Jesus said to His disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit upon His glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before Him. And He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. Then the king will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father. Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, a stranger and you welcomed Me, naked and you clothed Me, ill and you cared for Me, in prison and you visited Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and giveYou drink? When did we see You a stranger and welcome You, or naked and clothe You? When did we see You ill or in prison, and visit You?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of Mine, you did for Me. Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, a stranger and you gave Me no welcome, naked and you gave Me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for Me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to Your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for Me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Christ, King of Mercy
The Solemnity of Christ the King is the crown of the liturgical year; next Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, begins a new liturgical year.
The Gospel is Matthew’s dramatic description of the Last Judgment. Here we find the “standard” or “criterion” of judgment: Have we shown mercy to Christ in the way we have treated him in the “little ones” of society?
The parable teaches us what Jesus requires; mercy, tenderness, and compassion are the rule of life for us. It is on this basis that we will be judged. We know Jesus’ words so well: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Challenge of Pope Francis. Speaking at the Manila Cathedral in 2015, the Pope emphasized the challenge to serve the poor and needy, “those living in the midst of a society burdened by poverty and corruption, tempted to give up.” Francis asserted that a true Christian (anyone who accepts Christ as King) faces the “challenge of proclaiming the radicalism of the Gospel in a society that has grown comfortable with social exclusion, polarization, and scandalous inequality.”
We must remember, the Pope continued, that “the poor are at the center of the Gospel, are at the heart of the Gospel; if we take away the poor from the Gospel, we cannot understand the whole message of Jesus Christ.” In short, for Pope Francis “all of us are asked to obey His [Jesus’] call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel” (Evangelii Gaudium, 20).
SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2020,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.