The solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the universe
CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY
We celebrate today the solemnity of Jesus Christ King of the Universe. It is also the end of the liturgical year A. The readings proposed to us by the church invite us to reflect on the relationship between each one of us and the needy in our society. This relationship is guided by principles of charity, care and attention to the needy and it is guaranteed by Christ the King who will ask for an account on how each person managed that relationship. And so what is Jesus’ kingship? What are his laws? And finally, what are the implications for us today?
To celebrate Jesus Christ the King of the universe is to imagine a new world human life and mainly the weak is at the center of the attention of our Lord who according to the first reading is the guarantor of the life and the freedom of all lives under his rule. The lord says “I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view” (Ez. 34:11). The Lord makes clear his intention as he says: “I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest—oracle of the Lord GOD.16The lost I will search out, the strays I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, and the sick I will heal; but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd them in judgment.” (Ez. 34:16-17). Here he does not make a difference. He is ready to take care of the sheep healthy or unhealthy.
In the gospel story, Jesus presents the king who ask for accountability from everyone, regardless of his faith, religion and statute. Unlike the message of the first reading, Jesus invites the healthy and strong member of his future kingdom to become the caregivers of those in need. First, the criteria are clear for everyone and about the care for others. Here, the King is the final judge for all and his judgment is based on specific needs for which one has dedicated his service: hunger, thirst, being stranger, lack of clothes, sickness, being prisoner. Secondly, the people are judged by the actions or inactions they accomplished during their lifespan. These actions are not confined within one religion, or culture, that is, the Christian world. On one side, the good news is that neither the ones who accomplished all these actions nor those who did not do them were aware of the fact that they were acting for or against the king. Each one of them managed his/her life, making choices that where in favor or against the Lord who was present in the lives of the needy. We have equal opportunity to be members of the Kingdom of God. On the other side, the dramatic part in this gospel passage is the fact that this is the final call. The gospel does not envision another call after this one. And so, what are the implications in our lives today as Christians and non-Christians here in Sierra Leone?
Sierra Leone and people living in this beautiful country are more Muslims than Christians. First, as Christians, we are called to be the champions of these social actions as the trademarks of our faith. In this section of the gospel, the accent is not on the only fact that we have prayed or went to the religious celebrations. But on the fact that we have put into practice what we have learned from Jesus’s word. We have been able to apply the gospel in our relationship with our brothers and sisters in need regardless of their skin, age, religion, language etc. Secondly, it is an invitation for us Catholic Christians to remember that we will all be judged by what we do, not only by what we believe. Thirdly, this is an invitation to conversion. If until this morning I was not caring about the people in need in my neighborhood or village, it is time to start now. Jesus invites us to begin to shepherd his people through our actions of beneficence, of care, welcoming and attention to the needy, the excluded. Jesus says: “whatever you did to one of the least brothers of mine, you did to me” (Mt 25, 40). The service to the least becomes the key and the door for people to enter the kingdom of God. Let us examine personally our lives: do I remember my neighbor that is sick or old to visit him/her? Can I still share what I have with the hungry? With this immigration problem, how do I treat these people who pass by here? Etc. As we are going to share in the body and blood of Christ, let us ask from him the spirit and the strength that guided Jesus himself.