Exekiel 34: 11-12, 15-171 Corinthians 15: 20-26Matthew 25: 31-46
Different calendars are simply a part of life – whether they are on a wall, in our pocket, on our phones. Of course, there is what we might call the normal calendar that goes from January to December. So many things are based on those dates, including income tax. The Federal Government’s fiscal calendar goes from October to October. We know that the fiscal calendar used by many businesses goes from July to July. Thus, it is not all that different or unusual that the Church has its own calendar. This calendar follows a cycle which begins next week with the First Sunday of Advent and concludes its year with this feast which honors Jesus Christ asUniversal King.
This thought came to mind: is recognizing Jesus Christ as King a statement of fact, or ought it be a question that is posed to us daily. We have spent the past twelve months recalling God’s entry into our world in the person of Jesus Christ; his ministry followed by his betrayal and execution; his triumphal defeat of death in hisResurrection to which we are all joined by our baptism; and then,weekly, as a believing community founded by the Apostles and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, we have listened to God’s message to us through inspired writers and, particularly, Saint Matthew. Now we are at the point of the conclusion of this cycle. So we might ask, is Jesus Christ truly “King” in our lives? Have the values, the teachings Jesus Christ proclaimed, taken hold and had an effect in the decisions and acts that influence our daily lives?
As a review, in a sense, we heard today what that truly effective presence ought to mean for us, how that effective presence ought to take hold and influence what we think, what we say, what we do. Ezechiel, an Old Testament prophet, spoke in a rather straightforward fashion. He addressed the failure of the leadership of the Chosen People of the Old Covenant. These were the sleek and strong that had neglected the needs that were around them. God, in the vision of Ezekiel, would enter in and intervene, described in the image of a shepherd. God would bring back the lost, bind up the injured, and heal the sick. This image is presented to us to remind us the presence of God in our lives with a loving care and mercy available to us.
In the imagery then employed by Jesus, this purpose of God is not abstract. It is to be carried on by us. The vision of the prophet of old is to be made real and active in the world through us. There is no other way of understanding what Jesus clearly states. The assessment, the evaluation, the judgment of our personal sincerity in being part of the ministry, the work, the reign of Christ the King is determined by the manner in which we effectively recognize the needs
not of ourselves but of those around us. It is measured by how we use whatever means available to us, living in our society today, to address the hungry, the thirsty, the foreign, the naked, the old, and those imprisoned by addiction, by violence or in so many other ways in their lives.
We can respond to this call. We can resolve effectively to act in and by ourselves because, as Saint Paul reminds us today, we are one with Christ who overcame death itself. There is no insurmountable object. Noting is impossible. We can overcome anything and everything that might see to control or defeat us. We can move beyond that self-focused, self-directed attitude that ultimately results in the death of our nature as images of God.
Is Christ the King of our lives? Is Christ and his revelation of God the central focus of the values and the outlook we possess? Do we, in union with Christ our King continue his ministry of revealing to our world in and through ourselves, the reality and the truth of our good and gracious God.