Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
King of the Universe

November 23, 2014 Cycle A
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E.

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In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Today we celebrate the kingship of Christ, the King of the Universe. At the end of the liturgical year, we meditate about the end of human history and the Last Judgment. At the end of our lives, Christ will judge each one of us.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that he will judge all the nations at the end of time. We will be judged according to how we have loved in this life. St. John of the Cross says: “At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love” (St. John of the Cross, Dichos 64).

The Gospel presents Jesus as a king, while the first reading presents the Lord GOD as a good shepherd. In Matthew’s Gospel, the idea of justice is stressed while in Ezekiel, the emphasis is on the idea of mercy. In the Gospel, we read: “He will separate them one from another.” The first reading says: “I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD. The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up […].”

The readings talk about justice and mercy. It is hard for us to understand how justice and mercy go together in God. However, that is what happens. There is no contradiction between the two realities. God is just because he rejects everything that is against love. God’s love does not tolerate sin. He loves his creatures infinitely but rejects whatever prevents them from reaching their destiny.

Jesus is an uncommon king, a king-shepherd. His dominion over us coincides with his servitude.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus compares us to sheep and goats. The latter are proud animals, while the former are humble. Sheep tend to follow, while goats go their own way. Sheep depend on each other and on the shepherd, while goats are independent and selfish. Sheep are fragile animals, easily hurt, while goats are strong and resilient. However, the first reading says: “… the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy, shepherding them rightly” (Ez 34:16).

At the Last Judgment, those on the right side will receive their eternal recompense because they have embraced the needs of others. They will have seen themselves as dependent, full of needs, as creatures and never as creators. They will have known who the only God is in their lives. Thus, they will not have been indifferent to the needs of their neighbors: the hungry, the thirsty, the prisoner and the stranger.

Those on the left side will be condemned because they remain closed in self-reference. They will have seen themselves as self-sufficient, considering themselves to be gods. As a consequence, they will have been completely indifferent to the needs of their brothers and sisters, not loving anything more than themselves.

Jesus’ judgment is salvation for those who accept it but condemnation for those who reject it.

Jesus is the King of the universe. He wants to transform our lives. He wants to restore all things in him. He wants to destroy everything in us that rejects our eternal happiness. Therefore, he sacrificed his own life. We need to accept the love that judges us. Now, as we live this life, we are invited to subject ourselves to Christ. In the second reading, St Paul says: “When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all” (1 Cor 15:28).

Let us celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. Let us recognize Christ as the King of our lives. Let us participate in the restoration of everything in Christ through the offering of ourselves. Let us recognize that God is everything to everyone.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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