King Of Thieves? A Meditation on the Gospel for the Feast of Christ the King

Jesus Christ is King of Thieves, though he never stole. He is savior of sinners though he himself never sinned.

In the Gospel for today’s feast we have an image for the Church. We like to think of more pleasant images such as the Church being the Bride of Christ or the Body of Christ. Today’s image is less exalted and more humbling to be sure but it is an image just the same: The Church is Christ, crucified between two thieves. Yes, this is the Church too. Somehow we are all thieves. The fact is, we are all sinners and we have all used the gifts and things that belong to God in a way that is contrary to his will. To misuse things that belong to others is a form of theft and we are thus thieves for we have all misused what belongs to God. Consider some of the things we claim as our own and how easily we misuse them: Our bodies, our time, our talents, our money, our gift of speech, our gift of freedom and so forth. We call them ours but they really belong to God and if we use them in ways contrary to the intention of the owner we are guilty of a form of theft.

So the Church is Christ, crucified between two thieves. But consider also that these two thieves were very different.

  1. One thief derides Jesus and makes demands of him: – Are you not the Christ! Save yourself and us!
  2. The other thief reverences Christ and rebukes the other saying, – Have you no fear of God? He recognizes his guilt – We have been condemned justly. And he requests – Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom. But he leaves the terms of it up to Christ. He acknowledges he is a thief and now places his life under the authority of Christ the King.

Christ came to call sinners, thieves,  if you will. Yes, we are all thieves, that is true. But pray God we are the good thief, the repentant thief, The one thief who is now ready to resubmit himself to the authority of Christ, who is King of all creation, and King of us thieves.

But is Christ really your king? Well a King has authority. So another way of asking is, “Does Christ have authority in your life? Do you and I acknowledge that everything we call our own really belongs to Him? How well do we use the things that we call our own but which really belong to God?”

  1. How do we use our time?
  2. Are we committed to pray and be at Mass every Sunday without fail?
  3. Do we use enough of our time to serve God and others or merely for selfish pursuits?
  4. What of our capacity to talk?
  5. Do we use our gift of speech to witness, to evangelize, or merely for small talk and gossip?
  6. What of our money?
  7. Are we faithful to the Lord’s command to tithe? (Mal 3:7-12; Matt 23:23).
  8. Are we generous enough to the poor and needy?
  9. Do we spend wisely or foolishly?
  10. Do we pay our debts in a timely way?
  11. What of our bodies?
  12. Do we exhibit proper care and nutrition of them?
  13. Are we chaste?
  14. Do we observe proper safety or are we reckless and unsafe?
  15. Do we reverence life?
  16. Do we love the poor and help sustain their lives?

Well you get the point. It is one thing to call Christ our King, it is another to truly be under his authority. The Lord is clear enough in telling us that he expects our obedience: Why do you call me Lord Lord and not do what I tell you?  (Luke 6:46)

Is Christ your King? Which thief are you?

5 Replies to “King Of Thieves? A Meditation on the Gospel for the Feast of Christ the King”

  1. Good questions to think about. I’ve been thinking of this Feast a lot since we went to two Christ the King Masses … I feel like both the thieves, asking Jesus for favors and then asking him simply to remember me as well. Our priest gave a lovely homily about placing complete trust in our King and Savior and I needed to hear it very much.

    How did I end up going to two Feasts of Christ the King? The one I went to earlier was the one at High Mass. It was the Latin Rite, about a month ago.

  2. The Cross is Christ thone; it is His pulpit from which He teaches us all the virtues, to include humility, patience, and obedience. Christ was mocked while He hung in public display; “Come down off that cross if you are the Chist, you saved others, save yourself.” Little did they know that he was saving not only himself, but all of mankind in a method where He over came death. He hung between two others, and He showed He is the Judge, He judged the one on His left, and the one on His right, He gave eternal happiness in His Kingdom of Heaven. Goats to the left, and Sheep to the right. The thief on the right, is an example of a person who is not baptized being authorized to enter into heaven, by simply confessing Christ is God in the flesh.

    Jesus Christ is such a powerful figure, He split time into two parts, the before, and the after, A.D.; the year of the Lord, which we are still in. Even the secular school history books mention this great event.

    Like the thief on the right, my sins are always before me. I am always aware that my sins put Christ on that Cross, I am aware that I could have done better in the past. I know too that because my sins put Christ upon that mean and rugged cross, that my sins too affected Mary, so my sins in addition to offending Jesus, also caused His Mother Mary great grief, and for that I am very sorry. Yes, my sins are always before me.

  3. Dear brethern, Jesus was, is and will be never the King of thieves. The king of thieves is the devil himself. We cannot put our Jesus on the same level of His and our adversary. JESUS will be King inmediately of those who repent of their wrong doing and confess their sin to a priest. (John 20,21)

  4. When I saw the title and the beginning of today’s message I immediately thought of Mattew 9:9-13 where he reminds of God’s mercy for the spiritual sick. Not just for those who I can find for sympapthy for because their imperfections resemble mine. For all sinners. Even those whose deeds are so different from mine that I’m tempted to rage in anger at them. I’m also reminded of times when I’ve declared that a person whose sins are like mine but I still wasn’t as “bad” as them because my sins weren’t as extreme as theirs…until someone responds with “yet” (usually one of those annoying people who tell me what I need to hear instead of what I want to hear. Like Msgr Pope sometimes. Thank you Msgr)
    But I saw something I’d never noticed before. “Remember me when You come into Your Kingdom” No suggestion of how to remember. In a forgiving way; in a punishing way; in any way. Total surrender. Awesome message today.

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