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20th Nov. 2016 Our Lord, Jesus Christ, The King C

posted 18 Nov 2016, 13:25 by Veronica Yarwood


H.B. & Hw.

And just in case we have not got the message, the Lord proclaims

one more time. On this final Sunday of the Church's year, the Lord

says it one more time. "My gift is a free gift. It does not depend on

your worthiness or unworthiness. The gift of my great mercy is

free." So we have nothing to fear. Christ is the victor over death

and all that would harm us. As St. Paul puts it, God the Father,

• .has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place

us in the Kingdom of the Son that he loves, and in him we gain our

freedom and the forgiveness of our sins". Freedom and forgiveness

are the spoils of the war between light and darkness, good and cvil,

life and death. And yet we persist in our determination to wallow

bondage and guilt.

 

So we do a Dismas. We are called to emulate the Good Thief.

What Dismas did we can do. And we do what we can in the way

we can, not pretending to be any other than we actually are. Why

should we? It is the actual me, it is the real me that God loves. Not

the me I might be. Not the me people would have me be. I am

loved as I am, not as I should be. "I have called you by your name.

You are mine." (Is. 43.1-4)

 

And that's Kingdom. That is kingdom come in our midst. A

forgiven and forgiving community glorying in the mercy of God

who sets us free from fear, anxiety, inhibition and hang-up. A

community living on the Lord's promise of life forever. A

community thankful to be ruled by Christ the King of forgiveness.

 

 (After Hugh Lavery)

 

Forgiveness is not really understood, simply because it is not

logical. Logic is human and logic is hard. It stands on the ethic of

reprisal and retaliation. If he hurts me, I will hurt him. Hence,

wars, strikes, the vendetta. It is man's classic solution to the pain of

hurt. "An eye for an eye." So Jesus is speaking a new language and

offending a universal code when he asserts "Do good to them that

hate you". This is not the voice of sin but the sound of salvation.

For I oppose God. And he does not retaliate, does not demand

retribution. Every hour of every day we survive on forgiveness. A

punishing god would be a monster; a violent god would make

atheists of us all.

 

To believe in Christ is to believe that I breathe the oxygen of

forgiveness. Christ comes simply for the forgiveness of sins. The

world does not understand forgiveness. It is new wine. It is not

connivance, not the blind eye. It cannot be cased in the categories

of law like a suspended sentence. Forgiveness is, total restoration of

a person beaten and broken by the weight of sin. Forgiveness has

breadth. It is a total medicine. It deals with depression. It restores

self-esteem to those whom failure leads to the bell of self-disgust. It

gives back to us our future. It is the antidote to that brittle cynicism

which is the armour of the witty who inwardly despair of God and

people. Above all, it is the force that can handle fear. "Fear not it

is I" is the anthem of the forgiver. "Fear not, it is I" is the anthem

of Christ the King. "Indeed, I promise you, today you will be with

me in paradise." "Fear not" is the anthem of the one who baptises

each one of us and all of us with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of

forgiveness.

 

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