Jesus Christ King of the Universe (A)


OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST THE KING (A) Mt. 25:31-46   November. 26, 2017

“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? (…) Whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me. “

The American author Mark Twain wrote in 1881 the novel The Prince and the Pauper about the story of two young boys who are identical in appearance: Tom Canty a pauper who lives with his abusive family in London and Edward VI of England, son of Henry VIII of England. One day, Tom Canty, the impoverished boy and Prince Edward, the son of King Henry VIII meet and want to know how to feel being a common poor boy, and the other one how to be a rich prince, so, they switch clothes. While dressed in the pauper's rags, the Prince leaves the palace and since the boys look remarkably alike and because they had switched clothes, the palace guards throw the prince out into the street. The Prince wanders poorly in London as he insists on proclaiming his identity as the true Prince of Wales. Meanwhile despite Tom's repeated denial of his birthright, the court and the King insist that he is the true prince gone mad. Edward eventually runs into Tom's family and a gang of thieves. After the death of his father Henry VIII, Edward interrupts Tom's coronation and the boys explain, switch places, and Edward is crowned King of England.

Today we celebrate the great Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King. Today is the Last Sunday of the Church Year. Our invitation is to serve Jesus our King. In our reflection we are reminded about the end of the Church year, the end of time, the last judgment, and the solemnity of Christ the King. Christ sits enthroned as King of Kings. He judges each of us.

One of the most beautiful paintings in our Templo de San Francisco, in Bogota, is The Last Judgement from the Colombian painter Gregorio Vasquez de Arce y Cevallos (XVII century). At the middle of the painting Gregorio Vasquez portrays the devil at the left side with an open book saying: “Iudica Domine secundum rectam iustitiam tuam” (Judge Lord according to your right justice); and at the right side an angel holds an open book with this inscription: “Iudica Domine secundum magnam misericordiam tuam” (Judge Lord according to your great mercy). Today’s Gospel confronts us with the fact that if we have not shared his love and mercy with others, we cannot deserve Christ's love and mercy in heaven.

It is interesting that in the novel The Prince and the Pauper, people in the streets did not recognize the Prince dressed in the pauper's rags even if he insists on proclaiming his identity as the true Prince of Wales. In the Gospel not only the blessed at the right side, those who do help others, but also the people at the left side, those who do not help others, say that they do not remember seeing Jesus. Why? Because Christ is present in every aspect of our lives; the problem is that we might not recognize him. He is present in the Sacraments, in our prayer, in the Holy Scripture, in our family and in every person we meet; but he is also present in the poor, the homeless, the afflicted, and in every person who might need our help.

Jesus is present in the poor and the poorest of the poor, as Mother Theresa of Calcuta would refer to the suffering homeless. She is probably our most recent reference of love and mercy for the poor. Her comment on the gospel was that at the end of our lives we will not be evaluated by how many diplomas and honors we have received, or how many great things we have done. We will be judged by "I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.” Mother Theresa said, "Hungry, not only for bread, but hungry for love; naked not only for clothing, but for human dignity and respect; homeless not only for want of a room of bricks, but homeless because of rejection. This is Christ in distressing disguise."

Today´s Gospel is our greatest Christian challenge. We will be accountable not just for the wrong things we do, but also for the good things we fail to do. As we wait for the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ in glory, we, as members of the Church are called to be living sacraments of the Christ´s kingdom, a sign of faith and love to the world that the kingdom of God is present in us. The kingdom of God is already present and yet to come, that means we are part of that kingdom in an imperfect way, until Jesus comes again in his glory to fulfill his promise to take us to heaven.

We conclude the Church year by asking God the Father to help us serve the King of Kings as he is present in the poor and the poorest of the poor, and he identifies himself with them.