Today, the Feast of Christ the King marks the completion of the Liturgical Year A. This year, we have had the riches of Matthew’s Gospel proclaimed throughout the Sundays in Ordinary Time. Matthew’s Gospel gives us a sense of Church always linking it with the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew depicts Jesus as the teacher and his special contribution is the collection of sayings and discourses which he uses to structure his account of Jesus. Jesus appears as an ordinary, practical, sensitive person aware of the needs of those whom he encounters.
Today’s Gospel is an example of this. We often hear this Gospel referred to as the Last Judgement! The benchmarks of Judgement rest on the six classical works of mercy. They concern aspects of life which are both familiar and ordinary.
This judgement is really a charter for each of us as to how we live the Gospel in our lives. Taking up the challenge of today’s Gospel plunges us into the world in which we live. What is the hunger of our world? Who are the hungry? How do we welcome the stranger? What does it mean to be a stranger? When do I experience loneliness? Who do I alienate and why? What is the quality of my ‘visiting’ (being present to the other?)
Jesus wraps up the crux of Judgement with ‘as long as you did it to the least of my brothers and sisters you did it to me.’ Where do we encounter the gaze of Jesus?
Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation says “Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say we are ‘disciples’ and ‘missionaries’ but rather that we are ‘missionary disciples’. If we are not convinced, let us look at those first disciples, who immediately after encountering the gaze of Jesus, went forth to proclaim him joyfully: ‘We have found the Messiah’ (Jn. 1:41) The Samaritan woman became a missionary immediately after speaking with Jesus and many Samaritans came to believe in him ‘because of the woman’s testimony.’ (Jn.4:39) So too, St Paul, after his encounter with Jesus Christ ‘immediately proclaimed Jesus.’ (Acts 9:20) So what are we waiting for?
Gabriel Williams osu