Sunday, November 26, 2017


 I had no public Mass today (I've been sick for a few weeks) but I did draft this:

Christ comes as the greatest of Kings, surrounded by the armies of His angels.  He is no longer hiding His Divine Nature.  His plan is accomplished and we must all answer to Him who is our Creator and Lord, our King and God.  Since we live in a republic we have lost a sense of what an absolute monarch is.  Kings are remote romantic figures.  On that day Christ will not be a remote romantic figure.  With these very eyes we will see Him and will not dare doubt our sight.  With these very ears we will hear Him and will not doubt what we hear.  While we are still in this world then let us prepare that on that day we will be ready and find ourselves among the sheep not the goats.
            Our Lord then will divide all those who claim to be His followers, indeed all those who should be His followers, that is, all human beings into two camps.  The one are those who by their actions have shown sincere love and care for those in any kind of need.  The other camp is of those who have not.  Matthew is not saying that these will be the only criteria of judgment on that day, he is emphasizing that faith is not an abstraction, a mere ascent to truth but it must also be lived out in our daily lives.
            The measure of love is our care for those in need, for the hungry, thirsty, naked, lonely, sick and confined.  He puts no conditions on that love.  He does not mean only those who are physically hungry and thirsty alone.  Anyone who thirsts and hungers for what they need to live a human life can be the beneficiary of our care.  Nor is nakedness restricted to clothing.  Anyone who is deprived of protection, of a home or of the law, of any kind, falls under this category; likewise with the sick and imprisoned.  If anyone lacks freedom we are to be their consolation.  Note that he does not say the innocent prisoner.  From ancient up to the Nineteenth century prisoners depended on relatives and friends for all their necessities.   We are to be the friends and relatives even of the guilty by extending to them the charity of Christ.    
            This is not easy.  The sick are not always pleasant.  They can be troublesome and unpleasant.  It can be very difficult to care for them.  Prisoners are rarely innocent.  They may be guilty of serious crimes.  Our Lord does not distinguish.  They too are worthy of our care and concern.
            The reason He gives for this standard of care?  That what we do to others we do to Him!  How can this be?  It is so first of all because we are made by Him in His image and likeness.  That is, He is the prototype, the master copy after Whom we are all modeled.  The respect and honour, care and devotion we show to others, especially those who are vulnerable or in need, passes through them to Him.  There is more to this.  When anyone is baptised into Christ then he or she is one flesh with Him and with all who are baptised into Christ.  It is because we have been baptised and confirmed in Christ that we can receive His Body and Blood in the Holy Communion, for we are already His Boy and Blood by Baptism and Confirmation.  When we care for any Christian, therefore, we are especially caring for Christ, for in caring for a part of the Body we care for all of it.
This then is why we celebrate Christ as King.  It is not some sentimental, romantic title given to honour Christ but an acknowledgement that in Christ the One God, Creator and Lord of All has taken on a human nature.  As God He has the right to rule over everything, everywhere.  As man He exercises that rule through our human nature and through human society, above all through His Church. 
            As members of the Church, the Body of Christ, we are obliged to extend and make that reign of Christ visible in everything we do above all in the love and care we show for others.  That love and care therefore takes on an immense significance.  It is a proclamation of the Gospel, a sign from God of His Presence and action in the world, an act of worship and obedience, of reverence for Him and a sign and a response to His loving mercy.  We do not do it by our own power but by His.  It is His grace that enables us to truly love and care for others.  When we refuse to care for anyone in need we are not only turning our back on the needy; we are turning our back on Christ.  When we choose to ignore those we can help we are choosing to be one of the goats and to take our own path not that of Christ.  

            That great and terrible day will come.  We will see it and hear His voice.  We will all stand and face judgment based on how we have followed Christ.  He will ask how we have loved and cared for those in need.  What we do now determines how we will spend eternity!  Do not fool yourself into thinking there is some other way into Heaven.  There is only one way the way of Christ, the hard and narrow path of sincerely caring for others while living in accord with His teaching.  To those who follow in His footsteps He has promised eternal blessedness and joy.  To those who go their own way He has promised eternal suffering.  If you want the joy do not turn your back on those in need.


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