BOTW - The Solemnity of
Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
November 22, 2020
Today’s scripture readings revolve around the last judgement scene of Jesus Christ coming in glory and power. It was Pope Pius XI who brought the Feast of Christ the King into the liturgy in 1925 to bring Christ as ruler, and Christian values, back into lives of Christians, and into society.
In the first reading from Eziekiel, the link between the image of the shepherd and the role of the king goes back at least to the time of King David, the shepherd who became a great king. A good king was expected to be a good shepherd of the people, caring for them, protecting them and providing for them. Eziekiel prophesied during the exile in Babylon, a period of distress brought on by kings who failed to be good shepherds of Israel. Though this passage comes after a strong denunciation of bad kings, it is almost completely positive and hopeful.
In the second reading, Paul gives his response to Christians who claim that there isn’t a bodily resurrection. After explaining why they’re wrong, Paul goes on to say that Jesus’ resurrection is a promise to all believers that God will also raise them, body and soul, from the dead. Paul compares Jesus to the portion of the harvest that farmers offered in thanks for what God had given them. These first fruits represent the whole harvest just as Christ’s resurrection represents the resurrection of all who believe.
In the Gospel, Jesus has been telling stories about how to act until the Son of Man returns. People should remain faithful, prepare themselves, and use their time wisely. Now he speaks about what will happen when the Son of Man finally arrives.
This reading of judgement from Matthew’s Gospel, is the last passage before the narrative of the passion of Christ. It also serves as a climax for our liturgical year as the last Sunday reading of the year before the start of Advent. Though It includes a brief parable about sheep and goats, the whole passage is more of an apocalyptic scene. The Son of Man, here also call the king, presides over the judgement of all the nations. The basis for judgement is one’s response to the poor and the needy. Those who sought to meet their needs are saved. Those who neglected them are condemned. Some have used this passage to insist that neither faith nor church is necessary for salvation, but it is clear that this passage is addressed to disciples and their faith is assumed. What this text insists is that faith must be exercised in acts of love, and that loving service of those in need is service given to Christ himself. In a sense, this passage makes the same point that Jesus made in speaking of the greatest commandments- love of God and love of neighbor are most important.
Jesus is the law of the kingdom. His life, his way, is the standard by which we will be judged. If you want to be a judge in the world, you have to know the law intimately. Jesus’ law is simple. We will “inherit the kingdom” based on this guiding principle: “Whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.” That’s the standard: mercy, generosity, and self-giving love. We are entering the season of Advent, a time of preparation. It is time to prepare ourselves to inherit the kingdom.
Theme in Our Life
At the end of the church year, we look to the end of time, we look to the day of our judgement. For if we lived faithfully, we need not fear. If we have not, there is still time to change. So now is a time for reflection, self-examination and rededication. It’s often said that you can’t take it with you, and there is a lot of truth to that. All of our money, all our honors, all our possessions are temporary. They won’t follow us to heaven, and they can’t help us to get in. But there is something we can take with us: our acts of charity. In fact, they are the very things that will open the gates of heaven to us. Jesus will not be impressed if you have many possessions, and he will not disappointed if we have just a few. What matters is whether we have let him soften our hearts so that we feed the hungry, forgive those who have sinned against us, and reach out to the lonely. Because his kingdom is not a kingdom of wealth and power, it is a kingdom of humility, love and service
Preparing for Sunday
When have you felt “left out” and when have you felt accepted?
How do we respond when you see someone in need?
Describe a time when helping others was your way of living this Gospel.
As a Church, whom do we easily pass by?
Prayer by Mother Teresa
Lord, open our eyes, that we may see you in our brothers and sisters.
Lord, open our ears, that we may hear the cries of the hungry, the cold, the frightened, the oppressed.
Lord, open our hearts, that we may love each other as you love us.
Renew in us your spirit.
Lord free us and make us one.