26 November 2017 – Christ the King – Year A
Gospel: Matthew 25:31- 46
We will be judged by the standard of visible, tangible love.
Jesus said to his disciples, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Today is the feast of Christ the King. This is not about honouring a King as someone in power ruling over us, as the words Christ the King may first suggest, but about honouring Christ present in every part of the universe. The full name of this feast is aptly called: “Christ the King of the Universe.”
The Gospel reminds us of what is most essential: being there for each other, walking alongside, feeding, welcoming, clothing and visiting those in need. In doing so we will find ourselves in the company of Jesus who identifies himself with those who find life difficult.
Coming hot off the heels of the first World Day of the Poor, today’s theme sharpens the focus. If we do not understand this feast day in the right way, then we run the risk of being like the apostles and expecting an all-powerful leader that can make things right. Pope Benedict said the Eucharist is “intrinsically fragmented” if it does not lead to concrete, practical actions of caring.
What actions can you take this week? Where might you be led to minister to God’s “little ones”? There is no doubt that the responsibility to care falls on each one of us. It is not something we can leave for someone else. In the words of Jesus: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.” This is where the real power lies: in breaking open the words into actions that will make a difference.