“WHEN I AM LIFTED FROM THE EARTH, I SHALL DRAW ALL PEOPLE TO MYSELF” (John 12:32)
????2 Sam 5:1-3; Psalm 122:1-2, 4-5 (R.v.1); Col 1:12-20; Luke 23:35-43
????“WHEN I AM LIFTED FROM THE EARTH, I SHALL DRAW ALL PEOPLE TO MYSELF” (John 12:32)
Today is very unique in the life of the Church. This is because of the tripartite nature of the liturgical celebration.
????????Firstly, it is the last Sunday in the Churchs Liturgical Year and it bears the mark of the unmerited promise of paradise to anyone who repents and comes back to Christ.
????????Secondly, it is the Solemnity of Christ, the King of the Universe. The First Reading (2 Sam 5:1-3) would present David as a prototype of a shepherd that Israel desires but it is the Second Reading (Col 1:12-20) that would present Christ as that King and then go ahead to describe the significance of his coming. In the Gospel, the soldiers, though trying to mock Christ, would indeed be proclaiming his real identity and mission.
????????Finally, today marks the universal end of the Churchs Year of Mercy in which we were called to embrace the merciful love of the Father.
During his ministry on earth, Jesus tried to translate God’s love in a way we all can understand. Many came to be converted directly through his teachings while many others were touched by miracles. However, there are certain symbolic events that drew more people to him especially towards the end of his earthly ministry and even after that. He promised himself, “when I am lifted from the earth, I shall draw all people to myself” (John 12:32).
At the cross, Jesus drew more people to himself. It is not the case that all the people that were drawn to him believed in him and sympathised with him but even some of the people that went to mock him got converted (cf. Luke 23:47). As we also read in today’s Gospel, one of the thieves received God’s love on the cross. The cross thus becomes a glorified wood. Hence we would make a boast with St. Paul in Gal 6:14, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world is crucified to me and I to the world.”
There is also the case of the Ascension which was necessary so that the Holy Spirit, the Advocate would come at Pentecost to make clearer to them all that Christ taught, and so that he can prepare a place for us since when he is lifted up from the earth, he will draw all men to himself.
The Christ, the King
When Jesus mounted the young ass and rode triumphantly into Jerusalem (Matt 21:2), his kingship became manifest to the whole public and so they began to sing, Hosanna Filio David! This stirred the whole city of Jerusalem and people came out to watch what was going on.
Expectedly, among this number that came out to watch would include those who believe in Christ’s teaching and have been following him about (his followers), those who have been waiting for a messiah that will save them from the imperial rulership of the Romans (the Zealots), those who feel that Christ is overstepping his boundaries in the religious affairs of the society (the Pharisees and Scribes) and of course, those guarding the city gates against treason (Roman agents).
They came with different intentions. But, whatever their initial mission is, what concerns us here is the outcome of their presence they had an encounter with Christ.
At the Eucharistic procession, the same event of encountering Christ is replayed. While the Catholics express their faith in the kingship of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, many people even outside the Catholic Church are drawn towards the event. And this is enough goal for Christ who is lifted up from the earth to draw all men to himself. The How of that encounter is left to Christ who ministers to souls in different ways.
We pray that, at this end of the Churchs Liturgical Year and the Year of Mercy, the Mercy and love of God may draw us us to encounter him daily so that we may shine out in the world, that others may see in us, a light to enlighten their spiritual darkness and a hope to lift their downtrodden hearts. Amen.
Have a glorifed Sunday. It is well with you.