Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe – 26th November 2017

Service that flows from love

First Reading

Ezekiel 34:11-12,15-17

The Lord says this: I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness. I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest – it is the Lord who speaks. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.

As for you, my sheep, the Lord says this: I will judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and he-goats.

Second Reading

1 Corinthians 15:20-26,28

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death, for everything is to be put under his feet. And when everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subject in his turn to the One who subjected all things to him, so that God may be all in all.

Gospel Reading

Matthew 25:31-46

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.’

Scripture readings – Courtesy of Universalis Publishing Ltd. – www.universalis.com

REFLECTION

“Service that flows from love”

by Fr Richard Ebejer SDB

We have come to the end of the liturgical year and the Church invites us to focus our attention on Jesus as King.

The Feast of Christ the King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 at a time when Europe was witnessing the rise of totalitarian regimes. The feast held a particular significance for Christians to assert the primacy of Christ in their lives at a time when society was becoming more regimented and controlled by the state. Indeed, many gave testimony with their lives when they were martyred during the War and the Communist Era. The feast of Christ the King was a statement saying ‘NO’ to the domination of earthly powers.

Yet for us today the word King might not hold so much meaning, and many wonder as to the significance of celebrating such a feast in the context of today’s society. However, the Gospel of today speaks loudly as to why the feast is perhaps even more significant than before. Jesus is not a King who wants to wield power over others. Rather he is a King who identifies with the weak, the poor and the hungry. It always strikes me that at the last judgement we will not be asked as to how much did we pray, or fasted, but rather how much we have actually reached out to the poor. “Whatever you did to these little ones you did it unto me.”

There are many people in today’s society who seek refuge in the security and privilege that their wealth gives them. Indeed their wealth gives them access to power to dominate over the lives of others and often they feel threatened by the mere presence of the poor and marginalised. Migrants, refugees, homeless people and those living below the poverty line find it hard to have their voices heard.

Nano Nangle, Catherine McAuly and Edmund Rice were wealthy individuals who lived in Ireland at a time in the early 1800 when there was great poverty and struggle for emancipation. They did not hide behind the security that their wealth and social position gave them. Rather, inspired by the words of today’s gospel, and moved by the misery of so many people they chose to identify with them. They sought to empower them by making use of the resources and talents they had to provide  education and shelter. That is why they are on the road to sainthood today.

Pope Francis never tiers to remind of this basic fundamental Gospel truth that we cannot say we love God if we do not love our neighbour. He wanted that today’s feast be heralded by the ’Day of the Poor’, which he inaugurated last Sunday, “so that – in his own words – throughout the world Christian communities can become an ever greater sign of Christ’s charity for the least and those most in need.”

Celebrating the feast of Christ the King today is a statement saying ‘YES’ to the poor, the migrants, the homeless and all those on the periphery.

Where are the Nano Nangle-s, Catherine McAuly-s and Edmund Rice of today?

PRAYER

Almighty, ever-living God,
it is your will to unite the entire universe under your beloved Son,
Jesus Christ, the King of heaven and earth.
Grant freedom to the whole of creation,
and let it praise and serve your majesty for ever.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

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ServiceThatFlowsFromLove