Sunday, November 20, 2016 Christ the King / Lectionary 34 Introduction
Jeremiah’s promise of the execution of “justice and righteousness in the land” finds ironic fulfillment in the execution of Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. It appears so utterly contradictory that the king should be crucified with the criminal. This victory appears for all the world as ignominious defeat. Yet through the gate of death our Lord opens the door to paradise.
First Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6
Today’s reading builds on the common ancient Near Eastern metaphor of the king as shepherd. Judah’s unjust rulers have caused their people, their “flock,” to be scattered. Nevertheless, the Lord will raise up a new and righteous shepherd who will rule a restored Judah.
Psalm: Psalm 46
I will be exalted among the nations. (Ps. 46:10)
Second Reading: Colossians 1:11-20
An early Christian hymn praises the mystery of the political, personal, and mystical Christ, the one who was present at creation and is eternally reigning with God.
Gospel: Luke 23:33-43
Amid scoffing and slander from those who sarcastically call him Messiah and king, Jesus reveals that to be Messiah and king is to give one’s life for others. Here he uses his power to welcome a despised sinner to paradise but puts his own death into God’s hands.