Sunday, November 26
The Solemnity of Christ the King
Matthew 25: 31-46
Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who 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 drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
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 no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”
The gospel for today, the last Sunday of the liturgical year 2017, is a familiar one. The scene is the end of the world when Christ comes in His glory to judge the world and those who have been faithful, and those who have not been. The understanding is about how we have treated others during our time on earth. The Corporal Works of Mercy are used as the measuring stick on how we are chosen for a place next to Jesus Christ or not.
This gospel is stark and frank. We are measured on how we have treated others, because the way we have treated others is the way we have treated Christ. The little ones, the unimportant ones, the poor, the widow, the stranger, all belong to Christ and in showing mercy to them we meet the Christ who will also come as judge for us.
While this gospel can be disconcerting it also calls us to start fresh again and when we have failed in the past to be Christ to others we have an opportunity today to start over and allow those we encounter to see the face of Christ in our face.