'Our God Reigns' by Rev. Jack Peterson
Reprinted by permission of "The Arlington Catholic Herald"
To Sunday Gospel Reflections Index
Matthew wrote to show that Christ
Messiah and fulfilled the Jewish prophecies.
Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who 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 drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, 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 no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.' Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Group projects, women and the Redskins. I meet with several groups of college men each week to pray together, to reflect upon the Scriptures for the upcoming Sunday's Mass, to build Christian fellowship and to encourage a more honest walk with Christ and his Church. The deeper concerns on their hearts come up regularly and are brought up for reflection in the light of the Good News of Jesus Christ. At this moment in the semester, many of them are stressed about papers and group projects that are due in the next few weeks. Recently, our discussion, with the help of a passage from the 31st chapter of the Book of Wisdom, led us to a heartfelt conversation about Christian marriage and the search for a future spouse. Often, as we socialize before or after our meeting, the conversation centers around football.
Group projects, women and football tend to weigh heavy on the hearts of college men. What is reigning in your heart these days? The Church invites us to ask ourselves that question this weekend as we celebrate the final Sunday of the Church year, Christ the King. The readings and prayers of the Mass direct our attention to the end times when the world as we know it will come to an end, Christ will come again in all his glory, He will judge the living and the dead, and He will present the world to his Heavenly Father. Surely, our prayer is that Jesus will look us in the eye with tender mercy and great love and say to us, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Mt 25:34).
Christ is indeed King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He will come again with wondrous signs and great power to definitively establish his reign for all eternity. However, his response to us at the consummation of the world will depend on how we chose to live our lives here and now.
One of the more impressive aspects of Christ's reign in the world is that He does not force His kingship upon His subjects. He prefers that we voluntarily submit. Instead of governing us with guns, shackles, fear and brute force, He reigns by knocking on the doors of our hears and waiting for us to invite Him in. He wants his kingship over us to be one we freely choose because in truth and love we know both that we need Him and the He deserves to be the King of our hearts.
Once Christ arrives at his proper place in our hearts and lives, we gratefully venture out into the world to bring his blessings to the needy: the hungry, the thirsty, the naked and the imprisoned. Love for God automatically spills over into a burning love for our neighbor. It becomes a passion of the heart.
What, or Who, is reigning in your heart these days? What place does Christ have in your heart? It should be higher than work, relationships and the record of your favorite team. Do you really love Jesus with all your heart? Are His thoughts your thoughts? Are His ways your ways? Our God reigns.
Please consider a tax deductible gift to support this web site.
To Sunday Gospel Reflections Index