CHRIST, OUR KING AND WE, HIS LOYAL SUBJECTS
SUNDAY, THIRTY FOURTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
SOLEMNITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE
Reading 1: Ez 34:11-12,15-17 God is portrayed, not so much as a judge of his people, but as someone who cares for them as a good shepherd cares for his sheep.
Reading 2: 1 Cor 15:20-26,28 At the end of the world Christ will reign as universal King, having overcome all hostile forces, including death.
Gospel: Mt 25:31-46 This contains Matthew’s great scene of the Last Judgement.
Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. On the feast of Christ the King, we celebrate and commemorate a few things, the first one being the resurrection of the worthy Lamb, the one who, by his death and resurrection, brings life to all those who believe. We also commemorate Jesus as the one and only eternal king.
In the second reading, Paul tells the Corinthians in his first letter, that when the end comes, Christ will hand over the kingdom to his Father after having destroyed every rule and authority and power, because there is only one true king, Jesus, and everything will be subject to him. Everyone who believes in Jesus the king, will not perish but have eternal life (Jn 3:16). This is what we see Jesus explaining to his disciples in the gospel, that he will take his rightful place on his glorious throne before all the angels of heaven and nations of the earth.
We also commemorate Jesus as the judge of the world and as the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep and who lays down his life for his sheep (Jn 10:14-15). In the gospel passage, Jesus speaks about the judgment of the nations, where he will separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep who know his voice and have heard him and lived according to the way he has directed them, will be on his right and will inherit the kingdom of heaven which is prepared for them. The goats who have not recognized the voice of the shepherd and king will be sent away into eternal separation from Jesus. They will not enter into eternal life in the kingdom of God.
We, who have not lived during the reign of a king, might not clearly understand how important loyalty to the king is. But let us try to understand this. Jesus said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn 18:36). But we live in this world, which is under the rule of Satan, and Jesus says that a time will come when the ruler of this world will be cast out (Jn 12:31-32). We live in a world which is ruled by Satan, and are being instructed by Jesus to live in the world but not belong to it or submit to it. This is scary, because the ruler of this world is not going to be happy about it. Our true king though, is pleased with us. He desires to see us live faithfully for him. Even if we physically live in a different kingdom, we are called to be one in spirit, and keep our allegiance to our true king, Jesus Christ, all through our life. We are his subjects who are separated from him physically for some time and are in living in a different kingdom, but we are not to forget our true identity as children of God and servants of the Most High King. He promises us that we will enter into the kingdom of heaven if we hear his voice and abide in him.
Jesus Christ is fully man, fully God, the true Lamb, the Judge of the world, the Good Shepherd and the true King. This feast of Christ the King is meant to help us see clearly who Christ is, in all his fullness, but is also meant to remind us of our place as his ever-faithful servants. Will we live our life in obedience and surrender to our true king every day until the day he returns? Will we serve him with loyalty even when we cannot see him clearly with our human eyes? Will we live in this world with our sight set on heaven and the glory of Jesus our king?
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 23:1-3,5-6 The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
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