Welcome Back to Banquet of the Word!
Our mission is simple:
We want to help everyone in “pew-land” get more out of mass.
Because it’s fun to feel smart about scripture.
Readings can be found in full by clicking here.
Welcome Back and Happy “New Year’s Eve”! That’s right, we’re at the end of the Church Year today – the Feast of Christ the King. The end of cycle C readings (goodbye, Luke). Next week we begin cycle A readings (hello, Matthew). Next week is also the 1st week of Advent (goodbye green robes, hello purple and…”rose” robes).
Fun fact #1:
In the Old Testament, Israel had a lot of kings. Most of them were after the kingdom divided. But there were 3 who reigned before the divide. An easy way to remember the order of the first 3 Kings is “S-D-S.” Or Saul-David-Solomon. This mnemonic comes in handy on days like this, when King David is in the readings and you want to know “where in the bible are we?
1st Reading: 2 Samuel 5:1-3
(On Sundays in Ordinary Time, the 1st Reading is Old Testament.
It always links to the Gospel.)
1 Samuel and 2 Samuel set up the great and dramatic Old Testament story of David. It is appropriate that on a feast about kingship – we recall David’s anointing as King. David – despite his numerous sins and shortcomings – prefigures Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. A bit on being anointed:
- Jesus, the Good Shepherd, was anointed by John the Baptist in the Jordan. God said, “This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.” Jesus guides and unites His children.
- David, also a shepherd, was anointed by Samuel in the Old Testament. David was chosen to be the King of Israel. He was to guide and unite the people.
In the scene today, the tribes anoint David to be King for 3 reasons:
- David is “one of them” – bone of their bone, flesh of their flesh:”In those days, all the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said: “Here we are, your bone and your flesh.”
- David protected them. He lead them as a military leader: “In days past, when Saul was our king, it was you who led the Israelites out and brought them back.”
- Because God said so (always a good reason): “And the LORD said to you, ‘You shall shepherd my people Israel and shall be commander of Israel.’”
In those days, all the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said:
“Here we are, your bone and your flesh.
In days past, when Saul was our king,
it was you who led the Israelites out and brought them back.
And the LORD said to you,
‘You shall shepherd my people Israel
and shall be commander of Israel.'”
When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron,
King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD,
and they anointed him king of Israel.
Responsorial Psalm 122
(The Psalm is a “response” to what we heard in the 1st Reading)
“Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.”
Picture David’s journey to Jerusalem and the joy that fills the hearts of the people:
I rejoiced because they said to me, “We will go up to the house of the LORD.” And now we have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, built as a city with compact unity. To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD.
According to the decree for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. In it are set up judgment seats, seats for the house of David.
Reading 2 COL 1:12-20
(In Ordinary Time, this reading is usually one of Paul’s letters. It speaks to how the early church spread the Word of Christ after his passion, death and resurrection).
Fun fact #2:
The heresy floating around Colossae in the 2nd reading is called Gnostocism. Gnostics believed everything spiritual was good, and that everything about the body, everything material (that you could touch), was bad.
This reading makes so much more sense when you know the fun fact above. Now you can clearly see what Paul is doing. He’s talking to the Colossians who are confused about what to believe – and he’s driving a point home. What is it?
That Jesus Christ is 100% divine and 100% human. He’s “both – and.” Yes He did have a body. Yes He is the “head” of the Church on Earth. He is also God. Therefore we cannot reject the body nor believe in a faith that does.
A divine mystery indeed.
At the beginning, Paul gives thanks. Underlined words communicate “body” or “physical things.”
Brothers and sisters:
Let us give thanks to the Father…He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn [implies being born] of all creation.
For in him were created all things [including bodies] in heaven and on earth, the visible [body] and the invisible [soul], whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers [e.g kings]; all things were created through him and for him.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross (his body) through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.
Gospel LK 23:35-43
The Gospel is the highest point of the Liturgy of the Word. That’s why we stand.
We are about to hear from – and be instructed by – Christ Himself.
It may give us pause to consider that, on the glorious Feast of Christ the King, our gospel is such a seemingly somber one. It’s not “joyful” in the way we think of joyful, celebratory moments. It’s not the resurrection. Jesus doesn’t heal the blind. It’s not his baptism, the transfiguration, or the feeding of the 5,000.
It’s the crucifixion.
The cross is Christ’s earthly throne. That’s right, it is the seat of our King of the Universe. It is the last place he rests during his earthly life. It is the end of his journey. He came into the world – as a human – to die on this wooden cross. So how can it be a throne?
These wooden beams are His throne because the act he performs saves the world. There, He redeems all mankind.
His death on the cross gives birth to the Church. To the sacraments. With His death, the doors of Heaven open for us.
It is yet another contradicting image, and Jesus is good at contradictions, isn’t he?
Love your enemy. Eat with sinners. Embrace your suffering, for it brings you closer to me, not farther away.
A Christian blogger wrote beautifully about the second coming and the cross as throne:
“The day is surely coming when every man shall have heard, when every man’s heart shall have been touched, when every man’s mind shall have been convinced, when every man’s will shall have caught fire from on high.
Then shall be the new ending. All earth and heaven shall be caught up in the glory of it. Then again from the imperishable throne of His Cross, Christ the King shall cry, over land and sea, “It is finished,–the Kingdom is complete!”
And all the redeemed shall echo back, “It is finished,–the whole world has come to Christ.” And the angelic choirs of all heaven shall cry, “It is finished!”
Today we hear the soldiers sneer at Jesus and nearly “command” him to “save himself.” Isn’t that fascinating? They told Jesus to save himself.
How can someone save himself from death? Who has that kind of power? Only God. It begs the question, did they have an inkling in their hearts that he just might be who he said he was? Or were they truly mocking him and as clueless as they seem?
We don’t know.
The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
“If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.”
We also hear the conversation between the criminals on the cross. One will be saved, one will not. The first criminal has no faith and asks Jesus to essentially “do some magic.”
“Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.”
But the other criminal had one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit – Fear of God:
“The other, however, rebuking him (the other criminal), said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.”
Jesus rewards the criminal whose heart is made of flesh, not stone:
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Today’s all about kingship. From David in the Old Testament to Jesus in the New Testament, we see a snippet of Kingship – of God’s anointed ones – throughout salvation history.
Give thanks today and ask Jesus to be the King of your heart today, and ask Him to help you grow more with him as we enter Advent next week.
Thank you for following Banquet of the Word! Please share and invite others to follow along with us throughout the Advent season. God bless you all, and Happy Thanksgiving!