Nov 22: Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17; 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28; Matthew 25:31-46
Today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. Pope Pius XI who brought the Feast of Christ the King into the liturgy in 1925 to bring Christ as Ruler. We honor Christ as the King of the Universe by enthroning Jesus in our hearts, surrendering our lives to God. This feast challenges us to see Christ the King in everyone, especially those whom our society considers the least important, and to treat each person with the same love, mercy, and compassion of Jesus. The Kingdom of God is the central teaching of Jesus. Jesus begins His public ministry by preaching about the Kingdom. “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel”.
Jesus Christ lives as King in thousands of human hearts all over the world. The cross is his throne and the Sermon on the Mount is his rule of law. His citizens need obey only one law: “Love others as I have loved you”. His love is selfless, sacrificial, kind, compassionate, forgiving, and unconditional. That is why the Preface in today’s Mass describes Jesus’ Kingdom as “a Kingdom of truth and life, a Kingdom of holiness and grace, a Kingdom of justice, love, and peace.” He is a King with a saving and liberating mission: to free mankind from all types of bondage, so that we may live peacefully and happily on earth and inherit Eternal Life in Heaven.
The first reading speaks about image of true shepherd who is a source of blessing for others, especially for those who are vulnerable – the lost, the wounded and the weak. When we find ourselves lost, or wounded or weak, God, working through his Son, seeks us out, to heal and strengthen us, and to guide us along the right path. This is the message of Saint Paul in today’s second reading – ‘Just as all die in Adam, so all will be brought to life in Christ’.
Today’s Gospel presents Christ the King coming in Heavenly glory to judge us, based on how we have shared our love and blessings with others through genuine acts of charity in our lives. The main criterion of the Last Judgment will be the works of Christian charity, kindness and mercy we have done for others, in whom we have actually served Christ, knowingly or unknowingly.
Christ, the Judge, is going to ask us six questions, the first set of questions: “I was hungry, thirsty, homeless. Did you give me food, drink, accommodation?” The second set of questions:” I was naked, sick, imprisoned. Did you clothe me? Did you help me by visiting me in my illness or in prison?” If the answers are yes, we will be eternally rewarded because we have cooperated with God’s grace by practicing charity. But if the answers are no, then we will be eternally punished.
The Solemnity of Christ the King is not just the conclusion of the Church year. It is also a summary of our lives as Christians. On this great Feast, let us resolve to give Christ the central place in our lives and to obey His commandment of love by sharing our blessings with the needy. Let us conclude the Church year by asking the Lord to help us to serve the King of Kings as He presents Himself in those around us. Amen