Gospel Reflection for the Feast of Christ the King Year A – November 23rd 2014
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on our parish website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?” And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
Next he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.” Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?” Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.” And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.’
We know this story well. the most important word in it is ‘I’. Jesus identifies himself with the people he is talking about. He doesn’t just say people were in prison and you visited them or sick, or naked. He says it is ‘I’ who am in prison, sick and naked. It’s even more than being a brother or sister of Jesus. He identified totally with each of us, especially in need.
Image of God
It goes back that we are all made in the image of God. Jesus sees right though us to see God. God is the divine life in each person. So is Jesus.
We find that hard to believe!
We know it is how we can look back on our lives. Pope Francis – “At the end of the world, we will be judged,” he said. “And what will the questions be that the judge will ask?” They are listed in Matthew 25: 35-36: Did you feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick and visit the prisoner?”
This can be a program for life: for the young – can you make a decision about your life that includes deep care from love of those in need? For those in their busy life already and who have chosen their way – how can you show deep care and love for those in need? For the elderly – can you pray for those in need each day and encourage those more active to care for them?
Lord Jesus, may your kingdom come – the reign of equality, justice, peace and love.
Donal Neary SJ