Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ The King (A)

Finally we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King, this is the Last Sunday of the Church Year, and through this feast the church is saying that all of our celebrations can be summed up in one statement: Jesus is our King forever, we should serve him![1]The end of the Church year, the end of time, the last judgment, and the solemnity of Christ the King –all these themes fit together as we are meditating on the gospel: Christ sits enthroned as King of Kings. He judges each of us. Dante would put it this way: “we are judged on our capacity for Love”[2], and St. John of the Cross will say that “In the evening of our lives, we will be judged by love alone”[3]. So, today’s Gospel confronts us with the fact that if we haven't shared his love with others, we cannot be exposed to the fullness of Christ's love in heaven.

            It is interesting that not only the goats, the people who don't help others, but even the sheep, those who do help others, say that they don't remember seeing the Lord. That's understandable. Christ is present in every aspect of our lives. Only we might not recognize him. He is still there. Yes, He is present in Church, in Scripture and the Eucharist. But He is also present in the poor and the poorest of the poor, as Mother Theresa would refer to the suffering homeless. But He is also present in your family as you pray together at home before meals or at bedtime;   present in your wife or your husband when he or she has had a bad day and needs your support. The child not understanding mathematics is Christ. The teenager needing both wings and protection is Christ, and the young adult you are putting through college is Christ.
            Christ is present in those people we meet who are prayerful, spiritual, and charismatic. But He is also present in those who may not even recognize His presence in their lives. He is present in those mocked by our society. When we greet someone who is a bit eccentric and who everyone else treats poorly, we are greeting Christ. When we give help a family struggling to make ends meet, we are helping Christ.

            Perhaps, the foremost authority on today's gospel was Blessed Mother Theresa. Her comment on the gospel was that at the end of our lives we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made or how many great things we have done. We will be judged by "I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in. Blessed Mother Theresa went on to say, "Hungry, not only for bread, but hungry for love; naked not only for clothing, but for human dignity and respect; homeless not only for want of a room of bricks, but homeless because of rejection. This is Christ in distressing disguise."
            In many ways this is a disturbing gospel. We are troubled by a gospel that tells us that we are accountable not just for the things we do that are wrong, but also for the things we fail to do. We are troubled because we cannot get away with relegating our following of Christ into the compartments and slots of our life marked "religion". The gospel tells us that is simply insufficient. To profess ourselves as Christian demands that we make a clear and conscious decision to integrate Christ into every thread and fiber of the fabric of our lives. There can never be a time or a situation that we refuse to recognize his presence in others.

            This is the Solemnity of Christ the King. At the conclusion of the Church year we are asked what the Christ event means in our lives.  We are asked about our world view. Do we view others as those loved by Christ, as those who Christ is present in, or are we so tied up in ourselves that we rarely integrate our living of the Christian life with our profession of Christianity? 

            We conclude the Church year by asking the Lord to help us serve the Kings of Kings as He presents Himself in those reaching out to us ■

[1] Sunday 20th November, 2011, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King. Readings: Ezekiel 34:11‑12, 15-17. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want—Ps 22(23):1-3, 5-6. 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28. Matthew 25:31-46
[2] Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante (1265–1321), was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia (The Divine Comedy).
[3] John of the Cross (San Juan de la Cruz) (24 June 1542 – 14 December 1591), born Juan de Yepes Alvarez, was a major figure of the Counter-Reformation, a Spanish mystic, Catholic saint, Carmelite friar and priest, born at Fontiveros, Old Castile.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris