service of King Saul. David was thirty years old when he was crowned King of Judah, which was the southern half of the Promised Land (2 Samuel 2:4). He was crowned king of the whole country at the age of thirty-seven and reigned for forty years.
When David was young and an outlaw, his future looked very bleak, but God’s promise to make him king was now fulfilled. David had to wait very patiently for God’s promise to be fulfilled, even though he had been promised the kingship many years earlier. We need to reflect on the patience and humility that David practiced in his long wait. He went on to become a great king, warrior, poet, singer, musician, writer and spiritual leader of his people. David was anointed by God and he knew that in time, God’s time, the plan would come into being.
David’s time of waiting prepared him for the very important task of being the good shepherd that his country needed. We too need to wait on the Lord and trust that he will direct us in our walk through the kingdom. David was a leader because he was a follower of God. Later David took his eyes off of God and he fell into great sin. David repented and saw how puny his kingdom was next to God’s and he came back and received God’s gift of grace and forgiveness. We too can be like David; we can all come back to God’s holy light by repenting and realizing that God is our only good shepherd and he will never fail to go out and save the lost sheep. Let us follow David’s example and let our baptismal anointing be the beginning of our eternal life with the “Good Shepherd,” Jesus, who will set us all free forever (John 8:32).
Paul was bringing to light a heresy in the Colossian church that was the beginning of Gnosticism. The word “Gnosticism” means knowledge and the word “heresy” means a teaching contrary to true doctrine. The Gnostic heresy attacked Christianity in several ways. It held that important secret knowledge was to be kept from most believers, and it taught that the body is evil. Paul responded to this heresy by stating that Jesus chose to dwell in a human body. This heresy denied the humanity of Christ and Paul insisted that in Jesus we see one who is fully alive, human and good.
Gnosticism was beginning to get known and it could easily sway believers’ minds that did not know God’s will through the teachings of the church. We see many signs of this heresy still lingering on in our church. Today, as in the times of Paul, the best way a church can remain true to the teachings of the Lord is through personal study and church teachings. Paul lists five benefits that Jesus gave us through his death on the cross. He made us to be part of his kingdom. He rescued us from Satan and made us his children. He brought us into his eternal kingdom (Eph 2:5-6).
The Colossian church was caught up in believing that all matter is basically evil. They believed that God, being a spirit which is all good, would never come to earth as a true human being (being human is part of matter). They believed that Christ did not make the world, because they believed God would not create anything that was evil. They believed that special and secret knowledge was the only way people could find God. Paul told them that only Christ has the power to save. Paul told them that Jesus is not only equal to God (Phil 2:6), he is God (John 10:30).
We need to understand that Paul is combatting a heresy that tries to put knowledge above the saving aspects of God. We, like the Colossians, must believe that Jesus Christ is God and not simply some great prophet. Our faith will be hollow, misdirected, and meaningless if we see Jesus as anything less than God.
In this passage, Jesus is placed on the cross; and even in his own incredible pain, he seeks to comfort and to forgive others. The place where Jesus was led to be crucified was called “Golgotha” which means “the skull.” This was a small hill just outside of the city walls, alongside a main road. The Romans made the execution a public display as an example of what happens to those who defy Roman law. It is ironic that Jesus was asked by James and John for the places of honor next to him in his Kingdom (Mark 10:35-39). Now that Jesus was preparing to enter his Kingdom through his crucifixion, the places on his left and right were to be taken by dying, convicted criminals. This is an incredible example for all of us that Jesus’ death was for all men, not just a selected few. We must take Jesus’ words to his two power-hungry disciples, to our own hearts and remember that anyone who wants to be close to Jesus must be prepared to suffer and die as he did. The only way to paradise is through the cross. Even as he hung there dying in agony, Jesus was asking his Father to “forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” We need to reflect on those words, especially with what is going on in today’s world.
Do we really understand how horrible sin is to God? Do we really understand how horrible it is when we let others starve, go homeless, or we fail to clothe the naked? Do we really understand when we turn our backs on the old, the lonely, the imprisoned, the mentally ill? Do we really understand how horrible it is when we cause others to live in fear, and when we fail to love? Jesus understands that we don’t really understand our own cruelty and he shows us the real reason why he died for all of us. He freed us from the deathhold that Satan had on us and now, in faith, we can choose to love, choose to make all men free, and choose to forgive. God tells us that if we accept his son, we will live forever (John 3:16).
Jesus died for us and forgave us our sins. We must also forgive others as he has forgiven us (Matt 6:15). Let us be like the good thief (Dismas) on Jesus’ right, and say, “Lord, will you remember me in your Kingdom?” He will say to us as surely as he said to Dismas, “Believe in me and you too shall be with me in Paradise.” Jesus is the dawn that breaks into the darkness of sin and gives us the light eternal.
In the first reading, we saw David being patient and humbly waiting to be crowned King in God’s time. In the second reading, Paul is telling the Colossians that salvation is a person named Jesus, not some intellectual doctrine. The Gospel shows us that even as he was dying, Jesus was forgiving those who hurt him.
Let us look at the people and situations around us and specifically say, “Father, forgive so and so for what he or she is doing to me.” Apply this to family, friends, boss, fellow workers, etc.