Remember Me

LECTIO DIVINA
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (C)
20 November 2016

PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT by St. Anthony of Padua

O God, send forth your Holy Spirit into my heart that I may perceive, into my mind that I may remember, and into my soul that I may meditate. Inspire me to speak with piety, holiness, tenderness and mercy. Teach, guide and direct my thoughts and senses from beginning to end. May your grace ever help and correct me, and may I be strengthened now with wisdom from on high, for the sake of your infinite mercy. Amen.

1. LECTIO. What does the Biblical text say?

Luke 23:35–43

35 The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.” 36 Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine 37 they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” 38 Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

39 Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” 40 The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? 41 And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (NAB)

35 And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!”
36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”
38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”

39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
(NRSV)

35 Ang mga tao nama’y nakatayo roon at nanonood, habang si Jesus ay kinukutya ng mga pinuno ng bayan. Sinabi nila, “Iniligtas niya ang iba; iligtas niya ngayon ang kanyang sarili kung siya nga ang Cristo na hinirang ng Diyos!” 36 Nilait din siya ng mga kawal. Nilapitan siya ng isa at inalok ng maasim na alak, 37 kasabay ng ganitong panunuya, “Kung ikaw nga ang Hari ng mga Judio, iligtas mo ang iyong sarili.” 38 Mayroon ding nakasulat sa kanyang ulunan, “Ito ang Hari ng mga Judio.”

39 Tinuya rin siya ng isa sa mga salaring nakapako sa tabi niya, “Hindi ba ikaw ang Cristo? Iligtas mo ang iyong sarili at pati na rin kami.” 40 Ngunit pinagsabihan naman ito ng kanyang kasama, “Wala ka na bang takot sa Diyos? Ikaw ay pinaparusahan ding tulad niya! 41 Tama lamang na tayo’y parusahan nang ganito dahil sa ating mga ginawa; ngunit ang taong ito’y walang ginawang masama.” 42 At sinabi pa nito, “Jesus, alalahanin mo ako kapag naghahari ka na.”
43 Sumagot si Jesus, “Sinasabi ko sa iyo, isasama kita ngayon sa Paraiso.”
(Magandang Balita Biblia)

2. MEDITATIO. What does the Lord say in His Word?

Some insights on the Word. “REMEMBER ME WHEN YOU COME INTO YOUR KINGDOM”

This text that we have read narrates details while Jesus was hanging on the cross. At this point, he had just lost everything he had, for even his garments have been divided by those who crucified him. As if being crucified was not painful enough, Jesus finds himself sneered at by the rulers, jeered at by the soldiers, and reviled by one of the criminals at his side. Two titles of Jesus are mentioned in the narrative: Messiah (Christ) and King. If he were Messiah and King, let him save himself! This was the argument of the threefold mockery that he received from all over. The inscription that was above him added insult to injury: “This is the King of the Jews.”

The first part of the text—even up to the words of derision from one of his co-crucified is painful to read. The man who had ministered in the towns of Galilee, who preached and did miracles on the road to Jerusalem and who spent the past days teaching at the Temple now hangs and receives all these insults. They ridiculed Jesus’ kingship for they did not know who he really was, as in crucifying him “they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). This text is likewise painful to read because we know who Jesus was: he who was introduced in this gospel as “Son of the Most High,” he who would be given “the throne of David his father,” he who “will rule the house of Jacob forever,” and of whose “kingdom there will be no end” (1:32–33). The angel of the Lord who appeared at Jesus’ birth proclaimed him as “Messiah and Lord” (2:11). This scene of the crucifixion is definitely not a fitting ending to the hopeful beginning of Luke’s gospel.

But we see that those gathered around Jesus in this unfortunate state continued to cling to the hypothesis of his kingship—even if they meant to insult him: “If you are king of the Jews…” Jesus saw that this glory coming albeit in a manner that is incomprehensible and absurd, for three times he had predicted his passion: that he “must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised” (Luke 9:22).

We see a bright spot when we hear the other co-crucified rebuke the criminal who insulted Jesus. He acknowledges his guilt and that of the other criminal and declares that they were deserving of the condemnation, a payment for their crimes. He contrasts their guilt to the innocence of Jesus. The “good criminal” declares Jesus to be innocent—as did Pilate, three times throughout the trial (Luke 23:4,14,22) and as will the Centurion at the death of Jesus (Luke 23:47). This good man also affirms the kingship of Jesus: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” This was a prayer of faith, for not only did he refer to Jesus having a kingdom, but also that the kingdom was where Jesus was about to go. The response of Jesus was more than what he asked for! He asked merely to be remembered, but Jesus emphatically (“Amen…”) assures him, “you will be with me in Paradise”—today!

In these words of Jesus we see the greatest attribute of a king: magnanimity, or the quality of being very generous or forgiving, especially toward somebody who is less powerful. We have seen this as Jesus was crucified, when he asked the Father to “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” In Jesus we experience the irony of somebody suffering who never loses his compassion for others.

This is the King that we have, a King of Mercy. It is fitting that we end this Jubilee Year of Mercy celebrating this eminent feature of Jesus our King.

Questions for meditation:

1. What does the kingship of Jesus mean for me? What effect does it have in my life?
2. Has the Jubilee Year made me more like Jesus in being merciful and kind? What must I do now after it has solemnly closed?

3. ORATIO. What do we say to the Lord, motivated by His Word?

This is the time for invocation. Prayer is responding to God after having listened to him. It is our assent to his will and his plan for us. Saint Augustine says, “Your prayer is talking to God. When you read Sacred Scripture, God speaks to you; when you pray, you speak to God.” We spend about 5 minutes in silence lifting our words to God.

After our moment of silence, we shall altogether say Psalm 24:

1 The earth is the Lord’s and all it holds,
the world and those who dwell in it.
2 For he founded it on the seas,
established it over the rivers.
3 Who may go up the mountain of the Lord?
Who can stand in his holy place?
4 “The clean of hand and pure of heart,
who has not given his soul to useless things,
what is vain.
5 He will receive blessings from the Lord,
and justice from his saving God.
6 Such is the generation that seeks him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.”
7 Lift up your heads, O gates;
be lifted, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may enter.
8 Who is this king of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in war.
9 Lift up your heads, O gates;
rise up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may enter.
10 Who is this king of glory?
The Lord of hosts, he is the king of glory.

4. CONTEMPLATIO. What conversion is asked for by the contemplation of the Lord?

Having lifted our prayers to the Lord, we simply rest in His presence. He has used his Word to invite us to accept His transforming embrace. Let his words linger, ever now as we feel him in his wordless, quiet presence. Let the rest of our week, especially those moments that we choose to spend in silence, be a time to simply enjoy the experience of being in the presence of God.

[fa class=”fa fa-file-pdf-o teal”] Christ The King Lectio Divina (C)
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Fr. Joel N. Camaya, SDB
SALESIANS OF DON BOSCO
Philippines – North Province