This weekend, as we come to the end of the liturgical year, the Church invites us to reflect on the kingship of Jesus Christ. Pope Pius XI established the Feast of Christ the King in 1925 as a declaration of the Christian belief that the reign of Christ must be felt, not only in our private lives of Christians, but also in the public domain. The Feast originated as an objection against the rise of modern secularism right after the First World War (1914 -1919). At that time, there was a rise in the ideology of the power of humanity to rule itself. This led to a cultural superiority and leadership struggle among powerful world leaders with Hitler proposing himself as the dominator of the known world and other leaders striving for dominance over the whole world. The Church introduced the Feast of Christ the King of the Universe to send a message to the world leaders that no individual person can have control over the whole world except Jesus Christ who has ultimate power over the universe.
The Gospel reading today presents Jesus Christ as a king who presides over the scene of last judgment. We are told, at the final judgment that Jesus will separate the good people from the bad. We are also told that the major criteria for judgment will be based on how often we served the least among us.. The specific charity works mentioned are: (i) feeding the hungry, (ii) giving drinks to the thirsty, (iii) clothing the naked, (iv) sheltering the homeless, (v) visiting those in prison, and (vi) taking care of the sick. If you add (vii) burying the dead, then you now have what the Church identifies as the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy. Often, people misunderstand this Gospel passage to mean that the only thing that counts in our Christian life is charity works, as if faith in God does not count. Any atheist can perform charity works; but that alone does not allow them to go to heaven. As we look forward to the Thanksgiving celebration this week, remember this Gospel reading as it reminds us to share what we have with those in need in and around our community. On this note, I thank those who donated food items to our Chapter of the St Vincent de Paul Society to help provide a Thanksgiving meal with those in need in our community.
May God bless you abundantly.
Fr. JamesBACK TO LIST