“One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, ‘Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? . . . Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingly power.’”—Luke 23:39-40, 42
The goal for this Year of Faith has been to conform our lives to Jesus Christ, and to not only learn the Faith but to live faith in the world. One of the treasures that Christ has given to his Church that many are not consciously aware of is the liturgical calendar.
The liturgical calendar is a masterpiece that plays out the life of Christ each year. Starting with the miracle of the Annunciation, during Advent we anticipate the coming of the King. We move into the birth of the King during Christmas and then we follow the King and his teaching of the kingdom throughout the year.
The calendar begins to reach a crescendo with Lent and the anticipation of the greatest sacrifice in the history of the world. The Church then soberly moves into the Passion and Easter, the joy of Pentecost, and culminates this week, in the celebration of Christ the King.
Isn’t it interesting that the Gospel reading for this week, here at the culmination of the entire liturgical calendar, focuses not on his crown, but on his cross? The cross is the place where decisions are made. Will we love or will we selfishly live for ourselves? The cross is unique because it’s not hidden, but it’s next to the road where everyone can see. What did they see? They saw pure love manifested. As Paul said in Galatians 2:20, we “have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”
As we conclude the liturgical year, are you with Christ? Is your life an open sacrifice in a demonstration of love? As we conclude this year, we too embrace the cross and walk in the victory of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. What began as a humble event—the birth of the Messiah—has changed the world. As we conclude the Year of Faith, let’s not forget the beautiful truths that we have learned, but let’s continue to learn more about them, celebrate them, live them, and pass them on. It is our prayer that when people look at us, they will say, “Christ is King.”