Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
From the Gospel for November 26, 2017, 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.”
“He will sit upon his glorious throne,” Jesus says to his disciples in Matthew 25:31-46.
Here presented before us is Jesus, with the angels gathered around Him and all the nations assembled before Him. Here He sits in majesty. Here He sits on His throne as one in authority. He has authority over all who are gathered around Him, because He is the Son of Man — and all power and glory have been given to Him from his Father on high.
This feast marks the end of our liturgical year, publicly declaring the Kingship of Christ to all the world. Thus, it is this same King, who is one with the despised and neglected, is due to return. And while we are about to enter a season of joyful expectation and waiting for the coming of the Christ at Christmas, today reminds us that we should also await the coming King’s judgement with a measure of holy fear. Pray that when you utter the Our Father, you are not praying for this judgement on your own head. For even the goats were taken by surprised and expected to be counted among His faithful.
In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray “thy kingdom come.” Each time we pray this we are praying for the coming of Jesus, both King and Judge. For Christ is coming to judge the living and the dead. Here the Gospel depicts Christ the King decreeing his rule over those unfaithful who do not feed the hungry and who do not welcome the stranger. Just so, when you neglect those disregarded or when you do not defend the weak, these actions “cry out to God.” These actions will not be unseen. They will be judged. These choices matter.
The Judge is coming. The King is returning and our actions “in his absence” matter deeply. On this Feast of Christ the King, let us remember that you cannot serve two masters, and who you really are will be clearly seen.
Originally published at NTC.