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Christ the King - 34th Sunday C - Liturgy

SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING

1. Was I There When They Crucified My King?
2. Reigning from a Cross

Greeting (See Second Reading)

The Father has given us a place
in the kingdom of his beloved Son.
In him we gain our freedom,
the forgiveness of our sins.
May Jesus the Lord be with you. R/ And also with you.


Introduction by the Celebrant

1. Was I There When They Crucified My King?

What a King we have! “He saved others, let him save himself,” jeered the religious leaders of the people. A King, mocked, and dying on a cross for the sake of saving people. Even from the cross he told a repentant bandit, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Hanging there with his arms wide-open, he embraced the whole world in a gesture of love and reconciliation. This is the King we acclaim today in this Eucharist and in life.

2. Reigning from a Cross

Today we close the Church Year with the solemnity of Christ the King. Throughout this year we have seen before our eyes the birth, the life, the message, the death and the resurrection of Jesus. Today’s liturgy sums up some key aspects of why he came among people. He died on the cross for us to show us all the depth of God’s love, his boundless mercy on sinners, the promise of paradise to the crucified criminal, the grace of God that accepts us as brothers and sisters of Jesus and the Father’s children and heirs. With Jesus we now thank the Father for bringing us forgiveness and life.

Penitential Act

1. Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?

Jesus was nowhere more our king
than when on the cross he overcame sin and death.
Let us ask our Lord to remember us in his kingdom.
(pause)
Jesus, our Lord and King,
by your humiliation you led us
to the joy and glory of paradise:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Jesus Christ, our Lord and King,
by your suffering you brought us
happiness without end:
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.

Jesus, our Lord and King,
by your death you gave us life
and light and reconciliation:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Have mercy on us, Lord,
give us the peace of your pardon.
Keep us one with you in joys and sorrows,
and lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.

2. Reigning from a Cross

We ask the Lord to forgive us
because we have not always answered his love.
(pause)
Lord Jesus, King of mercy,
we thank you for bringing us forgiveness:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Jesus Christ, king of truth and life,
we thank you for making our lives
meaningful and rich and eternal:
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, king of love and peace
we thank you for the grace
of showing us the way to the Father:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Let us feel your endless mercy, Lord,
make it overflow on our brothers and sisters,
and lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.

Opening Prayer

Let us pray that all God’s people
may become more like Christ our King
(pause)
God our Father, lover of people,
you make us recognize our King
in Jesus crowned with thorns
and enthroned on a cross,
as our leader without army or might.
With him make us choose
love as our only power
and humble service as our only greatness.
May this be the way his kingdom grows among us,
until you lead us to your lasting joy.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.

First Reading: A King after God’s Own Heart

The people want David to be their king and shepherd. He is at the same time “of their own flesh and blood” and close to God too. In this he is a pale image of Jesus.

Reading 1: 2 Sm 5:1-3

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: Ps 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5

R. (cf. 1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
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.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house 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.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Second Reading: We Belong in the Kingdom of Jesus

With Paul, we give thanks to the Father that we have a place in the kingdom of Jesus, thanks to his death on the cross.

Reading 2: Col 1:12-20

Brothers and sisters:
Let us give thanks to the Father,
who has made you fit to share
in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.
He delivered us from the power of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.
For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;
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
through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.

Alleluia: Mk 11:9, 10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: Sure of the Final Victory

The destruction of the Temple, calamities and persecution are images of the destruction of the old order and the beginning of a new one. Yet the person who perseveres in faith and hope has nothing to fear; such a one will live in the Lord.

Gospel: A Crucified King

By his death on the cross, Jesus became not only the King of the Jews but also the king of everyone who accepts him, even of outcasts. But people have to make a choice, for or against him.

Gospel: Lk 23:35-43

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."

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,
"Are you not the Christ?
Save yourself and us."
The other, however, rebuking him, 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."
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."

Intercessions

Let us pray to our Lord Jesus Christ that his kingdom may grow among us, and let us say: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
– Christ came as the Savior of all. That his kingdom may come to those who have lost the way to God and to people, let us pray: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
– Christ reconciled heaven and earth. That his kingdom may come through peace among nations, let us pray: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
– Christ is the head of the Church. That his kingdom may come through the unity of all Christians, let us pray: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
– Christ gave a place in his kingdom to sinners, to the poor, to those who suffer. That his kingdom may grow among the weak and the voiceless of our day, let us pray: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
– Christ is the first to rise from the dead. That his kingdom may come with its joy to all our beloved ones who have died: let us pray: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
– Christ is alive in our communities. That his kingdom may grow through our dedication and service, let us pray: R/ Lord, your kingdom come.
Lord Jesus, make us into a people that brings the warmth of your justice and love to everyone on earth, that your kingdom may grow among us now and for ever. R/ Amen.

Prayer over the Gifts

Almighty Creator and Father
of all that is and lives,
show us your living presence
in your Son Jesus Christ.
By the power of his Holy Spirit
sustain our hope
and commit us generously
to build up a city and a kingdom
that is human, peaceful, just and fraternal,
as an offering that pleases you,
our God for ever and ever. R/ Amen.

Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer

Let us give thanks to God our Father, who has given us a place in the kingdom of his beloved Son.

Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer

As sons and daughters of the Father in heaven,
we pray with Jesus,
who has freed us from sin,
that God’s kingdom may come to all: R/ Our Father...

Deliver Us

Deliver us, Lord, from every evil
and grant us your peace,
which continues to escape us.
Let it be a peace based
on your truth and justice, on dignity,
on serving love for you
and for those around us.
Help us to prepare in joy and hope
for the firm coming among all
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. R/ For the kingdom...

Invitation to Communion

This is Jesus, the Lamb of God,
who became our peace and reconciliation
by his death on the cross,
and became the king of all
by his glorious resurrection.
Happy are we to be called
to his table and his kingdom. R/ Lord, I am not worthy...

Prayer after Communion

Lord, mighty God,
let the bread of life of your Son sustain us
and his cup be our joy and hope
in carrying out the task entrusted to us
of bringing his kingdom to a good end.
Help us to give each person their due
in respect, dignity and justice.
Turn us into makers of peace
and make our love generous and self-effacing
in the service of all,
that Jesus Christ may be our Lord and King
now and for ever. R/ Amen.

Blessing

The Kingdom of God is not yet complete.
But it is among us and it keeps growing
when we try to live like Jesus
and to bring his justice and love to all
by our words and deeds
and by the gift of ourselves.
May God bless you for this task:
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.

Let us go in peace
to love and serve the Lord in people.
R/ Thanks be to God.

Commentary

What does it mean to reign? To declare oneself subject of a king means to promise obedience; but the word obey really means to listen. Some of us call the person we love “my king” or “my queen.” It is a way of stating who has our heart and our feelings. It is a way of expressing who we obey, that is to say, to whom we listen.
There are some people who are reluctant to call Christ a King, because to them it seems to be a triumphal and dominant title in contrast with his message of peace and justice. Perhaps in those cases it would be good to go back to the concept of obedience, of reign, as an affirmation of whom we love and listen to, whom we follow and obey. To say that Christ is King is to recognize that the living Christ, the Christ who gives us life from the cross, is the Christ we love, listen to, follow, and obey. The recognition of this Christ is a confession that only Christ has a kingdom of true life that conquers all darkness and death around us, that only Christ has a reign of peace, and only he reconciles all things in himself, “making peace by the blood of his cross.”
Christ is not a storybook king, but a real one. He is the only one who can reign in minds and in hearts. He is the only one who can attract the obedience of people who, in following him, may build a kingdom of peace and reconciliation.

Points to Ponder

Who controls your life? Who is most important to you?
What do you think of Christ as a king?
What actions of reconciliation can you start as your way of contributing to the building of a kingdom of peace?