In many Christian denominations, today is the Feast of Christ the King. A feast celebrated near the end of November and just before Advent. November is a month of remembrance. We remember all those who have passed before us. We all want to be remembered in some way. We put our names on tombstones; we donate to causes in our name, Presidents build libraries, we all want to leave our legacy and be remembered. We all have, to some degree, an interest in our ancestry.
In the Gospel used for Christ the King, we use Lk 23:35-43. A vital understanding of the Universal Christ presents itself here. The thief, one who was on a cross with Jesus, had no time left to undo his crimes. The thief has but one simple request of Jesus: a plea to be remembered.
Jesus’ response is equally direct and reassuring: “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Jesus does not say to the man “hurry up and repent, here is a list of 10 things you need to do before you die on the cross along with me” Jesus does not suggest that any more will be required to join him in paradise. Being remembered is enough for salvation at that moment in time.
Christ the King is a celebration, a remembrance of the Universal Christ, and Jesus asked us to remember Him when he said: “Do this in memory of me.”
We celebrate today the reality that all of us make up the Body of Christ, and we look ahead to the coming reign of Christ the King when all will be brought together. In the end, in the eschaton, when Christ enters the fullness of his reign, we will both remember and be remembered.