Solemnity of Christ the King. November 23rd 2014
Ez 34:11-12,15-17; 1Cor 15:20-26,28; Mt 25:31-46
Welcoming the disguised King
Pope Francis reminded us last week of how easily we Catholics could fail to recognize the Lord Jesus in His numerous visits to us despite our ability to recognize Him in the Eucharist. In the words of the Pontiff, “I ask myself: today we Christians who know the faith, the catechism, who go to Mass every Sunday, we Christians, we pastors, are we content with ourselves? Because we have organized everything and do not need new visits from the Lord.” The truth is that we do need new visits from the Lord and He pays us those visits under the disguise of those in need but we fail to recognize Him.
Think of this: By the gift of our Catholic faith, we can recognize and welcome Jesus Christ our King under the disguise of the inanimate signs of bread and wine but we struggle to recognize Him in His numerous visits to us in our living brothers and sisters in need. Jesus addressed today’s Gospel parable to those who believed and committed themselves to Him as His disciples and not to the entire crowd to teach them that the final judgement is based on how they recognize, love, and serve Him in those in need. If we Catholics have been gifted with this divine faith that recognizes our glorious king in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, I wonder how we can escape a severe judgement if we fail to recognize the same King under the disguise of frail and needy humanity.
St. Paul teaches the Corinthian Christians that “since death came through man, the resurrection of the dead came also through man. Just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life.” We were all united to Adam and he gave us death through sin. The Good News is that Jesus Christ the King is the New Adam who has united Himself to every one of us so as to give us life. All shall be brought to live in Christ only because Jesus Christ, the Eternal word, has united Himself with every person from the very moment of His incarnation in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary and draws us to share in His life through grace.
We do not recognize Christ in others because we fail to realize that Jesus Christ has in certain way united Himself to every single person so as to give us life. Jesus can truly say, “What you did to these least ones you do to me” because He has united Himself to every single person such that whatever we do or fail to do to others, we do or fail to do to Christ Jesus.
Maybe we have a tough time recognizing Him in others because we focus on the visible or perceptible aspects of other people or from our past experiences. For example, actress Ellen Barkin tweeted some weeks ago, “Foetuses and infants are not persons because they cannot talk.” Surely personhood is not solely determined by ability to speak but by our common dignity as creatures made in the image and likeness of God. We can never perceive Christ the King’s presence in others as long as we remain fixated on the perceptible aspects of the persons.
Like Pontius Pilate, we make the mistake of judging the King from His appearance. We must remember Jesus’ reply to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world.” The Kingship of Jesus is primarily interior, beginning in the hearts of humanity because He has united Himself with each of us to give us life. He has this kingly authority from His Father so as to communicate life to all of humanity, “Father, give glory to your Son so that your Son may glorify you, just as you gave Him authority over all people so that He might give eternal life to all you gave Him.”(Jn 17:1-2) Christ has united Himself with all of humanity whether they can speak or not. He has united Himself with all people in all places no matter their age, sex, wealth, social status, poverty, education, fame, etc.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, if Jesus Christ is indeed our king, we cannot pick and choose whom to love in this life. In this life, Jesus Christ, our glorious king comes to us in disguise – in persons and in the Eucharist but He never comes alone because He has united Himself to every single one of us. Our loving service must be boundless, from the infant in the womb to the troubled mother, from the illegal alien to the native in the land, from the joyful teenager to the suicidal adult, etc. We cannot ignore these blessed meetings with our disguised king in others.
Christ the King is never apart from His subjects just as the Head is never apart from the members in a living organism. Through this King of love, we have communion with the saints in Heaven, the suffering souls in Purgatory and the every single person on the face of this earth today, born or unborn. If we are in communion with Jesus Christ, we must be in communion with each and every single person.
At the end of time, Jesus will come to us in glory with His angels and no longer in disguise. His numerous comings to us in disguise in this life are to prepare us for His final coming when He will come to judge us based on how we receive Him in others. We must be attentive to His precious visitations if we are going to inherit the Kingdom that He has prepared for us.
By our Catholic faith, we acknowledge His Eucharistic presence as we say, “Amen” in response to the minister’s words, “Body of Christ.” We thank God for the grace to practice this precious gift of our Catholic faith by which we can see through the sacramental disguise of the King and welcome Him into our lives. Remember that the King always comes in disguise but He never comes alone. Why? Because He has united Himself with every single one of us so as to give us His own life. Our salvation depends on how we receive Him and serve Him in the least of His brothers and sisters.
Jesus, our King and our life, we beg you through Mary our mother to come to us and help us to recognize and welcome you in all persons. Amen!
Glory to Jesus!!! Honour to Mary!!!