2 Sm 5:1-3; Ps 122:1-5; Col 1:12-20; Lk 23:35-43
“Today you will be with me in paradise!”. Now THAT is GOOD NEWS!!
We should take this line seriously on the Feast of Jesus Christ the King of the Universe. By His death and resurrection Jesus has established the Kingdom of God (heaven); it has arrived. This is no hoax. It’s NOT fake news. It’s Here.
Interestingly, this promise of paradise (today!) was made to the ‘good thief’, the one crucified beside Jesus who actually recognized his own guilt and the innocence of Jesus. Everyone else were jeering and cajoling Jesus to save himself and to make something miraculous happen. It seems most people wanted something different to happen. They suspected down deep that this condemnation of an innocent man was not right. They just wanted Jesus to fix the situation himself and to do it right away.
In this political season we are probably a little more wary than usual about big promises of good times to come. But, this promise of paradise has already happened. In strong, peaceful kingdoms the righteous king makes the rules and the subjects follow them. In this case, Jesus is the King and that’s why:
-We don’t have to lock the doors in our cars, houses or businesses because stealing and vandalism are against the king’s law;
-We don’t need anti-virus or spyware for our computers because nobody hacks private info or steals data;
-Political campaigns are never negative or petty because all candidates want to focus in on the real problems and reach collaborative solutions;
-Recreational drugs have no market because most people have meaningful and minimally stressful lives.
-People living in the same neighborhood know each other well and look out for each other.
-Neighbors help each other identify and develop the many spiritual gifts God has given to us and those gifts are directed back out into the community.
-Good, tasty, affordable food is grown locally and available to everyone;
-Elders are excited about sharing their biblically and sacramentally based wisdom with younger generations;
-Young people are confident in God’s mercy and trust in His plan.
If these attributes don’t exactly mirror the world we’re currently living in, maybe we still have some work to do. Like the ‘good thief’, as we recognize the fuller implications of our guilt and repent, we will more fully appreciate the sacrifice and innocence of Jesus. This is the key to living in paradise…today! It’s time to re-evaluate the LAWS and our compliance with them. Advent to the rescue!!