Exploring the Sunday Gospel - Last Sunday before Advent


Today is the last Sunday before Advent and celebrates the theme of Christ the King. Here is
the triumphal acknowledgement that Christ reigns. Each year of the three-year lectionary
offers a different insight into the implications of the reign of Christ. The aspect of the reign of
Christ offered this year from Luke’s Gospel focuses on the moment of crucifixion and on the
two passages that Luke adds to Mark’s Gospel. In Luke’s Gospel Jesus says of those who
crucified him, ‘Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ In Luke’s Gospel Jesus
says to the penitent criminal, ‘Today you will be with me in Paradise.’ The reign of Christ is
a time for pardon and for forgiveness.
For those of you who wanted to do some thinking and preparation for today’s service during
the preceding week, I invited reflection on the image of royal pardon and forgiveness. In
today’s picture from his book, The grumpy day, Teddy Horsley has said sorry to his family
for his grumpiness and he is feeling loved and forgiven.
Lord Jesus Christ,
you reign from the cross of glory.
Accept and welcome us into your everlasting kingdom,
that we may live under your reign for ever;
for you are our king.
Next week, Advent Sunday, begins a new year for the Church, a year when the lectionary
focuses our attention on Matthew’s Gospel. The reading from Matthew’s Gospel sounds the
Advent call of preparation, ‘Keep awake’. The image to help us prepare for next week’s
theme is Advent candles. You can find out more about that theme here.

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