The First Minister

Solemnity Of Christ The King, Year A.
Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17 – 1Corinthians 15:20-26, 28 – Matthew 25:31-46.

The Solemnity of Christ the King brings the Church’s year to a close. Today, we praise and worship Jesus Christ as the King of the universe, for the entire created universe is part of God’s kingdom. Jesus is King over your life, over my life, and over all the people of all nations because He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Rev 19:16). In Him “we live and move and have our being” (Ac 17:28).

Jesus Christ, King of the universe, is Lord of all mankind (Jer 32:27). As the ultimate King, Jesus takes precedence in everything. Today’s second reading called him the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep, by virtue of His glorious resurrection, an event which took place so that He might be Lord of the living and the dead (Rom 14:9). He is Lord and King over the living and the dead because He is the first-born from among the dead (Col 1:18): He died in the flesh but was made alive in the Spirit (1Pet 3:18). He reigns over everyone and everything (Rev 11:15).

God the Father has made all things subject to the Kingly authority of Jesus Christ (1Cor 15:28), and when that subjection has been fully accomplished, then God the Son (immanent God) will make Himself subject to God the Father (transcendent God) so that the Father may be all things to all men. Jesus the ‘logos’, the Word,  is the reason for all things. He made the world and He knows when it will end. All things will be subsumed into God because He made the world for his delight, and He will bring us into His joy.

In His encounter with humanity, the Lord Jesus described the nature of His Kingship over us in one of the seven “I Am” statements: He said, “I am the good shepherd” (Jn 10:11)’. Because Christ the King is our Shepherd, there is nothing [we] shall want (Ps 23:1). The First reading tells us how He, the universal king, will exercise His ministry as our Shepherd. In His pasturing He will “search out and rescue” those of His followers who get lost during the dark times, He will “heal and restore” the wounded and weak, He will “feed and protect” them, and He will keep watch over them.

The vital point to take on board today is that Jesus the King wants all the sons and daughters of God (Mt 12:49), to emulate Him in their behaviour towards each other. He has expectations that He requires us, as inheritors of the Kingdom, to fulfil. When we live our lives in doing the will of God by following Him, caring and looking out for each other and thus welcoming Him, He will promote us to eternal joy with Him.

However, there is punishment and damnation for people who reject Him. The Parable about the separating out of the wheat from the tares (Mt 13:24-30), the good from the bad, differs from Our Lord’s pronouncement concerning the separation of the sheep from the goats (the sheep to the King’s right and the goats to the King’s left). Why? Because the sheep and the goats are both valued by the Shepherd, as they were in rabbinic tradition. Note that there are three groups of Jesus’ followers identified here, not two: “the sheep”, “the goats” and “the least of these”, all of whom who are homeless in this world (cf. Mt 8:20) because their home is with Him. Those whom the King rejects at judgement will be those who have refused to serve Him in this world and who have refused to live the life to which God calls them.

Of course there is a divine spark in every human being. Everyone has the opportunity to serve Christ the King. The gospel reading points out vehemently that we have to make the effort to aid and comfort the needy people of God. We will be assured of a place in Christ’s Kingdom only if we serve God in others by treating them as Christ treats us, His followers. He wants us to show love, care and kindness to the least of these, His followers, and if we don’t care for each other as He does for us, then we are being selfish. It’s hardly any  wonder that Jesus used the image of sheep and goats to describe two groups of people at the judgement. Those who are like sheep are tender, working with others towards communal well-being. Goats are hardier types, tougher, and able to function well in challenging conditions unsuitable for sheep. The basic tenets of the social teachings of the Church on being human are deduced from what Jesus told us in the gospel concerning the final judgement. Jesus uses each person who is open to His Lordship and Kingship to accomplish His work in their differing ways.

On this day it is a good time to ask yourself: how often did I allow Jesus to rule my life during the course of this year? Remember, as you live out your daily life, that Jesus is still with us (Mt 28:20). We have to love our neighbour (Mk 12:31) by showing mercy to our fellow men when they are suffering. Our shortcoming as the people of God is when we fail to recognize Jesus who shows us Himself in others, giving us the opportunity to be like Him through acts of love, care and kindness towards them. Remember that we shall be judged upon the love we have shown and the little acts of compassion we have performed. Often our interaction with someone in terms of a word of encouragement, a little recognition or a friendly smile can mean more than practical gifts because they carry the warmth of personal acceptance and make people feel valued. We minister to Christ in the people around us insofar as we reach out and show concern for their welfare and commit ourselves to fostering their dignity. Whatever good or evil we do to others is done to Christ the King Himself.

Let Christ rule in the hearts of all His followers, and let us minister to Him in the world around us through the charitable acts we do. Amen. God bless you.