For a full copy of the Newsletter please click on the link; Christ the King Sunday 261117
The slow and weary return of our former Grade 12 students from their post school celebrations is already well advanced. For them it has been a time of freedom and excitement, but also transition, the ending of something old and known and the beginning of something new.
We could see this weekend’s feast of Christ the King in the same light. It is the last Sunday of the Church’s year, the ending of something old and known. Next week is Advent, the beginning of something new – our time of waiting for the birth of the Christ Child. The colour, tone, anticipation reflected in the Scripture, the symbols of our liturgy all reflect this break from the past as we begin something new. So, on this last weekend of the year it is appropriate for the Church to proclaim Christ as King.
To back up this proclamation we hear today from Matthew’s Gospel and his description of the last judgement. It is Jesus’ last discourse recorded by Matthew before the events of the Passion begin to unfold. In the vision he presents in today’s Gospel, Christ is the king who sits in judgment “as a shepherd separates sheep from goats.” Mercy and charity will be the standards for determining one’s entry into the future kingdom of God.
What becomes painfully clear is that Christ, the Shepherd-King, clearly and unequivocally identifies himself with the poor. Our “greatness” lies in our ability to reach beyond ourselves to bring justice, peace and reconciliation into the lives of everyone.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta put today’s Gospel theme so succinctly when she said: “At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, 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. Hungry not only for bread — but hungry for love; naked not only of clothing — but naked of 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.”
Our young men and women, the seniors of 2017, have been celebrating “Schoolies Week” and the freedom and excitement that this transition brings. Reflecting that same transition, this weekend the Church proclaims Christ as Universal King. May these last days of this church year and first days of the new be a time for us to embrace in practical ways the vision and spirit that will bring God’s kingdom to life among us.
Wishing you every blessing for the week ahead,
Fr Peter Brannelly