Reflection on Christ the King Sunday – November 22, 2020

The Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46

Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that 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 something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me 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 nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Let us Pray: Holy Father, we praise and adore you for your Son, Christ Jesus, our Beautiful Savior, the King of Creation. We thank you for his holy life, his innocent suffering and death in our place, and his glorious resurrection that bestows life, forgiveness, health, and salvation on us. Though we are your poor unworthy servants, you have made us the sisters and brothers of your beloved Son and heirs of your Kingdom. Blessing and honor, praise and adoration be yours, Holy Father, for the sake of your Son, in the power of your Spirit. Amen

Are you a sheep or a goat? Are you helping those in need? Jesus’ final teaching in this section examines how we treat those in need. In this account, when Jesus returns in his glory, he will sit on his throne and separate people “as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats”. The separation depends on how we treat people in need. Today we need to be helping those who are hungry and need to be fed and those who have no winter clothes need help. The opportunities to help are many, food banks need a lot of help. Clothing donations can be made through a lot of organizations. We cannot ignore the plight of human beings suffering hunger, thirst, nakedness, homelessness, sickness, or imprisonment. We work in order to meet our own needs and the needs of those dependent on us; but we also work in order to have something to give to those in need. We join with others to find ways to come alongside those who lack the basic necessities of life that we may take for granted. If Jesus’ words in this passage are taken seriously, more may hang on our charity than we realize. With the virus causing so much despair we need to help.

Throughout Matthew’s Gospel there has been a theme of discipleship. The theme of discipleship is a joyful living, joyful living by helping those who desperately need assistance. It takes us to the cross; it takes us to the cross in human lives, to the cross in the life of family, community, society, nation, and world. It takes us to the place of God’s suffering in the world. Suffering which we can help with by opening our hearts. I close with a reading from Psalm 91:1-4:  He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. AMEN

May the Peace of the Lord be with you.

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