Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

“He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”” (Luke 23:43.)

Pope Saint Leo the Great comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“Until now, one [thief] was the equal in all things of his companion. He was a robber on the roads and always a danger to the safety of people. Deserving the cross, he suddenly becomes a confessor of Christ. “Remember me, Lord, when you enter into your kingdom.” Then came the gift in which faith itself received a response. Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” This promise surpasses the human condition, because it did not come so much from the wood of a cross as from a throne of power. From that height, he gives a reward to faith. There he abolishes the debt of human transgression, because the “form of God” did not separate itself from the “form of a servant.” Even in the middle of this punishment, both the inviolable divinity and the suffering human nature preserved its own character and its own oneness.

This cross of Christ holds the mystery of its true and prophesied altar. There, through the saving victim, a sacrifice of human nature is celebrated. There the blood of a spotless lamb dissolved the pact of that ancient transgression. There the whole perversity of the devil’s mastery was abolished, while humility triumphed as conqueror over boasting pride. The effect of faith was so swift that one of the two thieves crucified with Christ who believed in the Son of God entered paradise justified.

Who could explain the mystery of such a great gift? Who could describe the power of such a marvelous transformation? In a brief moment of time, the guilt of a longstanding wickedness was abolished. In the middle of the harsh torments of a struggling soul, fastened to the gallows, that thief passes over to Christ, and the grace of Christ gives a crown to him, someone who incurred punishment for his own wickedness.” (Sermon 53 and Sermon 55)

Almighty ever-living God,
Whose will is to restore all things
in Your beloved Son,
the King of the universe,
grant, we pray,
that the whole creation,
set free from slavery,
may render Your majesty service
and ceaselessly proclaim Your praise.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen