The Feast of Christ the King
Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
I am a movie fan. Some of the movies I like to watch are historical epics, or sword-and sorcery films. In those films, of course, are many depictions of kings and queens. Usually, the ruler judges his or her subject by how the person has served him or her.
As we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, we listen to Jesus describe (in our Gospel reading from Matthew) how, He as King, will judge people. In much the same way as the rulers of old, Jesus tells us that He will judge us by how we serve Him. But then Jesus adds something new: How we serve Him is demonstrated in how we serve the least of our brothers and sisters.
I say that Jesus adds something new because the idea is still radical: Those whom the world tends to disregard or ignore, are the same ones that represent Jesus! Recognizing Jesus in those who are in need takes us beyond pity and the discomfort we can sometimes feel when we are confronted by people in distress. Even when we do help someone there is a temptation to regard him or her as "less than" ourselves. But Jesus reminds us that when we respond to the needs of the hungry and the homeless, the sick and the prisoners, we serve our King.
Today’s feast calls us to listen to our King, and obey Him (that’s the tough part!). It will probably make us uncomfortable. We will not always be thanked by those we help. And sometimes the need can be so great that our efforts seem futile. But if we trust in the power of our King, we will receive the grace to serve Him in those the world considers "least." May we serve our King with generosity and joy.
Fr. Phil Paxton, C.P. is pastor of St. Mary’s Parish, Fairfield, Alabama.