2Sam 5:1-3; Col 1:12-20; Lk 23:35-43
“He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”
A few weeks after I emigrated from Nigeria to the United States, I had to take a driving test to secure my driving license. My Nigerian friend who had been in the United States many years before I arrived offered to help me prepare for the test. These were his words to me on the first day of our driving lessons, “All that you know about driving from your years of driving in Nigeria, I want you to forget it all.” I was a little bit offended and asked why. He answered me, “This is a different country. If you drive here in the United States the same way you drive in Nigeria, you will be in jail and I do not have money to bail you out.”
He might have been exaggerating a bit but there was truth in his words. I had to put aside old habits to learn a new way of driving in a foreign country. His point was clear to me: a new country demands a new way of acting if I wanted to enjoy the freedom of that country.
Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we Christians belong to a new kingdom, the kingdom of Jesus Christ, the king. God has graciously done what no one could do. From hopeless and helpless slaves to sin, He has made us His children in the kingdom of Christ, the King. In the words of St. Paul, “He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” (See Col 1:12-20).
Being delivered and transferred into this new kingdom of Christ also demands new and improved behavior on our part. Because God has delivered us from the power of darkness, darkness and evil do not have power over us anymore. The darkness in us and in our world, no matter how strongly we may experience them, cannot and should not control our actions.
Because God has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, we too can choose to act out of love for God and neighbor all the time, no matter the darkness that we may be facing. We can choose to do the will of God and serve our neighbors in this life.
The dying Christ faced a myriad of evils as He hung on the cross – abandonment by His disciples, the shame of the crucifixion, mockery and taunting by His executioners, excruciating pains, blasphemies, insults, etc. He did not curse or threaten them but offered forgiveness and everlasting union to the good thief, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”(Lk 23:43) In Jesus Christ, love prevails in the midst of darkness and evil.
Delivered from darkness and transferred into the kingdom of Christ, the king! In moments of darkness, do we hold on to these truths about what God has done for us in Jesus? When we do not realize this truth of faith and hold on to it, we live as if we were still under the dominion of evil. We continue to live the same lives of hopeless submission and cowardly compromise with evil because we are oblivious of our new kingdom and identity in Jesus’ kingdom.
There are four ways in which we show that we truly belong in the kingdom of Christ today.
Firstly, we are always grateful to God for what He has done for us in Jesus Christ. The Israelites freely chose David as their king because they were grateful for him risking his life to fight and win many battles for them. They said to him, “In days past, when Saul was our king, it was you who led the Israelites out and brought them back.”(See 2Sm 5:1-3)
Though “all things were created through Him and for Him,” Jesus Christ, our king, chose to suffer and die on Calvary to bring us into His kingdom, “reconciling all things and making peace by the blood of His cross.” This is the source of deep gratitude of the Christian, a gratitude that is not diminished by our sins, failures, sufferings, or fear of any of these in the future.
But are we really grateful for Christ’s sacrifice to bring us into His kingdom? Don’t we tend to focus more on the struggles that we face with the forces of evil within and outside us? The gift of being delivered and transferred to Christ’s kingdom is thus ignored.
Secondly, we trust in Jesus completely and all the time. The Israelites also chose David as their king because he was one of them, “Here we are, your bone and your flesh.” They had this trust in him because they felt known and accepted by him.
We trust in Jesus completely because He has really and truly become one like us by taking on our human nature through the Blessed Virgin Mary. He knows and has experienced all the darkness that we can ever experience. Since He was born in a manger, died on a cross, and rose from a grave, there is no human experience that He cannot understand, commiserate with, or relieve us from.
He knows us well and He can supply all our needs, even in the darkest moments of our lives. Didn’t He grant forgiveness and restore grace to the good thief who turned to Him in trust at those dark moments of Calvary? How can He do less for us today if we trust in Him completely?
Thirdly, we have loving obedience toward Jesus. Jesus Christ is “head of the body, the Church,” and also “preeminent Himself in all things.” The church-body and the head do not just share the same life that is in the head but the body must obey the head and become like the head in His own attitude of loving obedience to the Father. The members of the body must mature in obedience “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”(Eph 4:13)
As our king, we obey Him above all and in all things. He is both the source and the standard of our obedience. We do not give this obedience in any way to any person who contradicts the words of Christ the king. In short, we are ready to disappoint all others rather than ignore or rebel against the demands and inspirations of Christ the king.
Lastly, we never lose hope in this life. We live in joyful hope all the time because we know that we belong to a kingdom that will never pass away. Earthly kingdoms will come and go but the kingdom of Christ the king will endure forever.
We can do so by sharing in the faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the words of the angel Gabriel, “The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Lk 132-33)
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we journey through this world, we will still face moments when darkness and evil seem to prevail in our lives. There will be times when goodness, truth, and beauty are mocked and rejected in many ways inside and outside the Church. Those are the moments to remind ourselves of those two words – delivered and transferred. We have been delivered from servitude to darkness and brought to share in Christ’s own loving obedience to the Father for the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls.
Each Eucharist is an encounter with Christ the king. Let us first of all bring ourselves, everything, and all our experiences to Him as our king because “in Him, all things hold together.” In Him everything that we experience finds their true meaning and purpose in God’s plan.
But let us also receive from Him the grace to live as those who are in Christ’s kingdom. It is by the power of this grace alone that our lives can always show that we do not belong to the kingdom of darkness anymore but to the kingdom of Christ, the king.
Glory to Jesus! Honor to Mary!