Gospel Reflection Nov 26 – Deacon Frank Iannarino

Sunday, November 26

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

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.”

Gospel Reflection:

This weekend we celebrate the final Sunday of this liturgical year by honoring Christ as our King. We discover what that old-fashioned word “kingship” really means. And it has nothing to do with power, wealth, subject, or elitism.

Our scripture readings do not picture Christ as a typical king. In our first reading, Ezekiel the prophet pictures God as a shepherd. We see this prophecy perfectly fulfilled in Jesus. Our second reading is on the topic of resurrection. Paul tells us the Risen Jesus will reign until evil in every form has been destroyed. Then Jesus will turn the kingdom over to the Father. In the gospel, Jesus is pictured as a judge – one who will judge us on how we behave toward the lowly and the poor. Thus, we have three images of Christ the King: the Good Shepherd, the Risen Lord, and the Judge of all nations.

Each week as we attend Mass, the gospels always tell us how to belong to Christ. Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats continues the theme of the messianic king, who will judge justly. In the Roman Empire, honor was everything and money was able to buy you that. Money also bought what could only roughly be called “Justice.” It is not money or power or worldly honor that gains one admittance to Christ’s kingdom. However, it is acting like Jesus, the good Shepherd, who binds up the injured and heals the sick. To be with him and in him, Christ the King chooses quite simply those who give food, drink, clothing, and comfort to those most neglected.

It is a topsy-turvy kingdom, this reign of Christ, compared to the values of the wider society, both in ancient times and in our time. Choosing Christ’s kingdom is an act of both exceptional bravery and extreme humility. Let these thoughts be with us as together we come to Mass and receive the body and blood of CHRIST OUR KING.

Deacon Frank Iannarino